If I had to tell this story in pictures, these would do nicely. First, a child-custody dispute was removed from family court and settled at the point of submachine guns. Six-year-old Elian Gonzalez’s mother drowned bringing him to America in a small boat. But the federal government insisted that the child be returned to the socialist paradise of Castro’s Cuba.
We said nothing – who cared what happened to a Cuban kid? Then, in a textbook example of karma, we had to watch as our own six-year-olds were groped by similar thugs under the guise of airport security. What will be the next step on our downhill road?
The revealing term “totalitarian temptation” is the title of a book by the late French author Jean-François Revel. An equally revealing title by Revel is “How Democracies Perish.” Democracies do perish because of the totalitarian temptation. They are in the process of perishing even as we speak. Do you really believe that freedom can survive, if the government seizes the power to:
● Raise taxes to confiscatory levels. Prominent Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman was asked at what level taxes would stifle economic activity. He was unable to name a specific rate, or admit that even a 100% tax rate would be destructive. But wasn’t slavery a 100% tax rate, with a guaranteed job, and free housing and health care thrown in? Not adequate housing or health care, of course, but it was free.
● Print money without limit, thus degrading the value of the dollar; and borrow money without limit, thus using up credit that could have financed the growth of businesses and the hiring of new workers. And when this “stimulus” produces, at best, a feeble recovery, demand more.
● Forbid Christmas trees and Christmas programs in public schools, but permit courses on Islam and observance of Mexican Day of the Dead. Why does “multiculturalism” teach respect for all cultures except our own?
● Forbid displaying the American flag and encourage displaying the Mexican flag on Cinco de Mayo − in an American public school. As they say, divide and conquer.
● Accustom people to muzzling what they say − and eventually what they think − by enforcing politically correct speech codes in schools and universities. Are people who accept this citizens or subjects?
● Accustom people to letting the government make decisions about how their children are raised. In Los Angeles schools, chocolate milk − even non-fat − was banned. In New York City schools, whole milk was banned. Michelle Obama’s school lunches are notoriously unappetizing. But children see the government making parental decisions for them. When they grow up, they are likely to do as their parents did − relinquish vital parenting duties to the government. Will such people be citizens or subjects?
● Accustom people to being submissive by intrusive searches and groping at airports. We empower children by teaching them to refuse inappropriate touching. But then the government disempowers them by teaching them to allow such touching. Will such children grow up to be citizens or subjects?
● Pressure people to buy smaller cars to “save the planet” from “man-made global warming.” But smaller cars are more likely to kill their drivers and passengers in a crash. These people allow bureaucrats to endanger the lives of themselves and their loved ones for dubious reasons. Are such people citizens or subjects?
● Force people to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs that are expensive, give poor light, interfere with radio reception, and contain toxic mercury. Force people to buy low-flow toilets that barely flush, shower heads that barely dribble, and detergents that barely clean. People become used to the government making everyday decisions for them. Are such people citizens or subjects?
● Force people to accept a federally mandated health-care plan, and to depend on distant, faceless bureaucrats to make life-and-death decisions for them and their loved ones. Are such people citizens or subjects?
● Force people to obey a 907-page health-care bill, and an Internal Revenue Code of over 7500 pages, plus untold thousands of pages of regulations based on these laws. It is impossible to understand gargantuan laws written in dense legalese. In practice, people must obey thousands of bureaucrats who interpret and enforce these laws − often in an arbitrary or vindictive manner. Are such people citizens or subjects?
The Constitution occupies only four pages, but it was written by great men who wanted to enlighten and free us, not by little people who want to confuse and rule us. The problem is not only that these laws and regulations are unnecessarily complex, intrusive, and often counter-productive. The problem is also that these laws have a disheartening, intimidating effect on people. They turn citizens into subjects.
In a revealing statement, Energy Secretary Steven Chu declared, “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.” Chu was attempting to justify a ban on conventional light bulbs. He believes that the “elite” have the power to tell us poor, ignorant slobs what is best for us. This is not yet totalitarianism, but it is a signpost along that road. Will we heed the sign or ignore it?
A related problem is the pervasive left-wing, pro-big government bias of schools, universities, and the mainstream media. Even the cartoon section of the newspaper has become politicized. Not just editorial cartoons − cartoons supposedly meant for entertainment are also often left-wing and anti-Christian. The lesson is that conservatives are angry whites, and Christians are ignorant Neanderthals.
Leftists, like their idol Marx, tend to see everything in economic terms – even 9/11 and ISIS. They assume that people hate us not because of religious fanaticism and an urge to murder “infidels.” They narcissistically assume that everyone is like them − interested only in material things. So they assume all this must be about oil.
Some people go so far as to admit that Al Qaeda may have carried out the attacks on 9/11, but it was really the CIA pulling the strings − for oil, of course, or other nefarious motives. That is, we attacked ourselves. The illusion of control is preserved, even in the face of devastating evidence to the contrary.
Why do leftists have more empathy for extremist Muslims than for conservatives? Leftists and extremist Muslims share a compulsion to control people. The same compulsion is shared by environmentalists. Think about it. Leftists and environmentalists oppose our war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they oppose drilling for oil or gas, mining coal, and building dams or nuclear power plants. But who benefits? Middle Eastern despots keep their stranglehold on oil supplies, while local totalitarians dictate how we live our lives so we can “save the planet.” Where else can you get a deal like that?
Leftists and “greens” in bed with Muslim fanatics? Strange bedfellows? Maybe not so strange. They have a lot in common – contempt for freedom and for the value of the individual, as well as an urge to punish “heretics.” When Bin Laden started talking about the dangers of global warming, do you think that was a clue?
I heard a man remark that when his child learned to talk, the first word was “mama,” the second was “dada,” and the third word was “more.” That sums up liberalism nicely − “mama” to take care of me when I get sick, “dada” to give me an allowance I can spend on things he approves, and “more.” More taxes. More debt. More laws. More regulations. More bureaucrats. More entitlements. More dependency. More “free” stuff. More of what hasn’t worked. Always “more.”
But less individuality. Less self-reliance. Less respect for Judeo-Christian values. Less innovation. Less productivity. Less choice. And much less freedom.
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