Skip to comments.YES MOMMY (A well Regulated State)
Posted on 09/15/2002 9:15:23 AM PDT by Pistol
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.
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.
IMHO Adolph Hitler's ghost is rolling with laughter. We fought a war against tyranny, and now endure much worse without a whimper!!
MACV SOCOM, PhuBai/Hue '65-'66
All ruler-worshipers make me sick.
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.
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?
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...
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.
The post election change in FR makes this abundantly clear....
Tell it, brother.
Hmmm... how do you prove THAT?
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.
The impetus for Free Republic.
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.
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.
You really are a student of objectivism, aren't you?
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 valuesgcruse,
Fredgcruse in another post [#77],
Hits it dead
If not for the separation of church and stateMy question to gcruse,
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.
Dearly beloved gcruse you are evidently having serious integrity problem. Is your first name Al by any chance?
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.
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!
, "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.
Thats nothing, I cannot get an answer to the question: Which of the "Bill of Rights" are still the absolute law of the land?
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.
You just can't do the right thing anymore.
<< 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.
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
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!!
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.
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?".
Oh, I get it! I get jokes! You want limits on Congress's ability to mess with your life. I'm all for it.