Free Markets, Free People

When did I miss the “tipping point”?

Following up yesterday’s post, this is really the sort of country I long for as articulated by Troy Senik.  In fact, I long for it:

I want a “leave me alone” society — one where Christian schools can turn people away for rejecting their doctrine, just as gay rights groups can reject those who don’t share their beliefs. I don’t want us all to get along — not because I’m misanthropic (well, not just because I’m misanthropic), but because I know that “consensus” is usually a fancy word for muting minority viewpoints. I want us all to be free to be annoyed with each other from our separate corners. Is that too much to ask?

Apparently.  Ask Sarah Conely (I still can’t get over the title of her book and the implication it carries which, if she even realizes it, should chill her to the bone).  Ask Mayor Bloomberg.  Ask most of the left and a good portion of the right.

How did we ever wander away from that direction and end up on the one where a major news organ, the NYT, even gives a forum to crypto-fascists like Conely?  What a horrifying person she is.  Imagine someone as cavalier about your rights actually in a position of power.  Imagine the possibilities.  Oh, that’s right, we don’t have too, do we.  We have history to provide the examples.  Tons of them.

And yet here is this supposed “learned” academic parroting the same authoritarian themes in a soothing voice designed to lull you into feeling good about giving everything away to the authoritarians (or at least enough so that at some point they can just take the rest).

I want what Senik wants.  I don’t have a problem with most discrimination.  Yeah, I know – that’s heresy isn’t it?  Look, if someone wants to discriminate let them – and let them pay the “stupid tax” for doing so.  But here’s the point – you should be free to do that.  You should have the right to be stupid and to do stupid things (with the usual caveat that it’s only okay as long as your stupid acts don’t harm others or violate their rights). You should have the right to fail, get fat, smoke, drink, and be an ignorant slob without the do gooders deciding they have to save you from yourself and the only way to do that is to take your freedom away.  Or to tell you how to act, talk, or interact with penalties for not being politically correct.

Why is it that the Sarah Conely’s of the world are published in the NYT and the ideas of the Troy Senik’s of the world have to settle for blogs?  When did Senik’s idea, which was once very main stream in this country, become extremist while what was once not only extremist, an anathema to America,  but thoroughly discredited throughout history somehow gain respectability again?

When you boil it all down, it is that dilemma which amply describes why we’re in the awful shape we’re in and why we see our freedoms under constant assault and slowly being taken away.

I’m just wondering when the tipping point occurred.

Any ideas?


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50 Responses to When did I miss the “tipping point”?

  • I’m just wondering when the tipping point occurred.

    When this country elected that “super smart” progressive president of Princton.  Ever since then those who sell equality, fairness, and tolerance have been slowly eroding liberty.  The acceleration we are seeing under Obama is because our media, some knowing but most willfully ignorant indoctrinated pawns cant separate the person from the policy.  The benevolent Barack can not do wrong.  These people refuse to recognize precident and cant imagine a time their idealogical opponents have all those powers that they so lovingly bequeathed to Obama and the left.
    Worse though, is the slow death when they eventually will have Pastor Martin Niemöller epiphany;  First they came for the conservatives, but I was not conservative…

  • FDR. It’s been a slow motion tip since then.

    • If I had to pick one thing – Vietnam.

    • Did it happen with the first administration of FDR, or had it happened prior to them?  Considering the dynamism and lack of contrary legislation in the 1880’s, it hadn’t happened then, but some time in the next 50 years, the Rousseauans got to America.

