Saturday, May 9, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The media have launched a smear assault on the upcoming tea parties, from Rachel Maddow (who, apparently, is in fact an 11-year-old boy) spending thirteen minutes talking about how much Republicans love teabagging Obama (not kidding, she actually did) to the widespread portrayal of these rallies as for sore-loser Republicans who aren’t happy with the president.
Well, no. That’s not true.
I am not a conservative, strictly speaking; I’m a right-leaning (in that I oppose abortion and like secure borders) libertarian. I am not a member of the Republican party, or even a supporter of Republicans generally.
So why am I going to a tea party? Because of all of them—all the big-government hacks in Washington who are intent on destroying our freedoms, shredding our Constitution, and burdening our grandchildren with an insurmountable debt.
I’m not just mad at Obama and the Democrats. To be sure, they’ve contributed a lot to the problem. But we knew that ahead of time. Democrats have favored a huge, intrusive government with a massive budget for almost a hundred years.
What’s really gotten me angry is the Republicans—the party of responsibility, balanced budgets, and small government no longer. It’s you, George Bush, who tripled the size of government. It’s you, John McCain, for wanting to continue the same thing. It’s every one of you senators and congressmen who go along with big government agendas. It’s every member of Congress who went along with George Bush’s huge government because he’s “one of our guys,” but have now suddenly discovered conservative principles to stand against Obama’s even bigger government. Spare me. If you believe big government is wrong, you believe it’s wrong regardless of what letter is next to the name of the person pushing it.
I’m mad because people are losing their love of liberty. We’ve become a nation of slaves. And the new slavery doesn’t have whips and chains, it’s a nice, happy slavery—but it’s still slavery. The new slavery is government handouts—we can have free housing, free healthcare, a guaranteed job or a guaranteed paycheck, free food. All we have to do is accept the terms of the people providing these things—buy the kind of food they think we should eat, go to the doctors they want us to see…but hey, it’s the least we can do when they give us so much free stuff. Well, no. I refuse to be a slave. I would rather fail as an individual than live comfortably at the will of another. Government dependence is as evil and destructive as the slavery of the nineteenth century, and I will fight it with everything I’ve got. I may not be able to make a difference (at least as far as changing the outcome), but I will be heard.
I’m mad because our leaders think it’s not only acceptable but noble to run over the rights of some, as long as more people benefit. And many people want to go along out of sincere, though misguided, compassion. But they’re wrong. It is never proper to trample one person’s rights. Could you feed an entire city by confiscating all of, say, Bill Gates’ assets? Of course. But it isn’t right: not because feeding people is wrong, but because when you ignore one person’s rights you ignore everyone’s. If you can arbitrarily run over this person, as long as others will be helped, than you can arbitrarily run over everyone. And I reject that outright. I respect the individual. I believe that one person’s rights—life, liberty, property—are sacred. Individual rights are worth more than any public good. People are not tools of the government; the government is a necessary evil that we should tolerate ONLY to protect our individual rights. And when individual rights become a necessary sacrifice for collective needs, there is no more free society.
I’m mad that our debt—not including our massive unfunded social programs—is so massive that every American citizen will owe over $50,000 to pay for it. I’m madder that this fact has produced no desire by politicians of either party to spend less. On the contrary, the rate of spending has accelerated exponentially in the last eight months as one company after another has become “too big to fail”—code for “big enough that we want to control it.” I’m mad that within ten years the deficit—let alone the actual debt—will be almost equal to the value of everything we produce in a year. I’m mad that our grandchildren are being burdened with this massive obligation—the ultimate “taxation without representation” as our habits levy enormous taxes from people who haven’t even been born yet.
So it’s not about the president—he’s just the latest face on this impending disaster of tax-spend-and-let-future-generations-worry-about-it politics. It’s not about party, or being a sore loser—I opposed this when George Bush was doing it, and if I’m more vocal it’s because Obama has condensed eight years of Bush’s government growth into a few months. The issue’s been there all along, and I’ve spoken about it often. I’m going to the streets now only because it’s accelerating so fast that a crisis point we may have avoided for another couple of generations has suddenly been pushed up—a lot. And if we don’t change how we do this now, we may not get another chance.
That’s what this tea party is about.
