Category Archive 'Freedom'

14 Apr 2010

America: Land of the “Mostly Free”

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Last week, the Heritage Foundation issued its annual Index of Economic Freedom. The United States’ ranking fell dramatically from 80.7 in 2009 to 78 in 2010, for the first time declining out of the free category into the “mostly free.”

Bruce Bartlett, in Forbes, says what liberals say: We’re so much wealthier today that we can afford to pay our taxes and the costs of regulations.

Stephen M. Bainbridge responds with some indignation, rightly characterizing Bartlett’s argument as proposing “trading our birthright of freedom for an iPad.”

[I]f I get the gist of this column correctly, he’s arguing that I should be happy about bigger government and higher taxes because I get to buy an iPad . …

I’m happy to acknowledge that the free market economy has produced profound blessings. But I’m not willing to swap my birthright of economic freedom for a “PDA” (how technologically quaint). Nor am I willing to stand by without protest while ever larger chunks of the American economy are turned over to the Obamabots–the very definition of “Social Engineers, who seek to adjust mankind to conform with scientific utopias.” After all, if we rely today on government to provide us with bread and circuses, what will we rely on government to provide tomorrow?

At bottom, my problem with Bartlett’s argument that we can afford higher taxes and greater regulation is that regulation and taxation are like the story about how to boil a frog. If a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.

In the United States today, the thermostat is still set pretty low. The Heritage Foundation has warned us, however, that the Obamabots have turned up the heat a tad. It is the proper function of conservatives to resist and to seek to turn down the heat.

02 Jul 2009

Grand Inquisitor Endorses Obama Health Reform

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Ilya Glazunov, Легенда о Великом Инквизиторе (The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor), 1985

David Brooks and David Frum have a new companion in the crowd of policy experts rushing to endorse the new era of Big Government.

Thaddeus G. McCotter reports in the American Spectator:

Breaking his half-a-millennium media silence from eternal damnation, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor joined a chorus of presumed conservatives to endorse President Obama’s health care reforms.

Resplendently stooped beneath a banner reading “Enslave, But Feed Us!” the Grand Inquisitor commenced with a veiled shot at former President Bush: “The present fate of men may be summed up in three words: unrest, confusion, and misery! The bulk of humanity could never be happy under the old system, it is not for them.”

Inspired that Obama has made government capable of “saving mankind a millennium of useless suffering on earth,” the Grand Inquisitor averred that “only now has it become possible to us, for the first time, to give a serious thought to human happiness.” …

He was compelled to endorse the Obama plan because it matches his core principles for social justice: “There are three Powers upon earth, capable of conquering the conscience of these weak rebels—men—for their own good; and these forces are Miracle, Mystery, and Authority.”

Legendary as a master of abstruse statutory interpretation, the Grand Inquisitor praised the Obama plan’s specifics. “Receiving their bread from us, they will clearly see that we take the bread from them, the bread made by their own hands, but to give it back to them in equal shares. They will be only too glad to have it so.”

Regarding the dicey issue of patients’ choices, the Grand Inquisitor was dismissive. “Oh, never, never, will they learn to feed themselves without our help! No science will ever give them bread so long as they remain free, so long as they refuse to lay that freedom at our feet.” The goal, he said, was to find a universal health care plan “all others will believe in, and consent to bow down to in a mass.”

He said he empathized with the burden Obama selflessly carries upon his strapping shoulders. He urged critics to find common ground, but the grizzled visage lashed out at a Fox News reporter: “You have no right to add one syllable to that which was already uttered before!” The wizened wag then subtly positioned Republicans as the party of “no” in the health care debate by deriding its plans for patient-centered health care: “They have saved but themselves while we have saved all.”

Hat tip to Tristyn Bloom and Will Wilson.

12 Jun 2008

When It Was a Free Country

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Dennis Prager remembers the good old days, when we baby boomers were kids, and America was still a free country and Americans were basically sane.

With the important exception of racial discrimination — which was already dying a natural death when I was young — it is difficult to come up with an important area in which America is significantly better than when I was a boy. But I can think of many in which its quality of life has deteriorated.

When I was a boy, America was a freer society than it is today. If Americans had been told the extent and number of laws that would govern their speech and behavior within one generation, they would have been certain that they were being told about some dictatorship, not the Land of the Free. Today, people at work, to cite but one example, are far less free to speak naturally. Every word, gesture and look, even one’s illustrated calendar, is now monitored lest a fellow employee feel offended and bring charges of sexual harassment or creating a “hostile work environment” or being racially, religiously or ethnically insensitive, or insensitive to another’s sexual orientation.

21 Jan 2008

Freedom Out of Fashion

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Jonah Goldberg sounds the alarm over the elect’s revival of enthusiasm for coercive expressions collectivist paternalism.

Remember this? “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical….”

Younger readers may not remember the opening to “The Outer Limits,” a pretty good sci-fi rip-off of “The Twilight Zone” (and they may have only a fuzzy understanding that TVs used to have knobs to control the horizontal and vertical). But as they read the news these days, maybe they can find a new appreciation for the creepy feeling of powerlessness that opening once gave viewers. …

We are seeing a return to the idea — first championed by social planners in the progressive era — that government can and should play the role of parent. For instance, Michael Gerson, once a speechwriter for President Bush, advocates a new “heroic conservatism” — an updating of his former boss’ compassionate conservatism — that would unleash a new era of statist regulations. On the stump, Hillary Clinton refers to her book, “It Takes a Village,” in which she argued that we all must surrender ourselves to the near-constant prodding, monitoring, cajoling and scolding of the “helping professions.” Clinton argues that children are born in “crisis” and government must respond with all the tools in its arsenal from the word go. She advocates putting television sets in all public gathering places so citizens can be treated to an endless loop of good parenting tutorials.

Mike Huckabee, who represents compassionate conservatism on steroids, favors a nationwide ban on public smoking. Everywhere, from Barack Obama to John McCain, we are told that our politics must be about causes “larger than ourselves.” What we used to think of as individual freedom is now being recast as greedy and selfish.

Read the whole thing.

19 Jan 2007


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Local government out of control and burdening residents with an ever-increasing array of pettyfogging rules and regulations?

The little village of Fago, located in the Spanish Pyrenees, found a solution to this overly common problem.

29 Dec 2006

Rightwing Shrinks, Who Would Have Imagined Such a Thing?

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Before the blogosphere came along, I would never even have suspected that such a thing as a skeptical, rational, freedom-loving, Republican-voting alienist existed.

But I read Dr. Sanity and Shrinkwrapped regularly, who certainly thoroughly discredit my former naive assumptions that anyone associated with, or trained in, any form or species of the social sciences simply has to be some kind of leftist.

Dr. Joy Bliss, over at Maggie’s Farm, has a larger list than my own of the non-collectivist psychologically-inclined to which she has added a meditation on freedom and the psyche.

It has been a wonder to me that so many folks in the mind and soul-treating professions are so non-freedom-minded, when these professions are designed to free people from their inner demons which restrict their taking on life freely, cheerfully, and energetically, in the way they see fit, and taking their own chances and making their own choices – in free societies. Freedom is what they are all about, and why psychoanalysis and psychotherapy are never permitted in totalitarian states.

I need to keep an eye on this lady’s postings, and I believe I am going to arrange a new Psychology link category.

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