  • How can one tell?
    We’ve been slowly piling on the things government protects us against – air bag laws, seat belt laws, etc.
    Shedding personal responsibility, suing our way to riches by ensuring someone else is always at fault for whatever goes wrong.
    Becoming more and more entitled – free phones, internet access, a college education.   The world got a whole lot smaller.
    We stopped taking chances.  We gave up accepting that shit happens and began to regulate and legislate against stupidity and against misfortune.
    We got ‘smarter’, we got more tech savvy and became less capable, we became more interconnected, and more tolerant while becoming wildly intolerant of intolerance.
    It’s a lot of things, all working together, not so slowly any more.     In my personal opinion, we’re just off the balance point, but the pace is picking up so we notice.
    We stopped being a young country, now we’re becoming Europe.  We don’t believe we’re exceptional any more and we have ‘educators’ ensuring it.

    Statism has not seen an unbroken advance in America.
    bains and shark are both right, and both wrong.  After Wilson came Coolidge.  After FDR came Eisenhower.
    But the Collective has ALWAYS seen the Federal government as the way to impose their views on Americans.  Federalism provides too many degrees of freedom, and states are good places to showcase competitive ideas.  The BIG STATE is the tool they like.
    And allowing people the chance to decide via the ballot is also too uncertain for them.  They are, at base, anti-democratic, anti-liberty, and misanthropic.  Hence, they work to impose their values via the courts and regulation, which are largely immune to democratic correction from the proles.
    As power is increasingly centralized, people opposed to the imposition of Collectivist values are forced to join the blood-struggle over the bone of power, or simply cede the field.
    The answer, as most of us know, is to devolve power back to the most dissipated level of our civic structures possible…including the individual.  And ESPECIALLY the individual.

    • An agreement to an argument I have with my father.  He is a classic liberal, a southern Democrat who eschewed his political allegiances when the left fought civil rights reforms.  He is now a left leaning libertarian.
      He puts the tipping point when Teddy Roosevelt left office.  (with the forgettable Taft between then and WWs election 4 years later you can see why we chose to agree.)  My father’s argument is that Teddy was the last in a long line of Presidents that embodied individualism.  Sure, Coolidge, Eisenhower, to some extent Kennedy, and most certainly Reagan displayed and engendered this trait.  But that is four (maybe five) Presidents over one century, Twenty (or twenty two) years in one hundred.
      Over those same hundred years, forces on both sides have been positioning themselves, as you point out, to control our freedoms, and have patiently etched away our liberty for their own political gain.
      As Mark Levin demonstrates in Ameritopia, there is a long history of thinkers who develop processes to achieve “heaven on earth”.  All depend upon an enlightened vanguard to lead us proles to utopia – because we are not smart enough to know what is best for us – because we  vote against our own self interests, self interests as defined by those enlightened and would-be anointed.
      Prior to Woodrow Wilson, Plato, Moore, and Hobbs were known only to the scholarly.  By the late 19th and early 20th centurys, Marx’ works had plenty of time to percolate and ferment within the newly found “enlightened” class – bourgeois aware of their privilege and embarrassed by their good fortune.  And they took to this “new” prophet of heaven on earth with gusto; a gusto that has grown and now pollutes our education system.
      Woodrow Wilson was our first President who was a devote of the idea of the perfectible man (a prerequisite of heaven on earth).  On that deluded path, he made four steps forward.  Coolridge made one step back, FDR another twelve steps forwards, Eisenhower two steps back…
      Our task for liberty would have been easier if Hoover, Nixon, Ford, Bush and Bush had not been content to take no steps whatsoever.  But ultimately, the fault lies with us, the people.  Too many allow unrealistic promises to mask the starkness of reality.  We always poll to vote the bastards out, but never our bastard.

      • “against our own self interests” – a lament heard constantly from the blue staters (losing companies, jobs and suffering failing economies) referring to the right-to-work South, where not legislating union control is viewed by them as such.

      • I regard Nixon, with his love of fascist economics and expansion of the regulatory state, a true Progressive.  He was certainly not a Conservative.  Like Teddy, who was a rugged individualist personally, but a Progressive in every other way.
        The piece I linked to remarks on the tension between “liberty” and “virtue”.  I consider this a silly, vacant argument.  Without responsibility, there cannot be liberty.  Virtue cannot be realized by civic structures, since it comes only via individual choice.  I can’t be compelled to be “charitable”, since, as with most real virtues, I have to be at liberty to express it or not.
        What a lot of people call “extreme individualism” is merely what is more correctly recognized as the drive to enjoy pure license, which is the delusional state where you live without consequence and responsibility for your actions.  It is kind of the polar opposite of true freedom.

