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YES MOMMY (A well Regulated State)
E-mail ^ | 9.12.02 | Fred Reed

Posted on 09/15/2002 9:15:23 AM PDT by Pistol

YES MOMMY

A Well-Regulated State  

    

We tell ourselves that in America we are the Free People. I wonder whether we might not better be called the Obedient People, the Passive People, or the Admonished People. I doubt that any country, anywhere, has been so regulated, controlled, and directed as we are. We are bred to obey. And obey we do.

It begins with the sheer volume of law, rules, and administrative duties. Most of the regulation makes sense in isolation, or can be made plausible. Yet there is so much of it.

Used to be if you wanted a dog, you got a dog. It wasn't really the government's business. Today you need a dog license, a shot card for the dog, a collar and tags, proof that the poor beast has been neutered, and you have to keep it on a leash and walk it only in designated places. It's all so we don't get rabies.

Or consider cars. You have to have a title, insurance, and keep it up to date; tags, country sticker, inspection sticker, emissions test. Depending where you are, you can't have chips in the windshield, and you need a zoned parking permit. You have to wear a seatbelt. And of course there are unending traffic laws. You can get a ticket for virtually anything, usually without knowing that you were doing anything wrong.

Then there's paperwork. If you have a couple of daughters with college funds in the stock market, annually you have to fill out three sets of federal taxes, three sets of state, and file four state and four federal estimated tax forms, per person, for a total of twenty-four. This doesn't include personal property taxes for the country, business licenses, tangible business-assets forms, and so on.

Now, I'm not suggesting that all these laws are bad. Stupid, frequently, but evil, no. Stopping at traffic lights is probably a good idea, and certainly is if I'm crossing the street. But the laws never end. Bring a doughnut on the subway, and you get arrested. Don't replace your windows without permission in writing from the condo association. Nothing is too trivial to be regulated. Nothing is not some government's business.

I wonder whether the habit of constant obedience to infinitely numerous rules doesn't inculcate a tendency to obey any rule at all. By having every aspect of one's life regulated in detail, does one not become accustomed to detailed regulation? That is, detailed obedience?

For many it may be hard to remember freer times. Yet they existed. In 1964, when I graduated from high school in rural Virginia, there were speed limits, but nobody much enforced them, or much obeyed them. If you wanted to fish, you needed a pole, not a license. You fished where you wanted, not in designated fishing zones. If you wanted to carry your rifle to the bean field to shoot whistle pigs, you just did it. You didn't need a license and nobody got upset.

To buy a shotgun in the country store, you needed money, not a background check, waiting period, proof of age, certificate of training, and a registration form. If your tail light burned out, then you only had one tail light. If you wanted to park on a back road with your girl friend, the cops, all both of them, didn't care. If you wanted to swim in the creek, you didn't need a Coast Guard approved life jacket.

It felt different. You lived in the world as you found it, and behaved because you were supposed to, but you didn't feel as though you were in a white-collar prison. And if anybody had asked us, we would have said that the freedom was worth more to us than any slightly greater protection against rabies, thank you. Which nobody ever got anyway.

Today, the Mommy State never leaves off protecting us from things I'd just as soon not be protected from. We must wear a helmet on a motorcycle: Kevorkian can kill us, but we cannot kill ourselves. Why is it Mommy Government's business whether I wear a helmet? In fact I do wear one, but it should be my decision.

And so it goes from administrative minutiae (emissions inspections) to gooberish Mommyknowsbestism ("Wea-a-ar your lifejacket, Johnny!") to important moral decisions. Obey in small things, obey in large things.

You must hire the correct proportion of this and that ethnic group, watch your sex balance, prove that you have the proper attitude toward homosexuals. You must let your children be politically indoctrinated in appropriate values, must let your daughter get an abortion without telling you, must accept affirmative action no matter how morally repugnant you find it.

And we do. We are the obedient people.

