’m referring, of course, to the growing intrusiveness of government at all levels. No longer is the sole focus of government the protection of individual liberty by preventing or punishing those violate those liberties by the use force or fraud against others.
Government has become an power unto itself and is engaged in behavior modification intended to make the proles conform to the governmental agenda. Many times that agenda is increasingly aided by evolving technology. It’s almost like a bad science fiction movie.
For instance – if government has decided that recycling is no longer and option, but a requirement, technology enables it to determine that. Instead of spending tax money on the services necessary to protect your rights, it instead spends that money on monitoring your behavior and punishing you with fines for that which doesn’t conform to its agenda.
It would be a stretch to say that Big Brother will hang out in Clevelanders’ trash cans, but the city plans to sort through curbside trash to make sure residents are recycling — and fine them $100 if they don’t.
The move is part of a high-tech collection system the city will roll out next year with new trash and recycling carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes.
The chips will allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection. If a chip show a recyclable cart hasn’t been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables.
Actually, it isn’t a stretch at all to say “Big Brother” is hanging out in trash cans, because that’s precisely what this is. It seems such a mundane thing. It’s not. Cleveland, apparently, has no other urgent priorities upon which to spend $2.5 million of their tax dollars on than to monitor your trash.
And it’s all about what is good for government:
Recycling is good for the environment and the city’s bottom line, officials said. Cleveland pays $30 a ton to dump garbage in landfills, but earns $26 a ton for recyclables.
So citizens are fined for not doing the government’s bidding and what was once a misdemeanor – for goodness knows what reason – is now a “civil penalty”. That, one assumes, is simply a new name for Big Brother’s “incentive” to recycle as it demands.
This is what creeping government control over every aspect of your life looks like. As one might say, it demonstrates the banality of evil. Something as mundane as trash pickup – a service that should be private anyway – has been assumed by government and is now used as one more event in which the government controls your life. You dance to its agenda, whether you want to or not.
Freedom is choice. Freedom is the lack of coercion, as Fredrick Hayek once declared. In Cleveland, one more choice, and one more bit of coercion has taken another bit freedom away. Call it death by a 1,000 cuts, but freedom and liberty are becoming more and more threatened –a process aided and abetted by today’s technological advances.