        • I dont buy Matt Lewis’ contention.  Virtue is the  subjective, malleable, often unstated, even unrecognized  justification of one’s world view – It is not fundamental premise.  If one values equality over liberty, then it is always virtuous to fight for equality irrespective of the liberties trampled.  The fundamental premise is what one values, or places preeminent, above all else.
          Interesting that so many of those that have so much now want to impose their views of equality upon the rest of us – I’m sure they are convinced that their actions and beliefs are “virtuous” – equality for all the proles beneath them.
          Liberty on the other hand threatens their hold on their vaulted status.  Someone might smack them up side their figurative head and knock them off their “throne”.

          • Yet I do assert there are virtues that simply exist.  Honesty is a virtue, as is truthfulness, as is fidelity to one’s word.  To name a few.
            All of these “natural virtues” exist solely in the person who expresses them.  And no system of liberty, it seems to me, could long withstand their absence.

          • I dont disagree that virtues exist. The virtues you hold dear have developed out of the environment you were raised.  Again, ones virtues are malleable within a larger scheme – ones virtues often become ones raison d’etre – they become self justifying.
            The nasty and oft-ignored choice has always been what one holds preeminent:  Liberty or Equality?

      • But Teddy was a progressive Republican, so he is sort of a mixed bag as well.
        And the reality is that some of the progressive stuff done has not been 100% bad. Unemployment insurance, for example, makes sense. But the problem is that the politician abuse these instead of keeping them sensible.
        Oh, and for those pesky liberals who will tell you the weekend, pensions, and unemployment were brought to you by unions…well, actually, Bismark modeled his social insurance policies off Krupp. So, capitalist merchant of death brought us these policies.

  • Folks it’s a lot older than opined on above.  How often have we all heard ‘there ought to be a law!’

    • True, but it’s worse because technological advancement with computers, the web, and microchips is an autocrat’s wet dream.
      Government can spy on you in real time all the time, where you go, what you do, what you buy, what you watch, what you read, what you say.
      And they can keep the data forever and massage the data inexpensively.
      Sure they could spy before, but it was prohibitively expensive to do against everyone, they had to be selective.
      Knowing they can peek at virtually everyone now, they pass more and more laws that would have been impossible to enforce against ‘crimes’ that would have been impossible to prove.
      All done for our safety and well being, of course.

    • Historically, you can even find emperors in Byzantine times who’s main claim to fame was reforming the legal system. Seems that given enough time, legal systems clog up with laws.
      Kansas now has the Office of the Repealer, but I prefer Glenn Reynold’s idea of an entire new body of Congress that can only remove law, not create it. They would have to run on what they would get rid of.

  • When was the tipping point?  I think I can narrow it down to somewhere to the East of Adam & Eve and North of Barack Obama.

  • The tipping point was “Roe v Wade” when the death of innocents was made law.
    Now nobody is innocent.

  • It’s OK guys, you’re just facing a generational shift.  The world of the 21st century is not at all like what you’re used to or what you think should be.  But that’s because a new generation is making their world differently.  This happens all the time, almost every generation thinks that the world they see fading should last.  But it will be OK.  Freedom will persist.  Democracy will continue.  The culture will continue to change and evolve.  There is an eb and flow.  The 20th Century is gone forever, but have faith in young Americans to make a good future – even if they don’t define freedom and the proper role of government as you do.  After all, we don’t want to follow the views of the founders – if we stuck with them women wouldn’t vote, we’d have slaves, and freedom would be very constrained.

    • Remember to wear that stupid grin when your turn comes.

      • When his turn comes, I’ll be the one grinning…

      • My turn?

        • Yes, when “they don’t define freedom and the proper role of government as you do”
          If you’re looking for some dark threat sort of thing, don’t bother.  I figure we’re a few crises away from you not liking the resulting new national direction very much for a while.

          • Oh, you don’t always think you’ll be separate from us proles do you? How cute. Pally, you’re strictly useful-idiot status.

          • but…… wait!  I’m useful!  Look, see, I’ve been your friend!  I’ve helped!  You can’t do this to me!

    • …and freedom would be very constrained.

      Oh, please, take your time and expound on that moronic lil’ hand-wave.
      Please, please, please…

    • The founders had other ideas too.   Just because some of the things SOME of them believed were flawed doesn’t mean all their ideas were flawed.   From their ideals stemmed the idea that woman CAN vote, that people shouldn’t be slaves (an idea that has been with us from the dawn of time, and in some places still exists), in fact those two things are the logical outgrowth of their ideals.

      • Agreed.  They set some principles, and had good and bad ideas.  I just don’t want to worship them as if somehow people in the 21st century couldn’t improve on the ideas of the 18th Century.

        • Like, what? perhaps the outmoded idea that your rights are inherent as opposed to being given to you by the government?  Or that your labor is yours and does not by nature belong to the government to be redistributed to others?  Those are ideas that don’t NEED improving on.
          I don’t worship them, I recognize them as a very unique group of intelligent individuals at a very unique time, with some very powerful and positive ideas and the balls to make it happen.

    • Things don’t always get better just because the next generation implements them.,,,history is rife with examples where the exact opposite occurs.  But you’re more touchy feely based than history based, as you have, time and again, proven, and you’re comfortable that you think you know where the current system is headed.

      • Sure, some things get better, others worse.  I actually share your sentiment more than you realize.  We’ve got a culture so addicted to safety and security that they give up personal responsibility – I hear you loud and clear.  I talk about this with students, and they often defend things like banning smoking on the whole campus, and lots of other things that I think are too intrusive (I oppose things like the soda ban in NYC because it treats the symptom not the cause, and thus will be ineffective).  But in all, I have lots of faith in the American system, don’t have a fear that our liberties are being taken away or that the best is behind us.  I’m very optimistic about the future.

        • “I’m very optimistic about the future.”   And some of us are, at present, not.   Our liberties ARE being taken away.  ‘Best’ will have to be judged by history, not me, because I don’t believe we have seen our best quite yet.
          For the moment, I’d prefer not to turn the experiment into one based on Marxist theory.

        • ‘ We’ve got a culture so addicted to safety and security that they give up personal responsibility”
          “I oppose things like the soda ban in NYC because it treats the symptom not the cause, and thus will be ineffective”
          The concept of freedom is  completely insignificant to you to you. It’s just an obligatory  word that has to be used in certain contexts, like “I beg your pardon” or “Thank you”. The soda ban, and other measures,  is bad because it’s ineffective, not because it destroys freedom.

    • “Young Americans” are quickly getting wise to the horrible screwing they have taken at the hands of your Collective, Erp.
      I am pretty sanguine that they will reject your reactionary bullshit.

      • The tipping point was Womens Suffrage!

      • Well, they are rejecting homophobic bigotry, pushing for immigration reform, and are on the front lines for expanding freedom for gays to marry, for people to be able to smoke pot, and to put science ahead of ideology in the global warming debate.  The generation up and coming is pretty awesome, I’m sure they’ll do great.

