- If Terence Brown is a terrorist, so am I | Velcro City Tourist Board
Makes me glad to live in the US of A, where this sort of thing could never happen…right?
Tags: freedom liberty terrorism government
Hillsborough football stadium in Sheffield, England was the site of a disastrous crowd-crushing, from which 96 people died.
Greg Laden on disinformation, and how he almost went down with Pan Am 103.
Stu explains how the TARDIS works. Now go build your own.
Michael Bains responded to three tags on the Random 8 meme. I’m with you on #5, Michael.
Sorry, I didn’t want to have my Blogosphere Membership (BM) card cancelled.
I don’t usually like to blog on politics, but lately I’ve been having a real problem understanding why everyone doesn’t think the same way I do. That’s a bad sign, which indicates that I need to air out my views and let my readers err them out.
Why do so many people seem to be oblivious to the current threats to our liberties? I’m not a member of any political party, but I’m finding myself becoming more Libertarian every day. My experience with all levels of government can be summed up in the formula: give them my money and expect nothing but hassles in return. This naturally leads me to the idea of government as a necessary evil that must be prevented from overstepping the bounds of its mission: the protection of the rights of its citizens. The U.S. Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, reads that way to me. That same idea led many including myself to support Republican candidates like Reagan who promised a leaner government. But now the Republican party seems more concerned with expanding the government’s role into the personal morality of its citizens and the politics of the entire world.
The Democrat’s alternative amounts to “at least we aren’t Republicans”. They now decry every Republican measure that earlier they supported, or only weakly attacked.
apotheon provided a theory of alternative views of “freedom” that could explain the general lack of alarm attendant upon the suspension of Habeas Corpus for anyone, citizen or not. While I agree that the ideal of a Christian theocracy motivates many on the far right, they aren’t the only ones who are allowing this to happen. What motivates the rest?
I think most politicians fall into the upper three or four categories, and most of the general population fits into the lower three. Although a significant portion of the capitalist public might also be in number 1: they support Republican policy because the Republicans support business. Or so they think.
Another general way of looking at the differences that are splitting our country is along the Libertarianism vs. Statism axis. Here’s a little quiz to find out where you stand (here’s my result). For whatever reason, many people in America really do feel that the government should be more involved in their lives than I do. This applies to both liberals and conservatives. Liberals often want more government involvement in order to provide more services and safety controls, while conservatives want government to regulate national values and prevent what they see as the moral decline of society.
That conservative statism receives wider support in rural areas should come as no surprise: rural communities tend to be more homogenous — “monocultural” if you will. And many of the inhabitants want it to stay that way. Their church, their neighbors, sharing most of their beliefs and opinions and getting along just fine. You let some of those liberal Lesbians set up shop here in our neighborhood and who knows what will come of it. The Internet poses possibly the greatest threat to this mindset, long term.
Conversely, liberal statism gravitates to the cities. In the city you almost have to learn to tolerate diversity, but the social and economic challenges of city life make you pretty ready to lean on the government to keep things running smoothly in the hive.
As our culture becomes more diverse and better connected, tolerance for individual differences will have to grow, or we will divide up into warring militias. Live and let live. And given the track record of the government in helping citizens to succeed in life, wouldn’t you rather if they just got out of the way instead? Do you really trust the government to avoid completely screwing it up and creating another fiscal sink hole?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the wholesale elimination of all government programs and controls. My criterion for what would stay rests on my definition of the purpose of government: if it protects citizens, their rights, or their property, well and good. Otherwise, why is government involved?
Now, the bounds of that definition are naturally subject to far-ranging debate. Personally, I exclude from the definition of “protect” anything that involves shielding a citizen from his/her own stupidity. Never assume that the government knows better than the individual concerning one’s own pursuit of happiness. For me, that includes self-destructive behaviors like drug abuse, as well as self-determined euthanasia. Just stay out of people’s lives.
Of course, less government means a greater requirement for individual responsibility. And that doesn’t always work — it can create spectacular failures. 99% of humanity is pretty stupid, myself included. But I for one trust the hearts and minds of those who know that they must do for themselves over a government machine ruling mindless drones with no heart for action.
I fear that most Americans, even if they agree in principle, will do little to protect their liberties until enough of them are revoked to become really uncomfortable. We mistakenly believe that our system of government will keep itself in check, not realizing that without an active, protesting public those in power only work to solidify and expand that power. Over time, small changes add up to big differences. A Labrador can chew through a tree trunk if you let her keep working at it uninterrupted.
Yes, apathy is the real danger. As long as most citizens have the opportunity for the pursuit of materialistic shadow-happiness, they’re content to allow the state to assume more and more responsibility — and control. The executive only has to convince the populace that failure to implement each liberty-choking initiative will threaten their God-given American right to supersize their drinks, fries, and SUVs.