Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog


The Politics of Power: Are You a Citizen or a Subject?

The federal government has bought an interest in the FM twins, which means they hold a piece of the note on your house. The federal government has bought an interest in banks, which means they own a piece of your savings. The federal government has bought an interest in insurance firms, meaning they own a piece of your insurance.

The Democrat majority in Congress did this, aided by a sitting Republican President.

Our next President plans to nationalize health care, which means that the federal government will own a piece of your doctor, your hospital, and your insurance provider.

In just a few short years, the federal government will have a controlling interest in nearly every facet of your life. And you, you lazy sheep, will be grateful for it, because at last, your government will be taking care of you, and the only people who will pay the cost will be those damnable rich people who have too much money and are too greedy.

Life will be wonderful.

Until the federal government starts to use the power you gave them to control your life.

If a man owns your house, your bank account, your job, and your health care, he owns you. Period. Just ask a coal miner from West Virginia about the company store.
"You load 16 tons, and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
St. Peter don't call me cause I can't go.
I owe my soul to the company store."

What people tend to forget is that governments naturally accumulate power. It's not some evil drive for global domination in most cases, just a sincere belief that what they are doing is the right thing. Government exists to protect people from the actions of other people, and as long as it limits itself to that role, the people are citizens. But every government exceeds that role, usually at the request of some of the citizens, who feel that some other group needs to be protected from itself. We begin to pass laws to protect people from themselves, like mandatory helmets for motorcyclists, and seat belt laws for motorists. We pass helmet laws for bicyclists, because "It's for their own good." But as soon as a government starts to act to protect us from our own actions, acting in a paternalistic fashion, we stop being citizens and start becoming subjects. We grant the government the authority to force us to change our behavior.

You don't think the federal government would use its power to force you to change the way you live? Are you really that stupid?
  • The government wanted to encourage home ownership, so they added in a tax deduction for interest on a mortgage.
  • The government wants to encourage people to buy expensive cars that look environmentally friendly, so they give a tax credit for people to buy them.
  • The government wants to encourage people to go to college, so they allow a deduction for tuition expenses.
  • The government wants you to get involved in your community, so they want to establish a tax credit for community service.

"But these are all good things. We want them. So it's OK for the government to use the tax code to encourage them."

What happens when the things the government wants to encourage aren't so popular?

In 1974, Richard Nixon enforced a federal speed limit of 55mph in reaction to the oil embargo of 1973, enacted by OAPEC in retaliation for US support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. What makes this relevant is that the federal government didn't have the constitutional power to set a nationwide speed limit, so in order to get around that pesky piece of paper, the law that was passed simply said that any state which failed to comply with the federal guideline would lose its federal highway funds.

Over the protests of virtually everyone on the roads, double nickles became the law of the land.

In 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was introduced in the Senate by Frank Lautenburg. At first it was opposed by President Reagan as an infringement on state's rights, but constant lobbying by MADD made him change his mind. Again, the federal government didn't have the authority under the Constitution to force the states to raise their drinking ages, so again, it resorted to blackmail, threatening to reduce federal highway funds to states that did not comply.

Once again, the states fell in line and we are now in a situation where a man can fight and die for his country, but not buy a beer.

The point is clear. The federal government has used the power of the purse to force the states to comply with its dictates. Now, because of the hasty actions of our current Congress, the federal government has the power to force our individual compliance.

The question is not whether the government will use this power, but when and how.

When the government owns health care, how will they apportion their resources? There's an epidemic of obesity in the US right now, leading to a dramatic rise in adult onset diabetes. Wouldn't it be in the public interest to charge overweight people more for their treatment, in order to encourage them to lose weight and be in better health? 90% of lung cancer is directly related to smoking. Should the federal government force smokers to pay more for their health care? Should your government have the ability to penalize you for your lifestyle choices? If you are sexually active, you are at greater risk for a wide variety of diseases, not all of them STD's. Should your health care payments be linked to the number of sexual partners you've had? What if they aren't choices? Homosexuality carries a long list of health risks that results in increased health care costs. Should a gay man have to pay more for his health care?

When the government owns your house, will they control what you can do in it? We've already seen OSHA take a stab at creating regulations for home offices. Can you imagine the federal government establishing regulations on what kind of furniture you can have in each room? Establishing minimum viewing distances for televisions, minimum lighting standards, etc? I lived in Navy Housing for several years. The list of what I couldn't do was a lot longer than the list of what I could do. I hope you like cinder block walls painted institutional green.