As the regulation of our behavior becomes more pervasive, so does the mechanism of enforcement grow more nearly omnipresent. In Washington, if you eat on the subway, they really will put you in handcuffs, as they recently did to a girl of twelve. In 1964 in King George County, the cop would have said, "Sally, stop that." Arresting a child for sucking on a sourball would never have entered a state trooper's mind.

Which brings us to an ominous observation. America is absolutely capable of totalitarianism. It won't be the jackbooted variety, but rather a peculiarly mindless, bureaucratic insistence on conformity. What we call political correctness is an American approach to political control.

Our backdoor totalitarianism has the added charm of being crazy.

Think about it. Confiscating nail clippers at security gates, arresting the eating girl on the subway, the confiscation from an aging general of his Congressional Medal of Honor because it had points, the countless ejections from school of little boys for drawing soldiers of the Trade Centers in flames, playing cowboys and Indians, for pointing a chicken finger and saying Bang. This isn't intelligent authoritarianism aimed at purposeful if disagreeable ends. It is the behavior of petty and stupid people, of minor minds over-empowered, ignorant, but angry and charmed to find that they can push others around. It is the exercise of power by people who have no business having any.

And we obey.

We are the obedient people.

Buy Fred's new reprehensible book,Nekkid In Austin! Barnes and Noble has the sucker. Another collection of Fred's collected outrages, irresponsible ravings, and curmudgeonry from Fred On Everything and some innocent magazines that foolishly published him. Put Fred Reed in the search at thingy at B&N and the book will pop like mushrooms on a decaying stump. On request, they may ship it in a plain brown wrapper marked "Sex Books" so your neighbors won't suspect.


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: freedom; govt; laws; obedience
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1 posted on 09/15/2002 9:15:23 AM PDT by Pistol
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To: Pistol
It won't be the jackbooted variety, but rather a peculiarly mindless, bureaucratic insistence on conformity.

de Tocqueville saw this coming:

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

2 posted on 09/15/2002 9:22:12 AM PDT by Mulder
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To: Pistol
As the regulation of our behavior becomes more pervasive, so does the mechanism of enforcement grow more nearly omnipresent.

IMHO Adolph Hitler's ghost is rolling with laughter. We fought a war against tyranny, and now endure much worse without a whimper!!

Boonie Rat

MACV SOCOM, PhuBai/Hue '65-'66

3 posted on 09/15/2002 9:24:33 AM PDT by Boonie Rat
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To: Pistol
The people are not interested in overthowing overly-burdensome government. More likely as not, the people want overly-burdensome government (so long as they are in charge, through whatever political party they subscribe to).
4 posted on 09/15/2002 9:25:28 AM PDT by Darth Sidious
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To: Mulder
We have gone in a sense from being "Parents" of the government to "Children" of the government.
5 posted on 09/15/2002 9:29:25 AM PDT by Mark was here
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To: Boonie Rat
This article reminds me, once again, of why I want to barf when I see the legions of picture-lickers here on supposedly-FreeRepublic worshiping their politician while making fun of others who worship theirs.

All ruler-worshipers make me sick.

6 posted on 09/15/2002 9:29:27 AM PDT by Hank Rearden
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To: Pistol

For many it may be hard to remember freer times. Yet they existed...It felt different. You lived in the world as you found it, and behaved because you were supposed to, but you didn't feel as though you were in a white-collar prison.

Quote of the year.


7 posted on 09/15/2002 9:40:23 AM PDT by ppaul
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To: Pistol; yall; Roscoe; Cultural Jihad; Kevin Curry; Texasforever
Great find, Pistol. Thanks for the thread.

Hope you don't mind the flags to FR's foremost communitarians, but we need their input as to the truth of Reeds rant.
8 posted on 09/15/2002 9:41:47 AM PDT by tpaine
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To: Pistol
It is a dark and stormy night whenever the city council of my town meets. The Mayor, a matronly old biddy, likes power as much as she likes Orange filled pastry. The Deputy Mayor, an old geezer with more war stories than a Navy cook should have, has his own personal agenda about how to regulate the private lawns of the whole community.

