Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bumpy ride ahead

As someone who came to libertarian principles from the Republican side of the aisle, it's been a long time since I trusted Democrats to do anything right, and the parade of neosocialist legislation that's been pouring out of Washington this month has done little to change my mind.

If nothing else, the past 14 years have helped me to understand that the political class is all about using the force of government to micromanage our lives as much as is practical, and of course technology has advanced the practicality of micromanagement to levels that would have left the architects of Germany's late, unlamented National Socialist Party speechless in awestruck admiration.

Just when one might have thought the advent of a Republican president with a Republican Congress would lead us away from intrusive megagovernment, the party of Goldwater and Reagan brought us unprecedented totalitarianism designed to protect us from bogeyman terrorists. Piled on top of the Democrats' totalitarianism designed to protect us from ourselves, rob from the rich and give to the poor (and for all of their protestations, the GOP never repealed any of those totalitarian measures), and glory be, we live in an Orwellian nightmare.

There's some feeling among blind partisan Republicans that two years under Democrat rule will give voters a taste for freedom. After a decade and a half of Clinton and then Bush, I kind of doubt if voters even remember the concept of freedom. In fact ...

In the concluding paragraph of his latest column, Vin Suprynowicz notes: "... upstart works preaching smaller-government, pre-1912 republicanism can easily be nipped in the bud before they ever BECOME best-sellers, because bookstore owners can't very well order books they've never heard of."

Those who write today about free America are really talking about a land that existed before almost all of us were born - "pre-1912." In theory we may even be talking about 1781-89, those years when the Articles of Confederation were the law of the land. And looking around at what so many accept as the Land Of The Free nowadays, we likely are writing about a utopia that never quite existed the way we envision it. If we are said to be living in freedom, what was life really like for those "free" people of pre-1912?

I make these observations not to be discouraging, but to remind you, dear reader, that freedom is an individual thing, not a government or corporate or collective thing, and you may not look to others to defend your liberty. Democrats and Republicans are about wielding power in ways that shape our lives into a mold of their choosing - a mold they believe makes us better people and a better nation, no doubt, but it's a mold created by force, because that's all government is: A force, given power by consent of the governed. And, by the way, silence means consent to these people.

It is important that folks like Suprynowicz - and you - and me - speak up. We need to choose our battles carefully, and it often appears we are losing the war for freedom, and badly. No doubt our bumpy ride will continue for a long time, probably beyond our lifetimes, because the siren song of the tyrant ("I will make you safe and free") will always have an appeal. But the goal is a place where each of us has an inherent right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and I can't speak for you, but that's a goal I personally don't mind spending the rest of my life defending and promoting.


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