"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain." ~ Frederic Bastiat
Exclusive to STR
May 14, 2009
With their most recent e-mail blast on May 12th, FreedomWorks has revealed very plainly the fundamental problem with D.C. culture today.
The "liberals" are blamed for wanting to control our lives through an incremental soda pop prohibition; the implication is made that if we simply elect Republicans -- who are assumed by definition to be non-"liberal" and therefore "conservative" and liberty-minded ' we would be left alone to live our lives in peace. (This is the libertarian rhetoric employed by any minority governing party.)
But how can we forget that it was Richard Nixon, the Republican, who transformed drug prohibition, an economic absurdity on its face, into a full-scale declared "war" on the consumers of certain flowers, fungi, and any non-FDA-approved psychoactive compound?
How can we forget that it was Ronald Reagan, the Republican, who used the public school system -- an institution rejected by libertarianism, "the heart and soul of conservatism" -- as a forum for brainwashing and coercing students into complacent obedience to authority, as always, for their own good? (I will concede, obeying the one with the power to bar you from attending school is in fact probably in your best interest.)
Are we to forget that the two George Bushes massively expanded the bombing and defoliation campaigns in South America and Afghanistan , because government-connected health authorities said that opiates and cocaine, like excessive sugar and caffeine intake, are unhealthy habits?
We are to believe that "liberals" are the only political types with designs on controlling our lives. And yet, "trickle-down" collectivization of private industry through state subsidies and loans, combined with the "Drug Free Workplace" initiatives that mandate drug testing onto companies receiving money from Leviathan, make it very hard or impossible for a harmless marijuana smoker to be hired into a mainstream corporate job and therefore to conduct a life defined as mainstream.
The marijuana plant itself is blamed by "conservatives," because "it makes you lazy" or "it interferes with contributing to society" -- where, in the total State, "contribution to society" is defined as "shoveling taxes into the maw of Leviathan by spending one's precious time working at an approved occupation, that is, one that does not compete with state initiatives, such as prohibition, or letter delivery."
In this narrative, the marijuana plant has victimized the individual by making him unwilling to run, or incapable of running, with the herd. This offense by the inanimate object, that of rendering the individual out of step with the collective, is used as an excuse for further expansion of government. "One day when this war is won," they wistfully offer, "everyone will march to the same beat again and sing the same patriotic songs together, like they did in the old days." The guns pointed at him are offered as his salvation and liberation.
If, however, the individual is receiving welfare checks, he is demonized by managerial conservatives as a "drain on the system," a "parasite," a "waste of taxpayer resources," or simply "a lazy bum." He is no longer an innocent victim of the drug epidemic, but rather a willful chiseler of resources that rightfully belong to the State. (In cases like this, the State always pretends to be an advocate of taxpayers rather than their sworn enemy. It hopes that their desire for less taxes will be channeled into approving its expansions of power and invasions of privacy for purposes of naked discrimination, all of which does not lower their taxes.)
And yet, how can the 'lazy bum' be blamed for taking the checks? After all, the reason he does not have a job is because government has prevented him from at the same time both having a job and living his own life as a sovereign individual. Despite employers being otherwise tolerant towards employees' personal lives, thanks to the combination of "conservative" economic controls and neo-prohibitionism, he has a false choice foisted upon him.
FreedomWorks, to the contrary, wants us to believe that the "liberals" are at fault for our sensation of living inside a giant cage with security cameras monitoring our personal choices. They say that the "liberals" are to blame for having combined economic controls and neo-prohibitionism, forcing us into making a choice between consuming the beverages of our choice and at the same time having access to health care. Therefore, the conclusion is that you must vote "conservative" and therefore Republican, despite many sitting Republicans also supporting economic controls and neo-prohibitionist programs (and often even the same ones as the "liberals"!). This is the lesser-of-two-evils narrative.
But what of the jobless marijuana smoker who wishes to have a corporate job, but refuses to obey his masters? Without a corporate job, he has no access to the approved medical cartel, so he must rely on the State for any non-trivial medical care. But it will turn out that when the State health care plan was ramrodded through by the "liberals," they threw the useless "conservatives" a bone: state health care will be denied on the basis of a drug test, unless the individual agrees to also undergo a drug treatment program. The message is this: Yes, the "liberals" will rob you of even more of your wealth; but don't worry, the "conservatives" will make sure it is spent responsibly -- by denying State services to specific politically incorrect groups, in an attempt to convince them to behave like obedient little children, the ideal subjects of a total State.
This, the fundamental problem with the D.C. culture, is the pervading belief that either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party is categorically the lesser of two evils. As the two parties continue to merge into a single unity ruling party, and the supposed distinctions are even more ridiculous than their respective positions on soda pop prohibition, this claim will become more and more difficult to make with a straight face. One day our political "choice" will have been whittled down to choosing flavors within the unity ruling party. "Fascism tastes great!" "Socialism is more filling!"
Those who are motivated to participate in such a blatantly rigged contest will, naturally, choose one or the other. Hundreds of years ago, Benjamin Franklin stated that if one abandons liberty for security, one shall have neither. It can similarly be said that when one supports either Fascism or Socialism, he guarantees that he will have both!
Ryan C. Underwood is a software engineer.