We’re Outlawing Everything
Over the past 30 or so year I have watched and warned in bemused horror, contempt and amazement as the number of laws has increased. At this point in our history 1,000+, 2,000+ page laws are passed with no one really reading any of it. Certainly not any citizen is, and apparently not any legislator. These laws outlaw stuff, either directly, or indirectly. The first is bad enough, the latter is so insidious that it seems almost impossible to explain. And these laws set up endless bureaucracies to pass new regulations, themselves laws, to monitor it all. This trend is anti-liberty to the core. It has not abated whether “liberals” or “conservatives,” Democrats or Republicans are in office. On the contrary, both “sides” – in our constant refrain of “bipartisanship” can there be any “sides”? – work hand-in-glove with each other to outlaw what they wish, while exempting themselves from any and all laws they pass for the rest of us.
It seems at times whenever I talk to any of my friends on the “Left” or the “Right” (and I have both,) that they think some law is needed to outlaw what they don’t like. So everyone is on the same page, or something. Buzz phrases are not my strong point. Alas for this mindset, it seems most people aren’t in the same book, which is far more the American way than being on the same page, I assure you. Still it seems as if the National Sport, America’s favorite pastime, is to outlaw their 3 favorite bugaboos, and so they join one party or the other. And what happens, say, when 535 legislators each outlaw 3 things on behalf of their party or their constituents? Why, pretty much everything becomes illegal. Seems someone wrote a book about it – “3 Felonies a Day.” I don’t recall who wrote it, and I haven’t read it; I could have written it myself, for the man’s premise is my own: It is now true that every American now commits 3 felonies a day, or a week at least. Yes, we are all criminals now.
And since, in the past 10 or 15 years or so, the 10% of the nation who are Marxists have seized the Democratic Party, and the 10% who are Fundamentalists have seized the Republican party, we now have two “competing” fringes. They are in lockstep, so it is hardly competition except for the spoils. Outlaw Everything! Take people’s money for the public good! That’s what both political parties say. Both use vague and contradictory old books written by bushy bearded old men from a continent faraway, which all (well, most, the rest of us escaped from some other bushy bearded old men,) Americans forefathers escaped from, but hey, let’s invite Europe in to make our laws, no? No.
Both parties have now said to hell with Liberty or Individuals, and to hell with the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. We need a law! That’s what both sides say. Because someone, somewhere is doing what these people don’t like. That Marx and Religion (especially the Catholics and Fundamentalists) have a lot in common is often not appreciated. They both demand power over everyone and everything and call anyone who disagrees with them and their definition of the Just Society heretics. Yes, well, the Declaration of Independence states: “Liberty for All, pursue happiness.” It does not say “One size fits all, follow orders.” Our two parties have forgotten this.
Just recently, at the Tucson Hostel, I had an interesting conversation with a young woman – freshly scrubbed, still in college, and out to change the world to something more conducive to her liking, I guess. She’s a wannabe community organizer, I suppose. Seems she wants to open Art Centers for Under Privileged Youth. Yes, well, all power to her. Alas, she seems to think that tax dollars in the form of grants is the way to fund her goals. Yes, I’m all for art for youth; give the kids some crayons. But go ask someone else for the money or use your own, but don’t take mine. I said I wanted a tree planting program. (I was told it’s cooler in the shade here in the desert, alas, nary a tree along a street, and tall trees do grow here, so put them in already.) When I told her that her use of my tax dollars, taken by force, to fund her art means I can’t plant trees she argued that art was important (poor kids, no art, aw.) “Yes,” I said, “so are trees. You use your money for art, and I’ll use mine for trees.”
The crowd around us grew, since it was an interesting discussion as I kept up supporting her goals, so long as it was with her money, though yea she didn’t quite see it that way. My money was very useful for trees, I thought, but she thought that getting herself a grant of my money was so much the better. So I borrowed a nearby youngster and said “Let this woman be the legislator” (Makes no difference if city, state or federal, the principle is the same.) “Now we both go to her with our great ideas to seek a law to get funding. Let the best idea win.” Only, both ideas are rather worthwhile, no? Yes, they are; they are both “best ideas.” But if we both go to the legislator as arbiter of whose money goes to whom then, of course, one wins and one loses. Had we kept our own money, we both win, though perhaps not with as many “points” aka dollars. But no, we need an arbiter, supposedly, because at least one person – the art maven – requires money unobtainable apparently by any other means than forced taxation. Of late the tree-huggers want their grants. And of late both get grants, and thus someone who wants playgrounds is out of luck. It’s endless. Perhaps the playground people also get money? Then the entrepreneur who wants to start a business and hire people is out of luck because he’s paying for art, trees and playgrounds which have nothing to do with his business.
Or perhaps she’s not happy with the amount of money she has or can get by asking and wants more. Off to the legislature she goes! Of course, whoever gives the biggest campaign donation wins, right? Yep. So in a sense, this outlaws one or the others dream – art over trees, or vice-versa. That’s the insidious part. At least it prevents one of us from achieving the goal we wish, or a third person’s dream is shattered and shuttered so that the third person funds both art and trees. It gets messy after awhile, all this taking of taxes and granting it to others. I’ll keep it simple: So one idea is favored in law, the other disfavored. If no law is passed, then we both achieve our dreams, even if a bit smaller. If the law is passed to fund one or the other, than again, one loses, one wins. One is “Legal” and the other becomes, perforce “Illegal.” If you are denied your money to spend as you wish, then spending it as you wish becomes, in a sense “illegal.” Try not to pay the taxes, eh?
