One of the most idiotic narratives in modern American political discourse today is the notion that those on the Left (Democrats, the mainstream media, socialists, Occupiers, and even many statist, big-government Republicans) are “pro-freedom,” “support liberty,” or are “for the little guy” while those on the Right (conservatives, liberty lovers, libertarians, Tea Partiers, small government supporting Republicans) oppose liberty and want to oppress everyone who is not a “straight white Republican male.” Using the fact that the bulk of the American electorate could be understatedly described as “low information,” they relentlessly push this meme, trying to scare voters into supporting the leftist agenda. Typically, the building of this narrative involves a good bit of doublethink. Conservatives oppose “health care freedom” by opposing government control and wanting to let the free market actually operate in the health care field. By standing for the right of the individual to protect his or herself, liberty lovers are somehow “anti-freedom.” Typically, the Left uses its near-monopoly on media messaging to arbitrarily establish its position on an issue – whatever issue – as the “freedom” position, and then defines all opposition as “unfree.” Yet, we see that reality is exactly the opposite of this narrative. Those on the Left are the ones trying to steal the hard-won liberties of the American people. The leftists (I don’t call them “liberals” because that term simply does not accurately describe them) are the ones who are seeking to intrude themselves into every area of our lives, controlling what we do and say. Historically, this has been the case. Leftists have presided over every instance of the massive expansion of government in the United States – the New Deal and its attacks on economic liberty, the “War on Poverty” that destroyed the social fabric of the nation and opened the way for the massive government dependency we now see, even the “War on Terror” and its “security circus” accoutrements such as the “PATRIOT” Act and the TSA (make no mistake, George W. Bush’s response to 9-11, which was to federalize airport security and massively expand government intrusion into our lives, marks him as a leftist in his own right…being a Republican by party does not absolve him of his leftist tendencies).
In American political parlance, the terms “Left” and “Right” generally refer to the extent to which one desires or despises government intrusions into the private realm of our lives and business. Leftists generally stand for greater and greater intrusions, regulation, and control of the individual person and his or her family and property. Conversely, the Right generally stands for more and greater freedom in these areas. The Left wants the government to control our lives, while the Right wants the government to leave us alone. Every movement of the political Left worldwide has been accompanied by increased control of the individual by the state, often to extreme levels. The Soviet Union and other Communist states have invariably devolved into totalitarian tyrannies, no matter how much they proclaim that “the abolition of the state” is the end goal of Communism. Likewise, Nazi Germany and other fascist states sought to establish totalitarian control over their inhabitants (and make no mistake, anyone – anyone – who argues that fascism in general, and the Nazis in particular, were “right wing” is a moron of earthshaking proportions). Even in social democratic Europe today, nobody is really free – the average European only enjoys the particular privileges that his or her government and society grants at the moment. If you don’t think so, then try speaking publicly about “politically incorrect” topics like Muslim immigration, the evils of homosexuality, and so forth and see how quickly you become unemployable and are brought in for questioning by the police. In Britain today, you can’t even wear a cross around your neck without losing your job and becoming a political outcast.
A survey of how the Left and the Right deal with various issues ought to demonstrate what I’m talking about. In every case, it is the Left – not conservatives or liberty lovers – who are intruding into our personal and economic lives and increasing the reach of the state into areas where it is not constitutionally allowed.
Let’s look at regulation – the Left loves it, the Right hates it. The leftists are the ones regulating our lives and business, not the Right. The Left is taking away our freedom to even live how we want in our own homes, not the Right. Leftists are the ones who decree what kind of light bulbs you can buy and use, what kind of toilets you can have in your bathroom, and it is who want to destroy your ability to use your own property if an “endangered species” or a wetland are found on it. Those on the Left are the ones who push for laws that will prevent property owners from building or paving on their own lands due to “green space” concerns. Leftists are the ones passing laws that will prevent you from growing food in your own garden and selling or giving it away to your neighbors.
Leftists are the ones who passed the laws now persecuting Amish and other dairy farmers who sell raw milk on the local market.