It gets worse. The government has their hands on your bank now. Just yesterday, the federal government "urged" banks to start loaning out money. That's how we got into this mess in the first place! The federal government wanted to make cheap loans available to poor people so they could buy houses. The loans went bad and banks went belly up, so the government bought them. And now they're are repeating the cycle. What happens when the government owns the banks outright? I'll give you a hint. Have you ever seen the federal government not spend every dime it could get it's hands on? Remember the Social Security Trust? You know, the one that would be bankrupt except they're still running a Ponzi scheme with it?

Jake Butcher bounced a few banks here in Tennessee. The federal government is about to bounce all of them.

I know what some of you are thinking. "Real Americans will never stand for this! It would be intolerable for them to give up the rights, their freedoms, and their privacy! They'd fight back first!"

Have you looked at the polls lately? Real Americans, those that believe in individual responsibility, and in the Constitution, and in a limited government are in very short supply these days. Today's Americans want their government to take care of them, to meet their needs so they can be safe. I met a young woman at the Sarah Palin rally who was making $30,000 a year in her job and was complaining that she needed help from the government to get by. She was supporting Obama because he was promising cheap health care. She made $30k yearly and said she could not take care of herself on that amount of money.

She represents the New America, the one that is going to sweep Obama into office with a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. They demand to be taken care of. They look at the things I've written above, and they see no problem with it. They believe that it is the responsibility of the government to take care of them if they can't do it themselves for any reason. They believe it because that's what they've been taught to believe. Those of us who remember that freedom is the basis for all of our other rights are in a quickly vanishing minority.

We're also about to become outlaws.

Our next President has said that he wants to establish a domestic security force as capable, strong, and well funded as the military. In other words, he wants to establish a federal police force. Just who do you think will be the target of that police force?

Our next President has already shown how he handles those who question him too sharply. He has circumvented the law as needed to investigate and destroy the reputation of anyone who makes him look bad. He has used the threat of lawsuits and criminal prosecution to silence news outlets with the temerity to air ads that oppose him. He has announced that he will boycott media outlets if they don't treat him or his cohorts deferentially. And we know our media will go along with him to maintain access. Eason Jordan and CNN did it to stay close to Saddam Hussein. If they could suck up to a monster like that, how much easier will it be for them to kiss the butt of an American President?

Our next President wants to take further control of the media by enforcing rules on which medium can broadcast what topics. Misnamed the "Fairness Doctrine," he is aiming squarely at any media which is favorable to conservatives. That's talk radio, and that's the internet. We're going to lose the voice that exposed "RatherGate" among other journalistic misdeeds. Here's fairness in action. If you make up a campaign sign showing Sarah Palin being rear-ended by John McCain, it's free speech. If you hang Sarah Palin in effigy, it's free speech. If you hang Barack Obama in effigy, it's a federal investigation.

Our next President will make private gun ownership a thing of the past. He says he believes in the Second Amendment. That's nice. I'd much rather hear him say he respects it, but I know he doesn't. He's on record as wanting to ban the ownership of all semiautomatic weapons. A frontal assault will fail, but he'll move incrementally, restricting gun shop locations, and taxing ammo and gun sales until the average citizen will be unable to afford to exercise their rights.

First he'll take our voice, then he'll take our rights, and if we persist, well, there's always that federal police force. The sad thing is that the federal police force probably won't even be needed. Too many of our "fellow Americans" believe that all of the above is of the good. By the time any of them begin to wake up to what we are saying, it will be too late, and the trap will be shut.

I'm sure there are some of you who don't believe that any of this will happen, that I'm just a paranoid lunatic mad over losing an election. If that helps you sleep at night, go ahead and believe that. I couldn't care less. But for you, I'm going to make a prediction. If this prediction comes true, then maybe, just maybe, you might want to pay a bit closer attention to all the other things I've said.

I've looked through Obama's education plan, you know, the one where he wants to get kids into government schools as early as possible? He calls it voluntary universal pre-school, which sounds eerily similar to his universal voluntary community service program that will require all high school students to perform community service.

This word "voluntary" seems to have acquired a new definition under Obama. Orwell would be proud.

One thing not mentioned anywhere in Obama's education plan is home schooling. My prediction is simple:

Under an Obama administration, look for a coordinated attack on home schooling, similar to the one mounted in California last year. Obama wants all children in government schools, where the federal government can control exactly what they are taught, and even more importantly, how they are taught. Home schoolers are a threat to that, and we know how Obama deals with threats.