Yes, insidiously, if one wins and one loses, the loser is essentially “outlawed.” No, not the actual act of say, planting trees, that’s still legal. But the use of my money to plant trees is outlawed, for my money is no longer mine but is taken away and given to another who gets the legislative ear. And if the use of my money is no longer legal, in the sense that is not mine to spend, then what I wish to spend it on becomes illegal, in a logical way, even if those words are not used. And that’s because if I try to prevent the art lover from taking it I wind up in jail. Nothing bespeaks of “illegal” more than a stint in jail, right? It becomes, in a sense, illegal for me to spend my money on trees, for it is no longer my money, but someone else’s.
Still, this sort of thing is now going on so incessantly, and is so convoluted, as each “side” tries to get federal and state money (aka, taxpayers’ money) to fund what they want, and to de-fund what they don’t like, that it seems all but impossible to sort it out. And so we are all becoming criminals as all these laws to fund someone’s favorite project makes us all tax criminals as we try to avoid taxes. And because the tax code is so Byzantine that even they would have said “you is crazy, America,” we are all criminals in even trying to adhere to the morass of provisions in 76,000 pages of tax code to the point of utter contradiction.
Meanwhile, both political parties, led by twiddledee and twiddledum, are claiming they have the best method of spending the taxpayers’ money. Neither party seems remotely interested in getting rid of the tax code. Neither party is remotely interesting in getting rid of the various and sundry programs and bureaus and agencies and divisions that dispense the largesse. No, they are arguing over whom will get the spoils, over whom shall decide what is best for everyone – which always means what is best for their followers and not the other guy’s. This is leading us to ruin, of course, for enough taxes can’t be extracted from us to give back to us, (and so much is lost in the bureaucracy in the capitals,) but each side is promising art and trees – and delivering them! Which is why we have the unsustainable deficit.
The “rich” are of course the current victims of this, supposedly, though the poor are too, but that’s not mentioned. The “rich” should pay their fair share, it is said, so it is taken from them. Now, as I wander around Tucson I see that nearly 1/3 of the commercial buildings are empty. Thus no jobs. And where did the money go that business folks used to put in stores? Why, to art and trees, in a simplistic answer. And so the poor get poorer for the lack of jobs, and thus the rich should be taxed more, I guess. And the nation sinks a bit lower. Indeed, it has been shown since the dawn of time that the more laws a nation has the more broke and poor it is, and the more broke and poor the people are. As the numbers of laws increase, America is following the same footpath to poverty that so many other nations have followed. The politicians of course stay rich, for they take the cream off the top in their guise and pretense as “helpers of the people.” So yes, America, keep passing thousands of pages of new laws, and watch as poverty and bankruptcy grow apace. So that we can take more money from the dwindling supply of rich folks to give to the poor, in a never ending cycle leading to the glories of Poland in 1956 = royalty without the ermine living high, and endless laws and poverty for everyone else.
It is of course easy to lambaste the “Left” and the Democrats for this charade, for they are the more obvious at it, but the “Right” and the Republicans are just as guilty of this game. Oh, they like to pretend they are not, yes, that is the rhetoric. But they are arguing over spoils, both intend to keep the system in place, for sure. Two examples of this have come to light lately.
One is that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette set up some class called “gay studies” or something. The name is irrelevant. The congressman of the area, a Mr. Landry, is beside himself that “tax dollars” are being used for this. First it shows that the man is clueless that gay Americans pay taxes – and when one is unknowing of where money comes from one should not be a congressman. Second is that he did not call for the end of federal funding for universities, but merely wished to reallocate the funds to what he felt was more important – a clear case of “art v. trees” of young lady discussion. He was arguing over spoils, not the system, that’s for sure. And so in his zeal to push his dreams, gay citizens are being screwed out of their money which then was not available to spend on what they wanted, however pointless the class might have been. Oh, take up basket weaving and candle making for all I care – it’s your time and money. But the congressman merely wanted to keep up the taxation, while spending it on his favorite things. That is hardly a “conservative” value, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a “big government knows best” position worthy of the most craven Marxist Democrat.
Another is Bill Kristol, of the Weekly Standard, lauding Chick-fil-a by complaining about some NEH or NEA funding of some nitwit artist’s “crucifix in urine” nonsense. Well, free speech says allow the art, if it can be called that. But Mr. Kristol was complaining about the grant recipient, not the grants themselves. To me, get rid of both the NEA and NEH – and thus no taxes should be given to either crucifix in church or anywhere else for that matter. Indeed, in discussing the two “NE..s” I point out that giving money to the opera is unfair to the poor. Why should some poor person in the inner city who probably has no clue about opera, and never went to one in her life, pay taxes to support some hifalutin’ artsy fartsy stuff just because the privileged rich don’t want to pay the $200 a ticket that might be required to fund Brunhilda’s last notes? If you want opera, pay for it. If you want to debase other people’s religions, pay for it yourself. Whatever it is you want, pay for it yourself, and stop all this grant stuff. And then we wouldn’t have worry over taxpayers’ dollars or whether the recipient thereof was to some politician’s liking.
Meanwhile, the Landry’s and Kristol’s of this nation, proclaiming to be “conservative” are all for government spending when it is for “trees” but not when it is for “art.” Conversely, the Democrats (and a certain Mr. Grivalva, here in Tucson, comes to mind, he in Congress for a decade or more, has the audacity to post signs “vote for me, truth to power,” when he himself is the power!) are for “art” but not for “trees.” And we the taxpayers? We wind up paying for both art and trees, while our dreams of a new couch are squashed under the tax burden to fund other people’s arts and trees. There’s a law! There’s more laws! And while my examples are few, and a blog post small, this idea can be expanded for every single government law and program now sloshing out of the stink-tub called Washington. And the Democrats and Republicans are in lockstep to keep themselves in power with no regard left for the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, or the taxpayer. Meanwhile, I wind up arguing with my “left” & “right” friends over which “side” is right. Well, let me tell you: neither of them is.
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