Friday, November 18, 2011

The bipartisan war on liberty, and why it matters to us

Today's Richmond Times-Dispatch has an op-ed column by A. Barton Hinkle, titled "Elites agree: Americans are too darn free." The following are the thesis sentence and the concluding paragraph:
The nation's high and mighty may be divided about many things, but on one point they often agree: Americans are still too darn free.

* * *

This is what power fetishists always do: assume the power will be used in ways they like. (And since the ends are noble, they surely must justify the means, right?) Sometimes it is. But power changes hands, and the inheritors may be a rather different sort. The people pushing for more government power never seem to think of that — until it's too late.
I have long tried to make the same point to the politically correct government-worshipers in the LGBT community. To show one of the reasons (but not the only one) not to increase government power, I have tried to explain to them that when a government (federal, state, or local) gains vast new powers while progressive Democrats run that government, those powers will not magically dissipate by the time power switches to Republicans or to socially conservative Democrats. Regarding some proposals for broadened government power, I have even said point blank, "Is that a power that you want (insert name of current Republican baddie) to have over your life?" For example, a government powerful enough to control whether businesses grant domestic-partner benefits can forbid them to do so, as Virginia did for a time.

In response, politically correct statists may try to argue that no matter who wins the next election, the government will for some reason observe the difference between government coercion against them (oh, the humanity!) and government coercion against someone else (shout glory!). More often, however, they use that all-purpose scathing rebuttal known as "La la la, I can't hear you."

No comments: