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Tyranny is a Bi-Partisan Affair

Health Nazis and the Morality Police come from both sides of the aisle.

by James Leroy Wilson
December 29, 2005

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Tyranny is a Bi-Partisan Affair
Tyranny is a Bi-Partisan Affair_James Leroy Wilson-Health Nazis and the Morality Police come from both sides of the aisle.Think of a man in a pub, with a cigarette in one hand, a beer in the other, a bacon cheeseburger with fries before him, rap music blaring from the juke box, a pretty waitress wearing shorts and t-shirt serving him, and screens showing several different football games on the wall. Who are offended by the waitress's attire, to the point that they think the State has a right to do something about it? Feminists and the Religious Right. Who would regulate the content of  rap music? Feminists and conservatives. Who would take away the cigarette? Liberals and moderates. Who would take away the unhealthy burger and fries? Many liberals, and big government "conservatives." Who believes the man should be jailed for betting on the football games he's watching? Liberals and conservatives who believe the only proper gambling should be through state lotteries and licensed casinos.

And the beer? Well, they tried to take that away once, and failed. Who was behind Prohibition? Progressive descendents of English Puritans, and  revivalist Christians. The Health Nazis and Morality Police have been bitter about Prohibition's repeal ever since, and have targeted drugs, tobacco, and even food ever since. They are obsessed with their belief that the State has a responsibility to control people's lives in order to prevent potentially negative social consequences. They don't care how many actual lives and businesses are destroyed in the process. They congratulate themselves for their "good intentions."

What we must keep in mind is that these enemies of personal liberty are from "both sides of the aisle." Whether that "aisle" separates Democrats and Republicans, science and religion, or progress and tradition.  The great struggle today isn't between Left and Right, it is between those who are not happy until more people are either killed or thrown in jail, and those who just want to let people mind their own business. It hardly matters if one's devotion to the State is derived from secular "Enlightenment" principles, or from a religious text. The Feminists are a part of the problem, but not the problem. Likewise, the Religious Right is part of the problem, but not the problem. Their common faith in coercion is the problem.

And that's what makes the so-called partisanship and divisiveness in Washington all the more revolting. The Republican Idiot Brigade never had any principled objection to what Bill Clinton did, to, say, the Branch Davidians or the Serbians. It was always about his "character." A President who kept his pants zipped and had an "R" instead of a "D" by his name would have earned thunderous applause by the Religious Right for his attacks on civil liberties and war crimes.

Likewise, there was and is hardly any principled Democratic opposition to Bush's attacks on the Constitution and his wars. How can there be? Democrats almost unanimously went along with the PATRIOT Act, and they even take credit for creating the Department of Homeland Security, the purposely-mismanaged bureaucratic monstrosity responsible for the ethnic cleansing of New Orleans. They went along with regime change in Afghanistan even though it was Al Qaeda, not the governing Taliban, that supposedly attacked us on 9-11. And despite earning six-figure salaries, Democrats in Congress refused to be partisan; they refused to do their homework on either Iraq or 9-11 (how in the world did building 7 fall?). Their concern now about Bush using the NSA to spy on Americans sounds more like a disagreement over turf, than any principled opposition to the practice; if Democrats were so concerned about privacy or liberty, they would never have voted for the PATRIOT Act in the first place.

The more  important dividing line today is between up and down - upward to freedom, or downward to tyranny. Just as many on both the Left and Right believe in the State, so there are many on both sides who believe in freedom.  Think back to that man in the pub. Either his activities are none of our business, or they indeed are our business. But if they are, what about his hobbies at home? His sex life? What he watches? What he reads? Where he goes on-line? Where he worships?

Why not have Big Brother cameras all over our homes? Why not implant global positioning devices in our bodies, so that the government always knows where we are? Why not abolish coin and paper money, and force everyone to make their purchases with credit and debit cards so the government can monitor all of our purchases?

Five years ago, the reaction of even apologists for the State would have been, "Of course we don't want to go that far. Don't be ridiculous. We just want to make sure people are healthy and that women aren't treated like sex objects."

But today, with ever-greater frequency, we get responses like, "I wouldn't mind, especially if this will lower crime and capture terrorists. I have nothing to hide."

And such people are just as likely to vote for Hillary Clinton as they are for any Big Government Republican. Tyranny is bi-partisan affair. I imagine that the revolution to bring back peace and civil liberty will be a bi-partisan affair as well.

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