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Liberty's Tipping Points
We should be exercising that authority to maintain these structures in the government:
When we lose our freedoms, it is because a combination of those traits, those functions, tilted away from what liberty requires. These slides down the hill into statism are not without their own principles of gravity, their own cause-effect mechanism.
If a doctor suspects or knows that some disease process is underway, he looks for the symptoms, not just to identify the particular disease, but to identify what stage the disease is in. And this involves understanding the mechanisms of a healthy system and the mechanisms at work in the disease process. It is in understanding the battle between those opposing forces, those opposing mechanisms, that will tell us where and how we are tipping out of a healthy state of liberty and into a diseased state of tyranny - and how far along we are.
What are the tipping point symptoms we should look for relative to the need for intellectual freedom? We know what the political signs of liberty look like. At the gross level it means no one is jailed or fined for having bad thoughts. But we are seeing disease symptoms cropping up. Hate crimes are actually a form of suppression of intellectual freedom. What a mugger or thug is thinking at the time of his act shouldn't be judged for its political correctness. We see this beginning of intrusion by the state where religious organizations are required to supply birth control if they are a health care provider. The discussion to outlaw the teaching creationism in the public schools. The verbal attacks on the right by members of the administration. The attempts to cut Fox news out of the news loop by the administration. The concept and application of Political Correctness. The use of heavy sarcasm in political arguments. These are symptoms pointing at a trend towards eliminating thought that isn't deemed correct. Right now, all you need is a little bit of a thick skin and a willingness to bark back and you are okay, but the cultural factionalism, and the decline political honesty, and the shift from what is right to which side wins means that each inch that the left can take that moves them away from adhering to the constitution will let them move closer to shutting down opposing thoughts. My point here is that this one is hard to see unless it is being watched for, and the tipping point can happen fast. When Bill Ayers was young he was recorded by an FBI agent as saying that once they had taken over the government as many as 50,000,000 Americans would need to be re-educated and that half of them might need to be killed. That was the kind of plan put in place by Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Po Pot. The statists have a clear understanding of the danger that intellectual freedom presents to them.
What are the tipping points for losing the freedom of Communication? These will be changes in laws regarding FCC licensing of airwaves, major political donors attempting to strong arm companies into a secret boycott of the media slanted in directions they oppose. Increased decline in journalistic standards on hard news media sources. Increased push by political powers to influence news cycles, de-facto censorship, colleges that restrict free-speech to "free speech zones", increased acceptance in the culture of peer-pressure driven political correctness. The camel's nose comes into the tent that first inch by finding a Trojan horse - like laws against cyber bullying of children. When the law is passed, it becomes easier to go the next step and outlaw cyber bullying of adults. Then shift the definition of cyber bullying so it includes something like opposition to ObamaCare as harmful to the national well being. (That's kind of a lame example, but you get the idea).
We see examples of violating the right to free assembly in the use of the tax code, and the IRS's attempt to tie up Tea Party organizations so they are less effective in getting donations... done just before the presidential elections.
We see the tipping point of voting integrity approaching in the harshly waged battle to stop voter identification. We see the far left working hard to create an environment where each person can vote a dozen times and shift the election in key states. We see this with the concerted effort that was engaged in by some of the far left to get their people elected as secretary of state in the different states - the person that certifies the results of elections within the state. That's how the election was tipped to let Senator Al Franken take his seat. Add the delay in seating the Senator who filled the vacancy from Massachusetts and the difference was Obamacare passed.
Voter education is something that make a significant shift each generation as the universities and colleges turn out the next set of voters, future politicians, journalists, commentators, writers, intellectuals. And they turn out the future professors. Right now, and for some time, we have been seeing each generation grow somewhat more statist (or at the least, more accepting of statism) than the generation before. And with each passing year the population shift is moving those more leftist oriented people into positions of more power. It is a slow-motion revolving door and those who were less accepting of statism are being turned out, retiring, and then dying. There are metrics that could be employed to measure different aspects of this. But even if we could average some intelligently acquired metrics on the rate of the shift of journalists to the left, and something similar for other key occupations, and for voters in general, we still don't know where it hits a point that a downhill slide goes on its own... or where it is unlikely to be reversible.
The freedom to think, speak, write, assemble and then vote... these are required for a peaceful political defense of our liberty and to maintain our freedom. Take away even one of those to a large degree and we can no longer, as a people, as a society protect our liberty without taking up arms and killing. That's a fact. Factors like the cultural factionalism and the political honesty are more like lubricants. If cultural factionalism is very low, and political honesty is very high, it greases the way to bring about reasonable change. If cultural factionalsim is very high and political honesty is very low, then it becomes an uphill battle to bring out reasonable change.
Another factor, which is critical, is hard to even name or describe. I'll call it our political expectations. How confident are you that a voice that speaks out on the public stage (say at a major political convention) and calls for very rational changes that would bring sanity back to our political system, and fix the problems in our government, would be enthusiastically accepted and put into place? How confident are you that someone who is very charsimatic and elequent speaking on behalf of socialist approaches to wealth distribution, expanded public education, and government run healt care would find at least some small movement in that direction? I don't know entirely what it is, but right now our culture seems to be primed to accept political moves to the left but not towards liberty. 80% of the voting public can be certain that we must stop spending far more money than we take in, but an attempt to circulate a citizen driven move to force a reasonable balanced budget amendment through the system would fail. Why? I don't know.
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