Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Control Freaks

Terry Jeffrey's new book - Control Freaks - makes the case that freedom and prosperity are in serious jeopardy at this point in our country's history, threatened by a ruling class that devoutly desires to control every aspect of our economic and civil life.

Jeffrey was interviewed by Kathryn Lopez at National Review Online and outlined his case that the current administration and its congressional allies are seeking to curtail our individual freedom and rights in at least seven different essential areas of our lives. Jeffrey tells Lopez:

I picked four basic rights that Control Freaks are attacking (property, speech, life, and conscience), two elements of the welfare state they are using to reduce middle-class Americans to government dependency (Social Security and government-controlled health care), and one freedom that goes to the heart of the American experience and is crucial to the survival of our other freedoms: the freedom of movement.

It's Jeffrey's thesis, and the conviction of conservatives in general, that individual freedom and centralized government exist in a state of tension. As one expands the other must shrink. There has never been a time in history when a burgeoning government actually enhanced individual freedom. The desire for government to "take care of us," called statism or socialism, is the desire to lay our freedom, and thus our individuality and humanity, at the feet of bureaucrats in exchange for the illusion of security. The more the state does for us the less free we will be to say, go, or do as we please. The bigger the state grows the more it stifles creativity, genius, and prosperity. Big states make for small citizens and, to quote John Stuart Mill, a state that dwarfs its citizens finds that with small men no great thing can be accomplished.

The rights we take for granted, the freedoms that have made this country great - the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the right to life and to personal property are all under assault by a generation of arrogant politicians who believe that they know what's best for us and who believe that rights and freedoms just get in the way of creating a better life for all. So far from being revered by these people the Constitution is seen as an irritating impediment.

Listen, for example, to this woman's second question and to the answer she gets from congressman Pete Stark (D, CA). For Stark and his fellow progressives, there are no constitutional limits on the ability of the federal government to do whatever it wants to do:

Modern political liberals like those who populate the White House and Congress, believe that a just society is one in which people who've worked all their lives to accumulate property can have their wealth seized by the state, with or without their consent, and awarded to those who've done nothing to earn it. That seems to many to be not only an inversion of justice but also an extraordinarily counterproductive way to increase the wealth from which everyone benefits.

Anyway, while we're about the business of talking about books that describe the threat that statism poses to our polity, another example that I must mention is Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny. It's quite simply the best contemporary book on the difference between conservatism and progressivism (i.e. liberalism, statism) that I've read.



Allen West is just the sort of man we need in Congress. He's a Republican running for the House of Representatives in south Florida against a Democrat incumbent who has stood with Nancy Pelosi on 98% of the votes cast. At the very least West would elevate the level of honor and integrity in the House of Representatives by a couple of orders of magnitude:

If you agree that West would be a fine addition to Congress you can contribute to his campaign here.

Exit question: What's wrong with a military that fines an officer for taking steps to save lives when the steps taken brought no harm to anyone? Details here.

Thanks to Hot Air for the video.