UMBRELLA OF LIBERTY
2009 December 10

     Some people make you think abortion should be retroactive.

     Homosexual marriage is a good idea: why shouldn't gays be as miserable as the rest of us?

     Jokes aside, aren't things getting a little silly? Scratch that, things are getting a lot silly. Let's look at some issues and ask some of the right questions this time around.

     New York State voted against allowing people of the same sex to be married. I'm comfortable that most people don't want gays to marry. That answers the wrong question. Most people believe pro wrestling is real and the moon landing were fake, go figure that out. The real question is why we're leaving something as personal as marriage up to majority rule. I notice the liberals side with me on this one, not because it's right but because they win. Here's the right issue: There's an "umbrella of liberty" that covers things where neither the state nor a majority vote have any business telling us what to do.

     As I write this, I'm going through a nostalgic phase and listening to Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side," a song about kinky public sex in private clubs. I don't want to live on his wild side or even to know more about it, but it's not up to me whether guys choose to attend "gentlemen's clubs" or women choose to be well paid for dancing in them, or whether people choose to be cross-dressing, sadistic, masochistic sex perverts. So long as I don't have to put up with them trampling my lawn or disturbing my quiet evenings, it's none of my business. If it makes the liberals feel better, then I'll point out that I've been told the Hooters chain is owned by women. (The issue of exposing this world to children is more complicated.)

     This umbrella-of-liberty concept is American, maybe not uniquely, but at least characteristically. It's the not-so-self-evident truth that we have unalienable rights to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and property, and other stuff like that. The democratic will of the majority is kept at bay when it comes to our private lives and businesses in America, at least the America most of us left home and came to. (The two major groups of people who did not choose to be here are native Americans (formerly "Indians") who have reservations and former slaves who are an airplane ticket away from their home-culture land of Africa. The rest of us went through significant effort sometime in our family pasts to get here rather than to stay home in some other place.)

     So back to same-sex marriage: The American view is that you and I may like gay weddings, you and I may hate gay weddings, you and I may have all kinds of feelings, but it isn't our concern or business. Campaigning for a majority approval is the wrong route, getting same-sex marriage off the political chopping block altogether is the right path. The liberals have the right idea on this one.

     They're right about abortion, too, in my opinion. Here the waters are murkier because a lot of people think killing a fetus is killing a human being. Still, a woman's reproductive rights supersede the rights of a growing parasite, even a human being she spawned herself. Think of it practically for a moment: Do we really want to populate the world with the offspring of those who seek abortions or those who rape them? Twenty years after Roe v. Wade the crime rate dropped. Maybe it's cause and effect, maybe it's coincidence, but I figure it can't hurt to do the American thing and leave reproductive rights under the umbrella of liberty.

     The same goes for private use of non-destructive drugs. People who run around campaigning for the "War on Drugs" either have too much time on their hands or are themselves profiting somehow from the effort. The American thing to do is to leave people alone.

     There are drugs people take that makes them crazy and violent and I would restrict their use by force if necessary. I'm thinking of angel dust and PCP and methamphetamine, not tobacco or marijuana, not even cocaine or alcohol. Any consistent policy of drug restriction that legalizes alcohol should leave tobacco, marijuana, and cocaine alone. We found out with American prohibition that the cost of making a major drug illegal is far higher than the damage done by users of the drug. The American thing to do is to leave people alone.

     It's not currently an issue, but a military draft is a bad thing. If we want soldiers to fight for our country, then we should support them and pay them enough that people voluntarily choose a military career. Some of us were glad to see the draft go away so our government would be hamstrung enough not to engage in bullshit wars like Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq. I guess we'll have to count on the Nobel Peace Prize committee to help us resolve that issue.

     Okay, here's the clincher. Any umbrella of liberty large enough to cover the liberal issues is large enough to cover the conservative issues as well. It is egregious hypocrisy to claim marriage and reproductive rights as fundamental and not to concede fundamental economic and personal rights.

     The American founding fathers said we all pay the same tax and we all get the same vote, fair is fair. Somewhere along the way we got the idea that taxes should be used for social adjustment of wealth, the same kind of reasoning that says that every fish in the ocean needs a bicycle. If the umbrella is large enough for the liberal issues of marriage, abortion, and drugs, then it's certainly large enough to protect my earnings from unequal amounts of taxation. The income tax was passed in 1913 to fight tyranny in Europe that was defeated in 1918, but the tyranny of the tax is still with us, far worse than before, ninety-six years later. It's hypocrisy to whine about the Patriot Act as evil and to be silent on the tyranny of the Internal Revenue Act that affects so many more of us.

     Our liberty should include freedom from involuntary payment for social programs. It may be generous to pay poor people to have more children and to raise them in single-parent homes, but it is just plain nasty to conscript the wealth of others. The social programs have overwhelmingly done destructive things to those they were supposed to help, but that's between the benefactors and their recipients. Roe v. Wade should have a proviso that the liberty it proclaims should only be enforced in a society without government-tax-supported social programs.

     If reproductive rights are sacred, then certainly health care choices should be similarly protected. That means the FDA should lose its enforcement power and be reduced to an advisory role. That means the government can't tell us what kind of medicine we can buy or how much we can buy. I have discussed elsewhere how cheap free and private health care can be.

     What liberty does do for us is protect us from involuntarily paying for other people's health care. Should the government pay for abortions? Absolutely not! It's a personal choice, but also a personal responsibility. If liberals want to pay for reproductive rights of others, then fine. If they want to force me to pay for them, then not so fine. A program of public health care funded by tax dollars is wrong under any system that supports liberal liberties.

     Those who support liberal American causes as presented today in good faith have long-ago left for a society that already practices them. The logical reason for 52% staying and changing America is to get something from the other 48%, our wealth through taxation and our organs through government health care. Their self-righteous self-image of generosity fades into borderline-criminal greed once the logic of liberalism is understood.

     The conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage, abortion, and drugs don't get it either, but they're not the ones bleeding our fading dignity and ebbing productivity to support pseudo-generous social causes and environmental-scare hype along with greedy, corrupt unions and overpaid, incompetent corporate executives. At the moment and for the foreseeable future, the liberal errors are the greater threat to my country and to the entire world.

     A friend wrote, "If the conservatives have their way, the wealth of America and American liberties will remain. If the liberals have their way, we'll consume America's wealth (albeit by 'helping everyone') and our liberties from government interference will be gone. The effect of Conservatives is reversible, the effect of liberals is not." Thank you Roger.

    

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