In his brilliant semi-serious book "A Parliament of Whores," the late great P.J. O'Rourke asked, among other things: When does government end?
When is enough enough? When does the government do the job that is required, and then close and defund the agency that fixed the problem? You don't go back to the doctor every week for the rest of your life to check on a bone that's healed. When government has addressed a problem, when does it leave well enough alone and walk away? (P.J. had his own metaphors.)
We suppose that everything Sarah Huckabee Sanders does as governor will be taken by some as ill-intended. But we have trouble understanding why the fuss about the covid committees.
The papers said that Gov. Sanders disbanded five government covid-19 pandemic groups and committees that were established by the Asa Hutchinson administration.
Gov. Hutchinson, or his people, put together the groups to help advise him and state government through the pandemic.
Gov. Sanders dismissed them.
Can they both be right?
Answer: Why, yes.
This isn't 2019, and you'll note our ability to read a calendar. Some of us are old enough to remember 2019, and at first being skeptical about this "covid-19" from mainland China. (Wasn't it just a flu bug?) Then when taught its dangers, a lot of folks panicked. Remember the stores running out of toilet paper? Then the country shut down and folks went home. The economy tanked. Months later, vaccinations came online. Folks came out of hibernation. And life went back to normal, or near normal.
So it seems what Gov. Sanders did last week was just housecleaning. Here are the committees/advisory boards she let go:
• The Arkansas Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act Steering Committee.
• The Governor's Medical Advisory Committee for Post-Peak Covid-19 Response.
• The Governor's Covid-19 Testing Advisory Group.
• The Governor's Covid-19 Technical Advisory Board.
• The Governor's Covid-19 Winter Task Force.
Doubtless former Gov. Hutchinson had good reasons for filling each group with experts and concerned citizens. Asa Hutchinson didn't do much as governor that didn't have good reason. But there was a pandemic on then. Now we're in an endemic. (Headline in this weekend's Wall Street Journal: "Covid-19 enters fourth year with serious illness waning")
Does the government still need a "post-peak" covid-19 committee? Or a "testing advisory" group? Or the others? We the People know enough about covid-19 to take precautions should it flare up again. Citizens are much better educated on the disease nowadays.
In 2020, the state needed a governor who prioritized covid-19 and held daily press briefings--and a broadcast media that interrupted daily soaps (and radio programs) to spread the chief executive's advice. Now, not so much.
Covid is still out there, still killing; you know that if you've visited a hospital lately. Those who are most vulnerable must take precautions. And those who aren't must take precautions around them. But the world has to get back to normal eventually.
Including government advisory groups and steering committees.