The Right Opinion

How Whining Grows Government

Want a smaller government? Stop complaining about stuff within earshot of politicians.

Frank J. Fleming · Sep. 15, 2012

We have problems these days. High unemployment, high gas prices, childhood obesity, growing debt, and bath salt-fueled lunatics. How will we ever solve them all? Here’s how: Stop complaining about them.

I don’t know where and when all the complaining started, but it is not an American value. In the olden days, if someone was attacked by a mountain lion, he wouldn’t just whine, “Eek! A vicious beast! Someone please take care of this for me!” No, he’d punch that mountain lion in the face like it was a common hippie and go back to chopping wood or digging a well or stealing land from the natives or whatever frontiersmen did. Because back then, people didn’t complain about problems; instead they adhered to the wisdom of 20th century philosopher Vanilla Ice: “If there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.”

But at some point, whining took hold in America. Long ago, if a student in an economics class said, “The rich have so much more money than everyone else!” the professor would nod thoughtfully and then – POW! – punch him right in the face like he was a common mountain lion and say, “Quit your complaining, hippie!” The student would learn an economics lesson about how whining doesn’t help anyone and also hurts. But we don’t allow corporal punishment in schools – especially not against college students, who most need it – and whining has taken off. In fact, we now have the internet – the only system of interconnected computers that allows us to complain to the whole world at speeds hitherto unknown to man. In the past, it would have taken months to tell someone you don’t know in Mongolia that you can’t find your cellphone charger, but thanks to the Twitters, you can now do it in seconds.

What’s so bad about all this complaining? For one, when you’re whining, you’re not solving problems, you’re just being an irritating problem yourself. But the worst thing about constant complaining are the impressionable minds who hear it: politicians.

When politicians hear us complain about our problems, they try to solve them. Just look at our massive, bloated government and our ginormous national debt – that was all built by complaining. People whined about stuff, and some politicians overheard and were like, “I bet I can solve this problem and be super popular! And I know the perfect solution: a new massive bureaucracy that costs billions of dollars!” And, of course, the only thing a massive government bureaucracy has ever solved is the problem of Americans having too much time and money.

Having politicians fix problems is like having a three-year-old fix your computer with a hammer. It’s best to not get them involved at all. Like when people complained to Obama about jobs, he spent $800 billion on a “stimulus” package, and no one has any idea where that money went. People still don’t have jobs, and also the amount of debt we now have has ruined our children’s future so much that we might as well go ahead and get them face tattoos now.

Of course, people think it’s important to complain now since it’s an election year and many don’t like the incumbent, but it’s still not worth it. Because what if Romney wins and, hearing all our complaints, tries to use the government to help solve them? Maybe he’ll be smarter about it, like a really bright three-year-old who’s used hammers before. Your laptop will be in good hands.

No, we just need to never complain when a politician is in earshot – it’s too risky. And really, what do we have to complain about? Think of all the advantages we have over people in olden times. Like they used to have this thing called a “rotary phone” where you had to turn a big dial to select a number. Think of trying to text on that thing. And to look stuff up, they had to use a library. It’s like they took Wikipedia, put all of its entries into books that were spread throughout a large building, and made a big cabinet of cards for you to look through to find the location of the book you need. If you suddenly wondered who did the voice of Bumblebee in the original Transformers cartoon, it would take you hours to find the answer there. Things are way easier now, and with all that we have today, we should each be achieving things that make the moon landing look like a baking-soda-volcano science fair project. But that’s never going to happen if we’re standing around whining, waiting for someone else to fix our problems.

That’s why one of the most important American values that should be ingrained in us is that we solve things ourselves and never, ever complain when government can hear us – that’s the equivalent of feeding a Mogwai after midnight. The only way we’ll get a smaller government and get out of debt is by convincing the government that we don’t need its constant help. If you lose your job, your house burns down, and you’re surrounded by angry bears, and the government asks, “Do you need help?” you should answer, “Oh no. Minor setback. I’m fine. I saw some airports that need renaming, though. Why don’t you get on that?” Because when we solve our own problems, somewhere far away, our frontiersmen ancestors and Vanilla Ice nod in approval.

Political satirist Frank J. Fleming is the author of the HarperCollins e-books “How to Fix Everything in America Forever: The Plan to Keep America Awesome” and “Obama: The Greatest President in the History of Everything.” He also writes columns for the New York Post and PJ Media and posts at his blog He is the U.S.’s leading proponent of nuking the moon.