October 16, 2009 - by Frank J. Fleming
Conservative arguments against President Obama are becoming increasingly silly. They oppose Obama rescuing businesses despite all the jobs on the line, they’re against government taking control of health care from soulless insurance companies, and they oppose increased taxes on energy consumption despite the sorry state of the environment. And why do they oppose these most sensible actions? Because of their irrational, brain-dead obsession with liberty.
Of course, everyone likes freedom — to a point — but there are a number of loud, stupid Americans who just take it to ridiculous extremes. They hoard their freedoms like greedy little dwarfs hoarding gold when they have little actual use for most of it. People need rules and order and guidance, but they hardly ever need liberty.
Liberty doesn’t feed your family. Liberty doesn’t heal you when you’re sick. Liberty doesn’t educate your children. A strong government can do all those things, but apparently that’s against liberty. Thus these freedom-obsessed conservatives ignorantly rail against it like Bible-thumpers do against science, when they should realize it’s not their enemy; it’s their superior.
Just look at this ludicrous debate over health care reform. Of course the government should provide health care for everyone; how obvious can anything be? The government has the money and smart people working for everyone’s interests to make sure all get health care, so why would anyone be against that? Because apparently people aren’t “free” to make their health care choices for themselves. How is that freedom worth anything when people go without? Real freedom is not having to worry about health care, and that’s what you get when you have the government take it over. Yes, you’ll have little control over who gets what kind of care, but some people will just have to suffer some for the betterment of the whole. The advantage of having the government in control is that it makes sure the fewest number suffer, and those that do aren’t particularly important.
Simple logic like this, though, is like water off a duck’s back to the tea baggers. They scream about their money being taken, but what exactly were they going to spend it on? Beer hats? NASCAR tickets? Cheetos?
Oh, yes, that’s freedom worth preserving. But the more money the government has, the more control it can take over businesses and, thus, the economy. Then job creation lies in the hands of government — which looks out for its citizens — instead of in the hands of uncaring corporations out to make a buck off the misery of others. But apparently many Americans like being preyed upon by heartless corporations because that’s “liberty.” Well, if that’s liberty, no wonder so many progressive-minded people don’t want to participate.
This isn’t to say freedom is a bad thing. I think we can all agree that people should have unlimited freedom to do whatever weird sex stuff they like. Also, people should have the liberty to use mind-altering drugs. We should also have freedom of speech, but that ought to be limited by common sense. College campuses are a good example: they allow all sorts of progressive-minded speech and ban what they consider to be dangerous or hateful speech. That’s a perfectly fine standard, as long as we have the right people in charge making those decisions. That’s why it’s much more important than freedom to make sure we have the right people in government.
So what would be optimal in this country if we stopped the mindless liberty worship? I suggest slavery. Yes, I know it has a long awful history, but think about it. With slavery, everyone is guaranteed a job. Slaves get food and shelter. And we can make sure all needs are met by forcing people to take the jobs they are best suited for.
Slavery is true freedom, because it is freedom from want and worry. It may have been a horrible thing when racist southerners were doing it, but think of how great it could be if benevolent liberals looking out for the good of all were in charge. I would say it is, in fact, the ultimate progressive ideal.
But how are we going to sell slavery to people when they don’t even want a public option?