Thursday, May 25, 2017

I'm in a Nanny State of Mind

The Deep Nanny State

(via Santa Barbara Independent)
"It takes a village to raise a child. The village is Washington. You are the child. There, I've spared you from reading the worst book to come out of the Clinton administration since -- let's be fair -- whatever the last one was.

Nearly everything about It Takes a Village is objectionable, from the title -- an ancient African proverb that seems to have its origins in the ancient African kingdom of Hallmarkcardia -- to the acknowledgments page, where Mrs. Clinton fails to acknowledge that some poor journalism professor named Barbara Feinman did a lot of the work. Mrs. Clinton thereby unwisely violates the first rule of literary collaboration: Blame the co-author. And let us avert our eyes from the Kim I1-Sung-type dust- jacket photograph showing Mrs. Clinton surrounded by joyous-youth-of-many- nations.

"Children," says Mrs. Clinton, "are like the tiny figures at the center of the nesting dolls for which Russian folk artists are famous. The children are cradled in the family, which is primarily responsible for their passage from infancy to adulthood. But around the family are the larger settings of paid informers, secret police, corrupt bureaucracy, and a prison gulag." I added the part in italics for comic relief, something It Takes a Village doesn't provide. Intentionally."

Mrs. Clinton chooses a thesis that can hardly be refuted, "Resolved: Kids -- Aren't They Great?" Then she patronizes her audience, talks down to them, lowers the level of discourse to where it may be understood by the average -- let's be frank -- Democrat. This is an interesting public-relations gambit, repositioning the Dragon Lady t o show how much she cares about all the little dragon eggs. But if the purpose of It Takes a Village is to get in good with the masses, then explain this sentence on page 182: "I had never before known people who lived in trailers."

Nor does Mrs. Clinton miss a chance to swipe at family values, often putting the phrase in quotation marks to signify ironic scorn. Clever device. "This is real 'family values' legislation," she says of the Family and Medical Leave Act, a law she calls "a major step toward a national commitment to allowing good workers to be good family members" -- something workers never were, of course, until the government made them so.

Poverty, injustice, the need to take a couple of days off work -- in the Mrs. Clinton world view there is no social problem that's not an occasion for increased political involvement in private life.
There is no form of social spending that Mrs. Clinton won't buy into (with your money). "I can't understand the political opposition to programs like " midnight' basketball," she says. And no doubt the Swiss and Japanese, who owe their low crime rates to keeping their kids awake till all hours shooting hoops, would agree.

Mrs. Clinton has no thought for the infinite growth of cost and dependency inherent in entitlement programs. She blithely speaks of "a single mother in Illinois who . . described herself as falling into the childcare nether-world because she makes too much to qualify for state programs but finds that the price of daycare "is well out of reach.'" Why should every taxpayer in the nation become Miss Illinois's husband when there is one particular taxpayer honestly obliged to do so?

And Mrs. Clinton is oblivious to the idea that the government programs she advocates may have caused the problems the government programs she advocates are supposed to solve. "Whatever the reasons for the apparent increase in physical and sexual abuse of children, it demands our intervention," she says. But what if the reason is our intervention?

Admittedly, the fascism in It Takes a Village is of a namby-pamby, eat- your-vegetables kind that doesn't so much glorify the state and nation as pester the dickens out of them. Ethnic groups do not suffer persecution except insofar as a positive self-image is required among women and minorities at all times. And there will be no uniforms other than comfortable, durable clothes on girls. And no concentration camps either, just lots and lots of day care."--P.J. O'Rourke, before the Sudden Onset Trump Derangement so tragically took him from us. Sad!  (btw, Hillary became even more Ceaușescued in the years since this was written. Thanks, Obama!)

"You cannot extend the mastery of government over the daily life of a people without somewhere making it master of people's souls and thoughts.… Every step in that direction poisons the very roots of liberalism. It poisons political equality, free speech, free press, and equality of opportunity. It is the road not to more liberty but to less liberty."--Herbert Hoover

"Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."--(Volume 2, Section 4: Chapter VI, What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear.) Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

"Central planning, judicial activism, and the nanny state all presume
vastly more knowledge than any elite have ever possessed."--Thomas Sowell

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