So in the wake of the lead-painted toy scare, the Omnipotent Federal Government has reached ludicrous heights of nanny-state-ism. Of course, there was the story Glenn Beck relentlessly pursued about banning ATVs and dirt bikes for under-12s, based on unsafe levels of lead in the gears and brakes which could cause damage if ingested (for the record, I agree with Beck on this: if your kid is stupid enough to lick the brakes or gearbox of a dirt bike, they probably deserve whatever happens to them).
But now they’ve gone even further into dictatorial realms. The Imperial Government has decided that “mommy blogs”—sites where parents share personal experiences and recommendations about various products—fall under advertising laws, and anyone who posts a positive review of a product that turns out to be dangerous could be held liable.
These are not professional advertisers, claiming the product is safe despite knowing that it’s not. These are everyday people, honestly relating their experience with something. If it didn’t hurt them as of the time of the review, they had no way of knowing it could have (or would soon) do so. Holding them liable is ludicrous. And it’s dangerous. If expressing an opinion, based on incomplete or faulty information, makes you criminally (or civilly) liable for damages done by someone else’s negligence, there’s really no way to safely express an opinion anymore. McCain-Feingold, Fairness Doctrine, and now this—free speech is dead.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
So I’m sure you heard about the Somali pirate debacle. These thugs captured a US-flagged ship and held the crew hostage. I’ll admit I was worried for a bit—what exactly would the spineless jellyfish in the White House do? He’s so much like Carter, and I can’t help but remember (well, sort of—it was well before my time) how Carter responded to American citizens being held hostage—he said some snivelly, ineffectual things and it took over a year (not to mention the election of a new president who actually had a pair) for them to be released.
Turns out I needn’t have worried at all. You see, these people took it upon themselves to do whatever they needed to do, no matter how hard. I can’t imagine being an unarmed sailor taking on a crew of AK-toting thugs—but these people found the courage to do so. They didn’t demand (or probably even expect) help, they helped themselves—and managed to solve their problems without the government doing a thing.
I’m hoping it’s obvious I’m no longer speaking just about that freighter crew.
There is not a single problem in America that needs the government to solve it. They can all be fixed simply by the American people getting up, steeling themselves, and doing what’s right—no matter how hard or frightening it is. Would it be painful? Of course. Will we be comfortable with it? Probably not. But by tackling the problems head-on, doing the hard but necessary thing, we will actually solve them. By letting the government defy the basic laws of silly things like economics, or basic mathematics, common sense, the Constitution, or even the laws they invented, we make ourselves comfortable today. But that comfort comes at a terrible price—we’re building a massive house of cards that will, someday, collapse—if not on us, then on our children.
Everyone’s running around with their hair on fire screaming about how we have to save the economy. We don’t. Our economy has become a ludicrous shell game—we spend money we don’t have, so banks can loan that money to other people who don’t have it. We juggle our debt, hoping to keep it in the air forever. But because we keep spending, we’re constantly expanding the loop, trying to juggle more things. That’s how the government works, that’s how that average moron with 8 credit cards lives—and eventually we won’t be able to keep up. We don’t need to pump money back into the system to keep it going—the system is built on a lie, that’s why it collapsed in the first place, and if we try to keep it going we’ll just get another collapse. It’s like those moving walkways in the airport—we’ve been running on an economic moving walkway for twenty years, but it couldn’t go on forever and once we reached the end our feet couldn’t keep up. What’s the solution? Build another walkway, knowing eventually that one will end too? Or fall on our face, take the sting and the embarrassment, then pick ourselves back up and carry on a bit wiser? Which one sounds like a better idea? We don’t need to prop the economy back up, we need to suffer through the painful process of completely restructuring it—building a new economy. A new economy like the old one, based on working, saving, investing, and above all producing real things of real value—not another economy based on spending every penny we have and then some, basing our entire life on the assumption that things will get better forever (and we’re royally screwed if we’re wrong).
We may be afraid of that pain, we may not think we can do it—or at least many in the country have been conditioned to believe that—but we can. I honestly believe there is no crisis the American people are not equal to—as long as the government gets out of our way and lets us do it. Don’t be our parent, trying to save us from the pain of making difficult decisions. Life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows, so stop trying to convince us it is. We’re big kids now, and we can handle it.