Thursday, April 21, 2011

Who Are the Children?

The fight we are in is the oldest one in the books: are we humans capable of enlightened self-governance, or are we so weak/stupid/venal that we need the guiding hand of an elite to get us through our day?

The Recovering Bureaucrat asserts that the American Revolution was solidly and affirmatively a blow for the former, but our own history shows us that too many of our fellow citizens act as if we are, in fact, the latter.  The formal counterrevolution against our founding principles that began with Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson a century ago is still going strong today.  But the time has come for those of us committed to our founding principles to put this self-defeating creed in its proper place.

Among the many ironies involved in this crucial struggle is the fact that, for the entire duration of the Cold War, the United States forthrightly and unabashedly championed its commitment to individual liberty and limited government against the naked tyranny of the communist states.  At the turn of the current century, National Review suggested that the “Person of the Twentieth Century” should be the American taxpayer, for our willingness to put our money where our mouths were in that long and arduous struggle.

It is difficult to believe that the entitlement-besotted, victimized, free-lunch addicts typified by most of today’s Democratic Party and the roughly 40% of us who support it nationwide would have had the internal fortitude to take on and prevail in the lengthy and difficult task of defeating the Soviet Union and its Marxist allies.  It’s especially difficult to picture President Barack Obama staring down Stalin, Khrushchev, Mao, or even Qaddafi without blinking.  When too many of us so easily take offense at the slightest disagreement and are willing to use state power to coerce those that give offense, we should thank our lucky stars that there is no longer a Soviet Red Army to exploit our adolescent maunderings.

(Although we can’t forget there is still a Chinese Red Army!)

A couple items in the news the past few days should send shivers down the spines of anyone with even a tiny commitment to living a self-responsible life.

First, in just the latest of a maddening long list of Nanny Government tiny tyrannies, we read that the Department of Transportation is pushing a new rule that would require the nation’s airlines “to repay bag fees for lost bags, pay more to bumped passengers and include taxes and fees in advertised ticket prices.”  

Apparently, those of us who fly are incapable of conducting business with the airlines on our own, and the airlines themselves are corporate adolescents who have to have Mommy make them mind their P’s & Q’s.

It’s bad enough that the head Nanny at DOT Ray LaHood (supposedly a Republican) has nothing better to do than to meddle in a market with only the flimsiest of Constitutional authority. But the real outrage is the Stockholm Syndrome exhibited by the air carriers’ trade association, which endorsed some of the proposed rules. Air Transport Association of America President and Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Calio said in a news release, “We share the DOT goal of continuously improving the customer experience and our member airlines will implement the new rules as efficiently as possible.”

It is understandable that cringing before the DOT mini-tyrants seems appropriate to the industry; after all, we have all been complicit for decades in permitting the steady encroachment of the state into places it has no right to be. But this enabling the administrators of regulatory death by a thousand paper cuts needs to end now.

This silly and arrogant new rule is minor compared to another airline industry outrage. We also learned this week that the National Labor Relations Board has dared to try to force the Boeing Company to build a new factory for producing its new 787s in Washington state rather than in South Carolina.

South Carolina, unlike Washington, is a right-to-work state, and Boeing is seeking to reduce its labor costs in the highly competitive global market. But the Nanny State devotees at the NLRB—appointees of Nanny-in-Chief President Barack Obama—have arrogated to themselves the right to decide where and how a privately held company may build a production facility, on the absurd theory that a Boeing executive’s public statement that “we cannot afford to have a work stoppage every three years” constituted “unlawful employer speech” that infringes on “a worker's fundamental” right to strike.

It is difficult to choose the place to start pointing out the mendacity and thuggery of this assertion, so the RB will simply point out that the Soviet Politburo couldn’t have agreed more. At least the tyrannical face of "progressive" politics reveals itself with its fangs bared for all to see.  The RB also predicts that President Obama will defend the actions of his acolytes.

It is the fundamental tenet of the Church of the All-Powerful State that citizens are mere consumers with the moral and intellectual capacity of little children who must be protected from ourselves by its wise and loving parental power—and the shame is how often we demonstrate the possibility that this is true.

So the RB notes yet another irony in the great struggle to reinvigorate our founding principles: the mendacious liberal battle cry, “It’s for the children!” As long as too many of us insist on acting like children, incapable of taking responsibility for our own actions, refusing to pay the tab for all the public goodies we want, demanding that the government salve every hurtful thing done to us with regulations, lawsuits, and officious local muttawa, then we prove that government is indeed for the children.

There are two pieces of good news, fortunately. The first is that we can no longer afford the upkeep of the NannyState; the inexorable logic of our long-term indebtedness will compel us, one way or the other, to abandon the costly experiment of a cradle-to-grave welfare state. More importantly, the power of our founding principles is morally superior to that of the tyrannical ideology we defeated in not only the Revolution but almost more importantly the Civil War; that power informs the soul of every American, even those of us who have temporarily lost our way. Even more cogently—Republicans especially need to remember this—it is what has always drawn, and still draws, people to emigrate here.

So even though this week has brought us the two examples of the petty tyranny self-imposed by some Americans upon other Americans, we can also take pleasure in another event that happened this week: the release of the movie version of Ayn Rand’s classic defense of our founding principles, Atlas Shrugged.

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