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I want to explain an earlier post: on civil liberties, taxes, etc.

Posted by Chance on May 2, 2009

Concerning this post, I want to clarify myself.  I thought about editing it later, but I didn’t want to ruin the effect I was going for.

As I said earlier in the post, I don’t know exactly where I stand concerning the drug policy of the U.S., but as one reads further, it may seem like I stand firm with the “pot smokers.”  I actually do think legalizing pot may be a reasonable step, but that’s not the point I was making.

I know that some liberals favor a different approach to the Drug War.  So I used the analogy of people pushing for legalizing drugs to gain sympathy for the Tea Party movement.  I also saw a similarity in my own mind.  A commenter noted that the Tea Parties were not a noble cause, and I was pointing out in the referenced post that I previously felt the same way concerning those who want to legalize some or all drugs.  The idea was that a cause that may initially appear entirely selfish may actually have good foundations, both in practicality and in philosophy, particularly in limited government.

The idea was not so much that if you don’t believe in legalizing drugs, or even if you don’t believe in what the Tea Parties have to say, that you would favor us never breaking from British rule in the first place.  My argument was that there was some commonalities in people fighting for individual rights today with those in the past.  Also, during the American Revolution, the strong central government was seen as the enemy.  Today, at times, it is those who protest against strong powerful government that is seen as the enemy.  That was the point of this post.  I saw an inconsistency in some groups that thought it was noble and patriotic to question the government in some things, but not others.  Dan made a good point in that questioning the war could be (or at least appear to be) more noble than people wanting to pay less in taxes.

But I wasn’t limited the point of the aforementioned post to the war,  it was really about civil liberties.  We have people that raise a stink when the government wants to wiretap their phone calls or record what library books they check out or monitor transfers into their bank account.  And the crazy thing is, I see their point.  I would agree with them, at least in principle.  To be honest, I don’t know what all is in the Patriot Act, whether permanent or temporary, but I at least agree in principle that the President should protect our constitutional rights (even if I don’t always agree with what they are all the time) and they shouldn’t be thrown out the door to protect us.  Safety is important, but it is not the only thing.  The President swears to protect the Constitution in addition to being the commander-in-chief.

So, in the linked post (the second one), I was pointing out what I saw as an inconsistency.  Liberals, rightly so, see an importance in not making the nation a police state.  And I know that some conservatives gave them a hard time, although I think the degree of McCarthyism was exaggerated at times, but maybe I’m biased there.  Nevertheless, these people taking part in the Tea Parties – which from my understanding included some liberals – were given a hard time because they dared question the government.  Anyone who dared challenge the foreign OR domestic policies concerning the War on Terrorism are patriots, but people who dare challenge the taxing and spending policy, were, as a has-been celebrity noted, were a bunch of racist rednecks.

I suppose where I get my libertarian bent from is that I think the government should be questioned in all aspects, but it is not. People who participated in the original Boston Tea Party were celebrated as heroes.  The whole point of America forming was to rebel against a tyrannical government.  And who knows, maybe the American Revolution was romanticized somewhat.  Maybe it was, after all, just a bunch of white slave owners who didn’t want to pay taxes.  Nevertheless, the resultant United States was still based upon an ideal.  The people’s voice was important, but it was also based upon an ideal of a free people, of a government unlike the strong oppressive government of Britain at the time.

And I’m not saying that the current Tea Party protesters or the people pushing for drug legalization are as noble as the people who participated in the Revolution or helped found our country.  But I do think there are commonalities concerning the attitude and viewpoint toward government.  Suspicion toward the government was the norm at the onset of the American experiment, but it is now an attitude that is met with confusion and animosity, and it is this response that fascinates me so.  I think it is that people trust government as long as the “right people” are in charge.  Republicans had the “right people” in charge for the last 8 years, so they challenged those who challenged the government.  Now, the liberals have the “right people” in charge, so those who challenge the ideals and the people in power are seen as the enemy. The thing is, I think the people who formed America were smart enough to see that either there was no such thing as the “right people”, or at least, the “right people” would not always be in charge.

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