Thursday, 01 December 2011

How the Gingrich Stole Freedom

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Becky AkersIt’s rare that a contender for his party’s presidential nomination calls for his own execution, but Newt Gingrich did exactly that on Monday.

This congenital hypocrite was prattling about limited government 15 years ago while his infamous “Contract With America” manicured Leviathan’s claws. Far be it from him to abolish unconstitutional programs when he could tinker with and “improve” them instead! Nor have the passing years dampened his fascism and faith in policy: witness Mr. Wonk’s proposal earlier this year to replace — not eradicate — the tyrannical EPA “with a new agency that would work with industry.”

Predictably, Mr. Wonk also endorses the police-state. Whether we’re talking non-governmental terrorism or drugs Our Rulers dislike, the politician with two divorces, numerous infidelities, and other scandals to his credit lusts to “protect” us by running our lives for us.

So when a reporter asked him, “In 1996, you introduced a bill that would have given the death penalty to drug smugglers. Do you still stand by that?”, Mr. Wonk responded, "If you are, for example, the leader of a cartel, sure. Look at the level of violence they've done to society. You can either be in the Ron Paul tradition and say there's nothing wrong with heroin and cocaine or you can be in the tradition that says, 'These kind [sic] of addictive drugs are terrible, they deprive you of full citizenship” — I can list scores of far more valuable commodities they deprive you of than citizenship, full or otherwise, but for a statist, there is no higher good — “and they lead you to a dependency which is antithetical to being an American.' ”

Really? I know mighty few junkies and crack-heads; I bet you do, too, unless you work in an emergency room.

But you and I both know multitudes hopelessly addicted to something far more merciless than any drug, an entity that “lead[s] … to a dependency which is antithetical to being an American.” Yep: Mr. Wonk’s god, government.

In a country founded on freedom from the State and personal autonomy, most Americans cling to government more obsessively than any druggie does his fix. Students demand “free” tuition in college after slouching through 12 years of “free” indoctrination in the public schools. Corporate CEOs hire lobbyists to buy them yet another subsidy from the Feds. Retirees on Social Security don’t worry over the children and grandchildren they’re impoverishing or their own moral degradation but about whether their pelf will outrun inflation.

Perhaps more insidious than such shameless sponging is the mental and emotional reliance on the State. Government is the first recourse in any crisis, the only arbiter for even minor disputes, the favorite authority on every subject from potable water to pizza as a vegetable to ”energy-efficient” light-bulbs.

“There oughta be a law,” the consumer whines whenever a product or service disappoints him. Alas, there almost always already is, for all the good it does. Yet the addict insists we need more regulations.

Likewise, no matter what the expense, addicts beg Leviathan to rob their neighbors on their behalf. When the doctor hospitalized my widowed grandmother after a series of mini-strokes, social “workers” hyped a cornucopia of “services” she could “access.” Which I expected: Even without ObamaCare, government so heavily controls medicine it is to all intents and purposes nationalized. Why wouldn’t its pushers try to ensnare more victims?

But what shocked me were similar recommendations from my grandmother’s friends — most of whom were devout Christians. Yet these little old white-haired ladies were as larcenous as Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). And while they may have doubted that the Lord would care for His saint, they certainly believed the government would. Nor did the Commandment against theft inhibit their urging us to raid the public’s purse.

Now along comes one of the State’s most enthusiastic pushers — indeed, a “leader of a cartel” — advising death for guys whose wares wreak far less damage on far fewer lives than does his. Don’t believe me? The National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of the myriad agencies at the National Institutes of Health whose bills you and I pay, reports that “the number of current (past-month) heroin users aged 12 or older in the United States increased from 153,000 in 2007 to 213,000 in 2008.” A tragedy, certainly, but a fate sovereign individuals choose for themselves. Nor does the Constitution ever even remotely authorize the State to interfere with such personal decisions.

How many “current (past-month) users” of government languish out there? The enrollment in just one of Leviathan’s insidious schemes dwarfs the numbers heroin claims: “Nearly 15% of the U.S. population relied on food stamps in August [2011], as the number of recipients hit 45.8 million.... Mississippi reported the largest share of its population relying on food stamps, more than 21%. One in five residents in New Mexico, Tennessee, Oregon and Louisiana also were food stamp recipients.” (Emphasis added.)

You might think such staggeringly widespread addiction would content food-stamps’ dealers. Au contraire: “States also made changes to make it easier for residents to tap into the program, such as waiving requirements that limited the value of assets food stamp recipients could own.”

While their independence shrivels and dies on food-stamps, addicts don’t typically die physically. Sadly, fans of cocaine and heroin do — sometimes. The rates of fatality are surprisingly low, so low that researchers seem to have lost interest in compiling the statistics. In the 1980s, “Estimated Per Capita Death Rates” for heroin averaged 400 per year, 200 for cocaine.

Even if we generously update the numbers by doubling them, heroin slays only 66 devotees per month.

And how does the lethal Pentagon compare? Recall its entrapment of kids who are often impecunious and hopeless: “free” education or vocational training, “free” medical care, “free” shelter, clothing and food (I use the terms loosely). An average of 43 of those who can’t kick their Pentagon habit have died every month since Bush invaded Iraq, let alone the casualties in Afghanistan — and all the casualties those casualties slaughtered before their own deaths. At least heroin’s addicts usually overdose alone, without dragging others down to the grave.

So let’s marvel at Mr. Wonk’s volunteering to exterminate “leader[s] of a cartel” because of the “level of violence they’ve done to society” and the “dependency” they induce that’s “antithetical to being an American.” And somebody put him on a suicide watch.

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