The rest of the city council are comprised of either "Little Hitlers", bent on there own Fourth Reich, or the obedient lackeys of some public or private interest such as the Teachers Assn., the Public Employees Union and the local Real Estate Board. The satisfactions lacking in their personal lives are going to be pursued in the guise of public service at the expense of public liberty and the public purse.

De Tocqueville was was piercingly prescient.

Good morning America, how are you?
Regards, Buck.

9 posted on 09/15/2002 9:46:17 AM PDT by elbucko
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To: Pistol
Gotta love Fred! I've tried to say these same things a million times, but could never get it to sound quite like he does.

I've asked people for years now, to name one thing they do on a regular basis which isn't regulated to death... I still don't think I've ever gotten an answer...

10 posted on 09/15/2002 9:52:52 AM PDT by Critter
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To: Pistol
Fred Reed BUMP! We're allowing ever more control over our lives by State & Federal Guvmet and most of the citizenry
doesn't even notice, let alone object.

I guess most of the population is either too young to remember when there was freedom, or they have immigrated here from some other totalitarian country and think it's a little better here.
11 posted on 09/15/2002 9:56:05 AM PDT by antisocial
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To: Pistol
The solution is simple.

Don't obey. Teach your kids not to obey immoral law, and why. Teach them resistance.

Occasionally break a law just to do it, to remind yourself.

Run a redlight in the middle of the night, when it's perfectly safe.... for example.

Turn off the TV, and uncondition yourself.

12 posted on 09/15/2002 9:59:27 AM PDT by DAnconia55
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To: Darth Sidious
The people are not interested in overthowing overly-burdensome government. More likely as not, the people want overly-burdensome government (so long as they are in charge, through whatever political party they subscribe to).

The post election change in FR makes this abundantly clear....

13 posted on 09/15/2002 10:00:13 AM PDT by DAnconia55
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To: Pistol
Excellent read. Nicely put.
14 posted on 09/15/2002 10:03:34 AM PDT by PatrioticAmerican
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To: DAnconia55
"The post election change in FR makes this abundantly clear...."

The election didn't really have much to do it FR's 'change', imo. FR management can answer for that.

15 posted on 09/15/2002 10:08:01 AM PDT by tpaine
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To: DAnconia55
Turn off the television is the best first step. May I add: pay no attention to sports of any kind (the new opiate of the masses) and make an effort to get to know the people who live around you. Community adhesion is the only way to fight this creeping tyranny.
16 posted on 09/15/2002 10:14:19 AM PDT by warchild9
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To: Hank Rearden
This article reminds me, once again, of why I want to barf when I see the legions of picture-lickers here on supposedly-FreeRepublic worshiping their politician while making fun of others who worship theirs.

Tell it, brother.

17 posted on 09/15/2002 10:18:30 AM PDT by Lizavetta
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To: elbucko
The local 'councils of power' will receive a BIG wake up call when [& if] the money spigot turns off.

These hometown power parasites can only operate when the good times roll.
Course, a national depression breeds FDR's. Can't win, I guess.
18 posted on 09/15/2002 10:21:49 AM PDT by tpaine
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To: Pistol
Fred
Hits it dead
On.
19 posted on 09/15/2002 10:29:11 AM PDT by gcruse
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To: Lizavetta
You must [...] prove that you have the proper attitude toward homosexuals.

Hmmm... how do you prove THAT?

