Isn't it funny, how the right keeps demanding "small government" through increasingly draconian laws to regulate the behavior of individuals?
I made this point in status message yesterday and a right-leaning friend popped in to offer a defense by the assertion that the left also regulates behavior.
Regrettably, and with no disrespect intended, this entirely misses the point. It's not the general concept of regulation that I have the problem with - it's the hypocrisy of claiming to demand smaller government when the reality is they don't want smaller government - they want less regulation on corporations and industry at the expense of human beings, hypocritically wrapping themselves in the cloak of "freedom" while diligently striving to turn all but the wealthiest individuals into helpless serfs whose ability to live depends entirely on their willingness to devote their lives to generating profit for the already-wealthy.
The left doesn't wave the "small government" flag and talk about how dedicated they are to individual liberties while simultaneously writing laws that increasingly restrict them.
Off the top of my head, here's a quick sampling of what people like the Pauls, Scott Walker, Rick Snyder, or Sarah Palin call "small government":
- Abortions illegal.
- Collective bargaining illegal.
- Mandatory invasions of bodies to hold jobs with the state or receive social welfare benefits.
- No restrictions on child labor.
- No use or personal manufacture of recreational mood-altering chemicals, including home-brewed alcohol.
- No feeding the homeless.
- No freedom to peacefully assemble.
- No freedom to petition for the redress of grievances.
- No freedom from warrantless search and seizure.
- No freedom from religion.
- No freedom to dance in public space.
- Mandated fealty to anything with a badge. No freedom of expression (and if you think I'm wrong on this, try saying "fuck" on television).
- No presumption of innocence.
- A punitive rather than rehabilitative justice system. A higher per-capita incarceration rate than *any* other country on the planet, including China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Libya, or Iraq.
- Parents arrested and jailed for allowing their children under 21 to drink alcohol in the privacy of their own homes...and children under 21 imprisoned for not registering to be drafted into combat. No getting married if your relationship is not approved by the state.
Now contrast that to an evil socialist communist fascist system like Finland, where - the right-wing pundits will tell you - they are slaves to the socialist state:
- 37 hour work weeks - a federally mandated MAXIMUM 45 hours (Note: I misspoke this as “forty” in the video) - with several weeks total mandated paid vacations.
- Legal requirements to ensure that any profit-based layoffs are fully justified AND those laid off are given severance an free training for different work if need be AND a guarantee that a company which lays off workers claiming reduced production MUST offer any new positions to those who were laid off first.
- The cleanest and most efficient energy production infrastructure in the world.
- The highest-performing education system in the western world.
- Universal health care.
- Universal higher education guided by science and fact rather than religion and myth - *in a country with an official state religion*, mind you.
- The highest rate of gun ownership in the western world outside of the US and Switzerland (where every male citizen is given a gun to keep for life as part of their national service).
- Broad protections against discrimination - so broad in fact that it's not even legal for police to include a person's skin color in describing a crime suspect.
- A recidivism rate on the order of 10% what ours is.
- A justice system which strives to rehabilitate criminality instead of encouraging it.
- A *lower* tax burden than many people in the US have.
- No assertions of human rights for corporations.
- No corporate citizenship.
- Coming soon: nationwide marriage and adoption rights for gays.
I could go on for hours in either vein, but you get the idea.
The point is - again - the "right wing" in this country who are people on the ground like my friend who inspired this piece are being deliberately manipulated to believe that principles which benefit only the ultra-wealthy and large corporations are beneficial to them.
This manipulation is done VERY well - I'm sure not trying to say that people like my friend are all stupid or easily-deceived - and the net result, the reason why I object so strongly to it, is that it's becoming so well-done that the very meanings of words are changing in people's minds. We call a country with a 37 hour work week and mandated paid vacations and severance a "socialist dictatorship," and a country where people work 50, 60, 70 hours a week for very low wages, no health care, and no education "free."
That's backwards, and we need to get aware on that point and roll it back before the language is so corrupted that it is no longer possible to correct the error anymore.
This was one of the key points of Orwell's 1984, and it's one that I'm afraid we're losing sight of in our arrogant assumption that "it can't happen here."