Friday, May 22, 2009
The Wrong Side of a Do-Gooding Law
It is interesting to see what strange bedfellows the current rush of the federal government toward fascism* is creating. Yes, fascism. I am tired of self-censoring, and I think it's about time to call a spade an F'ing shovel.
*Fascism is here defined as the control of capital and those who manage it by the government, through the use of central planning, although the actual companies remain nominally in private hands.
In the past few weeks, I have been thinking about how those of us who oppose any part of President Obama's* monster government have been cast. I have seen it in the comments to this blog. The progressive bloggers and the lefties have consistently labeled concerned citizens as partisan, and have cast all arguments into the major party straightjackets. Obama's minions are every bit as eager to use the "if you're not for us, you're against us" cannard as were G.W.'s hacks.
*Yes, I am aware that Obama "inherited" Mr. Bush's monster government and trashed economy, but Obama has set out to grow government even bigger much faster, and he is trashing the dollar at an even more alarming rate. This is now his government, and two branches are controlled by one party. They cannot excuse their behavior by blaming the previous administration forever. And for the record, I was just as opposed to Bush's big government as I am to Obama's mongo-sized one.
Consider this statement from comments to my blog, by way of example.
About the Tea Party:
"In this case, it was instigated and coordinated by right-wing lobbyists, the Republican Party and Fox News as well as the rest of the conservative media as a means of bashing Obama and rallying support to an otherwise floundering GOP."
If you disagree with any part of the Vision of the Annointed, not only are you "seen as being in error, but in sin" (as Sowell writes in The Vision of the Annointed, p. 3), and further, you are seen as being unable to think for yourself, and told that you are being manipulated; the Annointed worry about you, concerned that you might "get mixed up with these people." But actually, their whole purpose is to paint those who disagree as partisan and manipulated, so that discussion never rises to any meaningful level where opposing views are seen as equally sincere. As Sowell says about the level of argument:
"What is remarkable is how few arguments are really engaged in, and how many substitutes for arguments there are . . . Many of these so called "thinking people" (EHL: the Annointed) could be more accurately characterized as articulate people, as people whose verbal nimbleness can elude both evidence and logic." (p. 5-6).
So what happens as more and more people run afoul of the maze of contradictory regulations and limitations to our liberty imposed by the well-meaning Nanny State?
This month, I opened my copy of Reason Magazine to read about some at least slightly granola DIY'ers who have run afoul of the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), the purported purpose of which is to protect our kids from lead-laced toys from China. Like many recent regulations however, the law actually has the result of destroying of American-based small toymaker's businesses because of the onerous and expensive testing requirements. (For much, much more about CPSIA link through here and here). Need I say that these American small businesses, run by crunchy capitalists, have never marketed products containing lead?
The DIY'ers, who believed that the harm the regulations would do to their businesses was an oversight by Congress, formed organizations, like the Handmade Toy Alliance (the second "here" in the paragraph above), to get the law amended. And they found out that the party they usually supported was not on their side. Consider the hipster mom and home-based businesswoman Cecilia Leibovitz:
"Before the legislation," says Leibovitz, “I’d never really gotten involved politically. I’ve just tried to work in my own life.” But a lot of what she thought she knew about the political process turned out to be wrong. She was discouraged to discover how little power citizens, and even individual lawmakers, have over legislation. Consumer safety groups, she says, ended up getting exactly what they wanted.
“I’ve been supportive of some of these groups,” she says. “I actually blogged about this safety issue in 2007, thinking we were just focusing on problem products. I didn’t realize how massive the law would be and how many products it would cover.” " (Reason Magazine, June 2009, p. 44)
And she discovered something else:
"“What it looks like is that our needs are largely being responded to by Republicans. Most of the people in the Homemade Toy Alliance are probably more aligned with the Democratic side. And people in the Homemade Toy Alliance kind of like the things that these consumer groups are touting, like safer products and natural things.” But now she finds herself in this “weird alliance.” " (ibid).
Leibovitz is still seeing this as a partisan issue, and it's hard for her not to, because Congress has very few members who are not allied with the major parties. But this is really an issue about the power of government, and like many of us before her, her awakening is beginning as she understands that the Congress is more concerned about the big lobby groups and multinational corporations that they represent, than they are about her freedom and prosperity.
To add insult to injury, as children's toys and clothes are being pulled from thrift-store shelves, and are even destroyed, and children's books are being targeted, the political activities of these small business owners is being cast into the standard partisan rhetoric by the progressive media. The very real concerns of opponents to this very bad piece of legislation have been labeled as "alarmist" and the people themselves have been called "conspiracy theorists" and "fear-mongers" by such progressive media as the New York Times.
As Jennifer Grinnell of LivingPlaything.com posted:
". . .The sad fact about larger public discussions in the US these days is how politicized almost every subject has become. In an ‘us’ and ‘them’ environment, we seem to have lost [sight] of the fact that perhaps we, the citizens who find fault with this law, actually have a legitimate point and are not trying to advance an ideology or nefarious political agenda.” (As quoted in Reason Magazine, June 2009, p. 47).
Their sense of betrayal towards their government, and their awakening understanding that their concerns are being cast as a "nefarious political agenda" is well understood by many of us who have trod the same road in years past, awakened by other issues. I was a more than slightly crunchy mom, and my awakening and return to my libertarian roots (second generation and proud of it!) was catalized by 9-11 and home education. As I began to realize that Annointed statists and do-gooders wanted to control what I teach my children, and how I raise them, I understood that all that stands between me and absolute tyranny is the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And unless I am willing to trust my fellow citizens of all beliefs and walks of life to manage their own lives, I will not have the freedom to manage mine.
The rhetoric of the Obamaniacs is wearing thin. The tea parties, the 9-12 movement, and patriot groups springing up everywhere understand that this is not about partisan politics, and take no regard of what the vaunted Fourth Estate is saying to itself. (No wonder they aren't making any money). As the toymakers will find out, the Republican party is as morally bankrupt as are the Democrats. They are, with very few exceptions, self-aggrandizing statists whose whole agenda is power and privilege. And they have bought the "opinion makers" with the bread and circuses inside the beltway.
Out here in "flyover country", we don't want to be ruled by the Annointed. And we are tired of paying for their folly.