20 posted on 09/15/2002 10:46:16 AM PDT by A Vast RightWing Conspirator
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To: Pistol; EODGUY; JMJ333; michigander; Mercuria; AnnaZ; Balata; MinorityRepublican; backhoe; ...
BumPing
21 posted on 09/15/2002 10:51:49 AM PDT by TaRaRaBoomDeAyGoreLostToday!
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To: Pistol
Bump and bookmarked!!!
22 posted on 09/15/2002 10:52:50 AM PDT by TaRaRaBoomDeAyGoreLostToday!
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To: TaRaRaBoomDeAyGoreLostToday!
I loved this part:
This isn't intelligent authoritarianism aimed at purposeful if disagreeable ends. It is the behavior of petty and stupid people, of minor minds over-empowered, ignorant, but angry and charmed to find that they can push others around. It is the exercise of power by people who have no business having any.
BUMPTTT!

23 posted on 09/15/2002 11:00:51 AM PDT by AnnaZ
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To: Pistol
excellent and true. I've heard it's better in some states...I dunno, I live in California, king of numerous and stupid laws.. any Wyoming or Montana FReepers out there who have a happier picture to paint?
24 posted on 09/15/2002 11:38:18 AM PDT by goodieD
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To: AnnaZ
It is the exercise of power by people who have no business having any.

The impetus for Free Republic.

25 posted on 09/15/2002 11:40:45 AM PDT by elbucko
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To: Mulder
After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

I call this the emasculation of society. It seeks to squelch the creative, raw drive of a live person. It is death. But guess what?

I have a Shepherd of Life.

26 posted on 09/15/2002 11:43:08 AM PDT by justsomedude
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To: Pistol
This polemic is pretty weak, and not very well written. But I suggest that if folks don't want to wear seat belts or helmets, that they just sign a waiver that they get no subsidized medical care when they get hurt, and that they have adequate life and disability insurance for their dependents, and pay a fee to handle to paper work.

In any event, in some ways our laws allow more "non conformity" rather than less than the good old days. It seems more about just who you want to conform to what.

27 posted on 09/15/2002 12:28:10 PM PDT by Torie
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To: DAnconia55
uncondition yourself

You really are a student of objectivism, aren't you?

28 posted on 09/15/2002 12:34:06 PM PDT by Kay Ludlow
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To: gcruse
Fred Reed,
You must hire the correct proportion of this and that ethnic group, watch your sex balance, prove that you have the proper attitude toward homosexuals. You must let your children be politically indoctrinated in appropriate values
gcruse,
Fred
Hits it dead
On.
gcruse in another post [#77],
If not for the separation of church and state
so roundly criticized by religionists, organizations
such as the RCC would have been taken to
court on the grounds of gender discrimation
decades ago and made to move from the
Middle Ages to now.
My question to gcruse,
Dearly beloved gcruse you are evidently having serious integrity problem. Is your first name Al by any chance?

29 posted on 09/15/2002 1:08:22 PM PDT by heyheyhey
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To: heyheyhey
So you admit to being in favor of discriminating against women. Your mom must be so proud. Not to mention your sisters and daughters.
30 posted on 09/15/2002 1:14:06 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: heyheyhey
 
By the way, heyheyhey, this is from the FR posting guidelines:
 

Don't jump threads - If you get involved in an argument
in one thread, it's considered poor manners to
restart the previous argument in the middle of an unrelated thread.

31 posted on 09/15/2002 1:17:42 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: DAnconia55
Turn off the TV, and uncondition yourself.

Ditto!

32 posted on 09/15/2002 1:22:01 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: warchild9
Turn off the television is the best first step. May I add: pay no attention to sports of any kind (the new opiate of the masses)

Ditto and I add:

Don't buy the stupid products advertised on TV. Buy the other products that are comparable. Let the manufacturers and distributors know that they do NOT mold your life!

33 posted on 09/15/2002 1:23:57 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: Pistol
We're all on work release here in The Big Camp.
34 posted on 09/15/2002 1:54:05 PM PDT by metesky
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To: Torie
'and that they have adequate life and disability insurance for their dependents' - I don't know about you and others, but have been doing that all my adult life.

, "and pay a fee to handle to paper work." - Didn't understand that one.