The question finally comes down to this. Are you willing to bear the risks entailed with being a free citizen, or would you rather have the false security that comes from being a subject? I know where I stand, and I know it's on the losing side.

But I'll never be convinced it's the wrong one.
Posted by Rich
Subjects, not Citizens • (17) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

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Citizen or subject? Hayek would say serf. And he would be right.
Posted by PJ  on  10/31  at  11:12 AM

Best essay I have read in ages. THANK YOU.
Posted by Steve H.  on  10/31  at  11:32 AM

and yet you won't do what is required to stop it.
Posted by cjm  on  10/31  at  12:07 PM

How do you know you where you stand? People can talk all the crap they want, but, until it actualy happens and you have to make that choice you don't know what you will do. Like combat you can talk sh*t 24 hours a day until you have to insert the magazine and pull the charging handle.
Posted by Richard F. Cook  on  10/31  at  12:13 PM

How do you know where you stand? People can talk all the crap they want, but, until it actualy happens and you have to make that choice you don't know what you will do. Like combat you can talk sh*t 24 hours a day until you have to insert the magazine and pull the charging handle.
Posted by Richard F. Cook  on  10/31  at  12:15 PM

Sorry for the double post.
Posted by Richard Cook  on  10/31  at  12:17 PM

Though I had been thinking about this a lot lately, yours is the first comparison I had seen online or in print of Obama and Orwell. It won't be the last. And it is correct of you to note the complicity of many (if not most) 'conservatives' (you invoked Bush, though of course you could have mentioned many others) in this tragic shift in ideology and beliefs.

Good essay.
Posted by Mister Snitch  on  10/31  at  12:21 PM

Do you really think seat belt laws are bad? We'd lose half our population overnight from hard headed people that think they are invincible.
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Posted by Josh P.  on  10/31  at  12:23 PM

Josh... while I tend to think that "hyperbole is the best thing ever!", yours is just moronic.

Here in Georgia, we still allow adults in pickups to ride without seat belts. Are the fatality rates for people in pickups higher in Georgia than in neighboring states? Yes but it's safe to say that we haven't been losing half of our truck-riding population nightly.

It's supposed to be about education - tell people why you think a decision is a wise one, give them all the facts that support your case, and then allow them to make their own choices. Some of the hard-headed ones will change their minds over time when they see evidence that contradicts their beliefs and the ones that don't are entitled to stick to their seeming ignorant decision.
Posted by Tom  on  10/31  at  12:54 PM


I fear for our nation and have been saying many of the same things, but without the eloquence.
Posted by socal sam  on  10/31  at  03:30 PM

The 55 mph speed limit and 21 uniform drinking age, as well as other forms of legislative extortion, would be unthinkable had the 17th Amendment never been enacted. The Senate was supposed to represent the State legislatures, and act as a counterbalance to the more populist House.

I cannot imagine a Senate candidate (either a sitting Senator, or for that matter a Congressman running for a Senate seat) voting to coerce the very legislators whose votes they seek.

The 16th didn't help either.
Posted by The Monster  on  10/31  at  07:11 PM

Outstanding. Should be required reading in all schools.
Posted by cargosquid  on  11/05  at  12:15 PM

Excellent writing and thought put into this.
Note: After this election, this country has become an Obamanation to our founding fathers and to our original constitution.NO Question about it.
Posted by Alaska Bill  on  11/06  at  12:56 AM

More people need to take personal responsibility for what they do and not depend on the government to hand 'it' out to them all the time. A knock on my door and "We're from the government and here to help!" would get 'them' a bloody nose from standing too snooping close as I slammed the door. 'They' won't be at my door to help .......... 'they'll' be there to TAKE!
Posted by AkKen  on  11/06  at  10:38 PM

I've been a subject for the past 8 years. Now I'm freer. You have had a hood over your heads.
Posted by The Fence  on  12/25  at  10:22 PM

Great Essay
Posted by Jackie  on  02/16  at  12:50 AM

Thanks for the excellent summary. Using content that appeals to both the right and left brain was an especially good point that isn’t addressed much. I’m a writer—content and editorial strategist for the Web—and will be sure to follow your blog and hunt you down on Twitter, too.
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Posted by How to lose weight  on  10/06  at  01:48 PM

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