        • Marriage is a religious ceremony, gays can already have civil unions, what ‘right’ is it they’re after that a civil union does not achieve?
          Does the government have the ‘right’ to insist, say, Catholics, must MARRY same sex couples, when it is anathema to their religious teachings?
          Global warming, yes, even though the predictions and hysterics of the previous decade have proved unfounded….science ahead of ideology, really?
          And which ideology is it that I am espousing if I demand to see the expected results of the their plan to stop global warming, and ask them to demonstrate how their plan will reduce it before they
          take my money?  Is ‘hope’ an ideology, is wanting proof an ideology?    Am I being an ideologue because I was unconvinced 10 years agon and remain unconvinced, and time has proved me right
          and them wrong so far in their predictions?
          If someone tells you they have built a car with a magic engine that will get 100 mpg of water, would you buy it without some demonstration that it did in fact get 100 mpg?

        • Well, they are rejecting homophobic bigotry

          Wow.  I did that.  LONNNNNNGGGG ago, circa 1958, dummy.

          …pushing for immigration reform…

          No.  They are not.  SOME are pushing for open borders, which NO nation you can name follows.  RIGHT…???  Or AMNESTY, which has NEVER WORKED ANYWHERE.  Has it…???
          I’m for “immigration reform” which starts with controlling our borders and removing perverse incentives to come and stay here illegally.

          “….expanding freedom for gays to marry…”

          But “marriage”…like “circle”…has a meaning.  A circle is not a square, no matter how you lie about it.

          …put science ahead of ideology in the global warming debate…

          Than you’d best get used to being laughed at a LOT, you pathetic bag of ignorance…!!!  Oh.  Wait….

          • The meaning of marriage is what people decide it should be.  We’re free to change definitions.  That’s freedom!
            Face it Rags, you’re on the wrong side of history.

          • No, Erp.  That is post-modern bullshit.  Words…and societal norms…mean things.
            You are on the wrong side of reality.  As usual.

          • “you’re on the wrong side of history”
            Like those who opposed the Bolsheviks.

        • “pushing for immigration reform”
          Out of sheer ignorance. The phrase ‘immigration reform’ is meaningless.
          “The generation up and coming is pretty awesome”
          Yeah, yeah. The Age of Aquarius is here. The same BS fools like you have been shoveling for a half century or so. Objective measurements are , at best, static but we have the brightest, best educated, most well-informed generation in history…blah, blah, blah. It wasn’t true in the sixties and it isn’t true now. There is a reason ‘Candide’ use to be required reading.

        • Wrong side of history? Possibly. Wrong? NOPE.
          Just because you win doesn’t mean you were right. Marriage means what we want it to mean. Ok. Lets take a pool on when the first lawsuit gets filed to extend marriage to groups of three or more. You’ve opened the door, everyone has an equal claim now. Two peoples avatars get “married in Warcraft- can that cyber marriage now be recognized? I bet it can!
          Words mean something. A religion sets its own rules. Gays can get married in court but never in Church. How that must rankle!

  • “After all, we don’t want to follow the views of the founders – if we stuck with them women wouldn’t vote, we’d have slaves, and freedom would be very constrained.” At just a simple glance at the history of the day, could you point out to me the societies that gave anyone a “vote” in that day?  Care to point out the next time in history a document that rivals the Constitution came into being?  Keep looking!  The point is very simple, revisionism in history doesn’t work – not even when considering the Constitution and the founding fathers.  You may take exception to individual points of the Constitution but the framework and concept is Revolutionary even unto this day.  Care to compare our own Constitution with the one proposed for the European Union?  All 2,000+ pages of it?  And when we consider the Constitution, written so long ago, has only had how many revisions?  And these revisions (amendments) can be categorized as 1) those expanding liberty and 2) adminis-trivia.  If, as you say “the views of the fathers” can be encapsulated in the document known as the US Constitution, I’ll take that one and let me know the alternative you would prefer.  I’ll wait.

    • Erp is a member of a previous “pretty awesome” generation and is thus as shallow and superficial as the rest of those who don’t see that wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge of human affairs existed long before ‘political science’ was invented.

      • Amen.
        AND that human nature does not change with the calendar.  What a tool.

    • VERY well-said, SShiell!