"In any event, in some ways our laws allow more "non conformity" rather than less than the good old days. It seems more about just who you want to conform to what." - We must not be of the same age - or perhaps there was a difference in the geographical location of our rearing - but it is just simply not the case.

35 posted on 09/15/2002 2:06:26 PM PDT by nanny
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To: Critter
"I've asked people for years now, to name one thing they do on a regular basis which isn't regulated to death... I still don't think I've ever gotten an answer... "

Thats nothing, I cannot get an answer to the question: Which of the "Bill of Rights" are still the absolute law of the land?

Silence...........

36 posted on 09/15/2002 2:08:52 PM PDT by S.O.S121.500
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To: Darth Sidious
You'll enjoy this letter to the editor which is from the September 12th issue of the Brunswick Beacon, Brunswick County, North Carolina.

To the editor:

On Saturday, Aug. 10, I returned home about 4:30 p.m. My wife told me a dead dove was lying in our side yard. Having been alerted to the possible dangers of a bird with no visible injuries and the West Nile virus, I sealed the bird in a plastic bag.

My first action was to call 911. The gentleman said he didn't think doves were on the suspect bird list. I thanked him but added that didn't quell my unease. He then said he'd connect me with the division of Wildlife who would handle my concerns.

There I was politely told that doves weren't on the list-only crows and blue jays. I indicated my dissatisfaction by stating that perhaps some mosquitoes had no set preference. He then added their division doesn't handle dead birds and gave me the phone number for the division of Environmental Health.

For the third time I prepared to explain the nature of my call. It was all for naught as I received a recorded message telling me the "voice mail box" for the West Nile virus was full, and did I have another number to call. Not having a clue, I hung up.

I then called the Sunset Beach Police Department where for the third time I explained the situation. I was told by the male voice a cruiser would be dispatched immediately to pick up the bird. Alas, when I gave my address, the officer apologized and said I didn't live in the town limits. I explained I was only a block away-I'd walk and meet the cruiser. The officer declined and said the sheriff's department would have to handle the bird and gave me the phone number.

When the deputy sheriff answered, I related the story for the fourth time. He immediately suggested I call 911. After a brief discussion the deputy said he'd call his sergeant and return my call. Fifteen minutes later I received his call, which informed me the sheriff's department doesn't handle wildlife. I was told to "handle the bird minimally and get rid of it any way you can."

Not easily discouraged, I analyzed five actions, the first of which was shot down by my wife who did not want a dead bird in the refrigerator. The second, which I nixed, was to bury the bird in my yard. The third was the neighbor's yard, but he, being very meticulous, would have noticed the freshly dug hole. The fifth was to burn the bird, yet even though we are not in the town limits for dead birds, we are in its jurisdiction for burning that requires a permit.

At last I conceded defeat and did as advised. I got rid of the bird any which way I could.

John Difloure
Sunset Beach

You just can't do the right thing anymore.

37 posted on 09/15/2002 2:26:02 PM PDT by AlligatorEyes
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To: S.O.S121.500
"Which of the "Bill of Rights" are still the absolute law of the land?"


Never say never. - 3rd amendment.
38 posted on 09/15/2002 2:57:51 PM PDT by tpaine
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To: DAnconia55
>>>> Turn off the TV, and uncondition yourself.

Excellent idea.
39 posted on 09/15/2002 3:52:32 PM PDT by ReadMyMind
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To: Pistol
This one's going in the bookmarks.
40 posted on 09/15/2002 5:04:00 PM PDT by tdadams
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To: Pistol
I get Fred's thoughts in emails, and have for several years. Thought about posting this one myself. lol He is something else.
41 posted on 09/15/2002 5:15:30 PM PDT by My back yard
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To: tpaine
Never say never. - 3rd amendment.

<< No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.>>>

Since we are no longer in a 'time of peace' watch for this to fall as well.

