Candidates running with the backing of the Tea Party were very successful yesterday. It is likely that some of them will be found wanting by the general electorate in November, Christine O'Donnell and Carl Palladino are considered the longest of long shots, but the uprising of the peasants has been gratifying and illuminating.
Much has been written about the Democrat's over-reach since 2006, massively accelerating after November, 2008 (and I must admit to a fair amount of Schadenfreude [mostly silent to the great relief of Mrs. SW] hearing earnest Westchester liberals on Saturday evening complaining about how Obama's problem is that he has been too moderate) and I will not repeat some of the overarching philosophical underpinnings of the urge for a smaller, less controlling government. What I would like to do is point out some of the small intrusions by government that act as societally subconscious goads to rebellion, straws on the camel's back, perhaps.
HOW CAN YOU GET A NEW JERSEY TRANSIT WORKER FIRED? Charge that he burned a Koran. Hey, it’s not like an American flag — it’s serious.
Lesson to people who don’t want American flags burned — behead people or something. Then you get a hecklers’ veto! Nonviolent reasonable discourse is for losers.
That is only from this morning! Consider, too, that we have an idiot on the Supreme Court who apparently believes that it is Constitutionally protected speech to burn an American flag or a Christian bible but not to burn a Koran! Go to Don't Follow Leaders, Watch Your Parking Meters; isn't it the stuff of classical Greek theater to use such linguistic Jiu Jitsu?
Mike Bloomberg started out as an unconventional politician who did a decent job as Mayor of New York for two terms and then decided (realized?) he was indispensable. He arranged to have the City Council abrogate the term limit laws that had been instituted in a 1993 referendum and ran, and won, a third term as Mayor. (He only spent ~$100,000,000 doing so, a pittance for the purchase of such an august position.) Once in office he decided that among the other urgent business necessary for the Mayor of New York to address was the evil of trans-fatty acids in our food. Once having slain the trans-fat dragon, with much public fanfare, he set his sights on the poison of NaCl in his continuing efforts to control what the apparently helplessly incompetent population of New York ate and drank. In addition, as a firm believer in the chimera of Anthropogenic Global Warming (and in lieu of actually decreasing his own Carbon footprint, because after all, hypocrisy in our leaders is pretty much expected) he began a campaign to combat the dreaded Homo commutertatus. His Secretary for transportation has now introduced major changes in New York's vehicular arteries:
Allow me to elucidate. Once upon a time, cars were able to park along the curb, as in most municipalities. There were three spots set aside for cars with MD plates and the rest were meters for the general public. The City took away one traffic lane and two parking spots and now has cars oddly placed in the middle of the street. During periods of usual traffic, the loss of one lane increases transit time significantly. Traffic never moves fast in New York (though the recession has helpfully cut the number of cars driving in the City; perhaps the Democrats can use that as evidence for the silver lining of their economic policies?) Here is the conundrum for the Bloomberg administration, as it increasingly attempts to micromanage the behavior of New Yorkers: although their desire to save the planet and protect the health of New Yorkers is admirable, (it is for our own good, after all) they have neglected to factor in the unintended consequences of their policies. For example, of the number of people who travel up First Avenue everyday, less than 1% are riding bikes. If the bike lane causes increased congestion (which it does) then the net benefit on our carbon footprint will go up, rather than down. Furthermore, the loss of parking spaces on the street means people will have to use parking garages more often (which increases the city's coffers by virtue of their 18.5% tax on their ridiculously high fees) which increases the cost of doing business in New York. A not insignificant number of tax paying commuters will conclude, as all the costs of living and working in New York increase (again, the cost of food, clothing, and all other necessities goes up when the city makes it more costly to move around), that doing business in New York is just not worth the expense and the inconvenience. Thus, our Mayor's desire, admirable as it is, to control every aspect of life in the Big City, will lead to a deterioration of life in the Big City. Perhaps New York's Billionaires and Millionaires will not notice the deterioration of the quality of life and the ever upward movement of the cost of living in New York (maybe to the wealthy that is a feature, not a bug?) but those of us who have to work for a living are getting tired of the government taking more and more of our money to spend on policies that are annoying and inimical to our interests. When the Bloomberg administration has enough money to build bicycle lanes on First Avenue, it is clear that we long ago passed the point where politicians should be trusted with our money.
The Tax on tea that sparked the First Tea Party was not particularly egregious at the time but it represented the culmination of a pattern of government encroaching on the freedom of action of its subjects. Each time the government establishes more laws and regulations our Freedoms erode. This is not an argument for no laws and regulations but it has become clear to a great many Americans that we are approaching a point of no return; soft tyranny comes via bans on trans-fats and discrimination against motorists. Government rules and regulations never decrease in number and reach, they always ratchet up; the tea Party is a revolutionary way to get Democrats and Republicans alike to appreciate that this must stop.
With apologies to Pastor Martin Niemöller
First, they came for the cigarettes. But I was not a smoker, so I did not speak up.
Then they came for the trans-fats.
But I do not eat trans-fats, so I did not speak up.
Then they came for my parking spot.
But I could park in a garage, so I did not speak up.
And when they came for incandescent bulbs, it was too dark for anyone to protest and speak out.