This is a little old, but I happened to (re-)stumble upon a link to it today and thought I’d mention it because, aside from being flat-out ridiculous, it provides a perfect illustration of why a lot of conservatives, in spite of any rhetoric to the contrary, have no interest in defending personal freedom (actually, not only have no interest in defending personal freedom, but are actually hostile to the notion).
Here’s the comment I left there which pretty much sums up my feelings on both the silliness of the author’s argument and on the broader issue of policing personal behavior:
I think what libertarians really need to do is reconsider their association with conservatives (at least the kind who hold views like the ones expressed here). There’s so much wrong with this article it’s almost mind-boggling, but I’ll just start by echoing Dan Patrick’s comment about whether tradition provides moral validation for an activity. Slavery had a rich tradition in western “civilization” for millennia. Should we bring that back? How about torture? Oh, wait, nevermind. (Also, you might want to rethink how this argument applies to marijuana, since it’s only been illegal in the U.S. since 1937.)
But of all the ridiculous ideas expressed here, perhaps the most absurd is the notion that in order to protect our freedoms the government must “enforce social order”—by preventing people from smoking a plant that makes them inclined to sit around, laugh, and eat junk food. Do I need to point out the irony here? You talk about the left’s dream of a nation of zombies, so drug-addled that they’re unable to resist indoctrination. But what’s the right’s dream? A nation of bright-eyed, enthusiastic drones eager to put the shackles on themselves?
The latter scenario sounds a bit scarier to me. Almost enough to make me want to roll up a doob and take a few tokes of the daemon weed.
(Via Rad Geek.)
Posted by Joe on June 9, 2010
There was a story on NPR this morning about a woman who, in the 1980s, began sending money to the U.S. government in an effort to help pay down the national debt. She even started an organization the purpose of which was to convince other people to do the same. My first response to this was: Are you fucking kidding me?!?! It’s not enough to have part of your salary taken without your consent and used by congressmen to buy votes or create jobs secure campaign contributions by funneling cash to their politically connected friends in the “private sector,” or used to bail out banks, or build more prisons, or to continue to wage endless war on unsuspecting villagers in Afghanistan, etc., etc. No, what you have to do is give these criminal scumbags more of your money, voluntarily.
The article portrayed the woman as a somewhat kooky idealist, fighting a noble though losing battle against the inevitable expansion of government, rather than as a fool or an inveterate sucker. I have to wonder, though, what if she had been an employee of, say, WalMart, and decided to help the company’s sagging bottom line by volunteering to work overtime and weekends for free? How would she have been portrayed in that case?
If you want to give your money away, give it to a charity or some kind of organization that does something useful. But if you’re just going to give it to the government, you might as well scatter it in the wind, or flush it down the toilet, or set it on fire.
Posted by Joe on June 4, 2010
It was just about impossible to turn on the TV yesterday without stumbling upon a maudlin tribute to our fallen heroes in some form or other, whether a straight news piece or a war movie of the Band of Brothers variety. Even during the seventh inning stretch of the Phillies game there was a sappy musical tribute to those who, as the announcer put it, “made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.” And you couldn’t so much as drive down the street without being assaulted by American flags.
Of course, a day devoted to remembering people killed in wars could just as easily be an anti-war holiday. But, alas, this isn’t the case here in America, where militarism is the national religion, in spite of the official myth about how the U.S. isn’t an aggressor and only goes to war when it has no other choice.
Posted by Joe on June 1, 2010