Ah, I remember so well that afternoon when I went trekking into a field with a few friends to shoot our guns (none of us over 18). Not far from the border of an enchroaching urban sprawl, we happened upon a rabbit that took flight. Suddenly, all the 22's went off (one guy carried a 38) and we watched in amazment as the rabbit continued in his jagged escape to freedom. Clips spent, chambers emptied, nothing was left but admiration for the fleet-footed travel of an unexpected target.

By today's standards we'd all be looking at felonies. Unable to vote, unable to be in the same room with a gun, etc.

42 posted on 09/15/2002 5:29:37 PM PDT by budwiesest
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To: budwiesest
We had a regular route of small town dumps, some quite close to town, where we shot rats. Never heard a peep from the cops or sheriffs. And boy, talk about good eating!
43 posted on 09/15/2002 5:37:54 PM PDT by tpaine
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To: tpaine
And that was then? How about now? We'd crucify any 'punk' out to shoot varmints, 'cause we've got the laws now.

The reason we weren't cuffed back then (1970's) was that there were fewer cops/regulations and they had real criminals to contend with.IMO

44 posted on 09/15/2002 5:43:00 PM PDT by budwiesest
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To: Pistol
IMHO, the reason for all of this regulation and control is: gainful employment for lawyers. Laws are written by lawyers to be interpreted by lawyers sitting as judges. If you're a lawyer, but not a judge or legislator, then you look for clients who have broken these ever increasing amounts of laws or find your client a target to sue since everyone's a victim in todays society too.

Two suggestions: immediately cap the number of law schools and limit the number of students, and place a moritorium on all new laws at federal, state, county, city levels for 5 years. (Yes, Congress fund the country for longer than 12 months at a time. Dont worry we'll still pay you (you've paid farmers for not planting some crops)! We ALL need a break from more laws!!

45 posted on 09/15/2002 5:43:47 PM PDT by texson66
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To: budwiesest
Early '50s. -- I had a big 1928 Whippit Sedan that about ten of us 8th grade & freshmen kids could squeese into, long guns sticking out at all angles, and we would ride from dumo to dump looking like Bonnie & Clyde. Great days.
46 posted on 09/15/2002 5:53:37 PM PDT by tpaine
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To: texson66
Yes, Congress fund the country for longer than 12 months at a time.

Five years, ten years, what difference does it make when the constitution is being violated? The Soviets had a 'five year' plan and a constitution, and look where they ended up. Ash heap.

Centrally planned vs. individually planned is the answer. Bureaucrats may not want to hear this, but they are the hemmoroids on the effective elimination of wastes in any society. The pain is all theirs, though they may want to share it with the rest of us. I say no thanks.

47 posted on 09/15/2002 6:05:16 PM PDT by budwiesest
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To: tpaine
we would ride from dump to dump looking like Bonnie & Clyde. Great days.

I hear ya. "Great days" says a lot. I'm barely a grandfather (step) and yet those 'great days' seem so close while looking in the rear-view mirror.

Violations of the constitution at all levels seem to receive great applause from the majoritarians and collectivists in order to make our society 'safer' for us all. Little do these sorry bastards know that the limits placed upon government were done so to protect their inattentive asses by men who placed their 'everything' at risk in order to do so.

Sacred honor? Truth? Inalienable rights?

"Hey, where the heck is the remote?".

48 posted on 09/15/2002 6:29:49 PM PDT by budwiesest
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To: budwiesest
Sorry you missed the point. Congress still cant produce a budget for the next fiscal year in a timely manner let alone for the next five. (This is to run the government, not the country BTW).
We need less Congress "micromanaging" the federal government! (Really what I am calling for is a longer period of time between the Congressional "sessions" which might mean less intrusive laws over a longer period of time....I know fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and Congress gotta tax and legislate!
49 posted on 09/15/2002 6:54:10 PM PDT by texson66
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To: texson66
Sorry you missed the point

Oh, I get it! I get jokes! You want limits on Congress's ability to mess with your life. I'm all for it.

50 posted on 09/15/2002 7:11:30 PM PDT by budwiesest
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