What about your ability to travel freely? Leftists are the ones who are trying to mandate new fuel standards that will make future cars that you buy more expensive. They’re the ones who are systematically restricting the ability of oil companies to expand petroleum production in many areas, meaning that supply remains more restricted than it would be if we had a truly free market system in place, and therefore price remains higher (and make no mistake – how much you pay for gas is a freedom to travel issue, as much as it is one of economic utility). The leftists are the ones who’ve been talking about limiting the number of miles we can drive, or charging us per mile (so as to serve as an economic disincentive to driving too much), and forcing us all to have GPS devices on our cars to make sure they can record how much we’ve driven. Think about that for as minute. Leftist Democrats in several states actually want to tag people like they were penguins and track them everywhere they go.
Speaking of which, while hiding behind phony concerns about “climate change,” the Left has been systematically destroying energy production in this country, brazenly using the police powers of government to harass and shut down coal-burning power plants all across the country (ironically, one of the few campaign promises that Pres__ent Obama has actually kept). This not only intrudes on the right of the power companies to operate their businesses as they see fit, but also forces up the costs of everything else dependent on the energy they produce – from our utility bills for heating our homes to the price of anything produced in a factory that uses coal-produced power, further destroying the ability of regular Americans to participate in the economy as equal actors.
Ask yourself – which side of the aisle has always been responsible for restricting free speech? Which side has worked to impose ridiculously politically correct “speech codes” at universities, providing for students and professors who express the wrong opinions to be punished? Which side has long sought to impose the “Fairness Doctrine” on talk radio, even openly admitting that this law would be used to muzzle their ideological opponents? The Left, that’s who.
Then, of course, there’s what we can even put into our own bodies. For the Left, “my body, my choice” only goes as far as elective abortion, and no further. Indeed, leftists are the ones who have pushed laws at the local level all across the country to regulate whether your food can have certain kinds of fat in it, how much or any salt in it, how big your Big Gulp can be, and other onerous dietary regulations that reduce customer choice and satisfaction while impinging on the rights of restaurants to sell what they want and customers to buy what they want. Shouldn’t adults be able to decide for themselves whether we want to eat fatty foods with lots of salt or not? Can’t Americans make the choice whether or not to drink a 40 ounce mega-cola, without Mayor Bloomberg’s input? What about smoking? While the Left superficially pushes for relaxation of regulations on marijuana (though not really, most left-wing politicians are still as much on the prohibitionist bandwagon as are the more traditional big-government “conservatives”), they are the ones who have successfully hectored and persecuted smokers nationwide to the point where many (blue) localities don’t even allow smokers to smoke inside their own homes, much less anywhere else. Freedom of choice? Not on our watch, says the Left.
Ah, but that’s where another big piece of the leftist Obama agenda comes into play – ObamaCare. The problems with ObamaCare, from a liberty perspective, are legion. You have a law that mandates the purchase of a particular commodity, and punishes those who do not (the logical consistency of forcing people who already couldn’t afford health insurance to buy it, thus further impoverishing them, need not detain us for the moment). Further, the law will seek to ration health care, deciding what care is “appropriate” for you, based on cost vs. benefits analyses, by which “benefit to the government” is meant. Just as in the United Kingdom (which has had left-wing implemented national health care for decades), if you are one of the rich, you may still have private (but very expensive) health care available to you, but if you’re not rich, then prepare to be stuck with whatever the government decides you need, rather than you yourself making this decision with your doctor. And this is just the prelude – the Left would love for ObamaCare to be a springboard into what they’ve really wanted all along – single-payer health care where the government has total control, not just marginal.
It’s this type of control that drives the Left’s dietary domination of Americans. If the government is paying for your health care, then the government gets to tell you that you can’t do things like smoke or eat fatty foods that will increase your medical costs later on, making you a burden on already scarce resources. While we all can agree that it’s better to be healthy than not to be, ultimately, part of liberty is the right to make bad decisions for yourself, and then be responsible for those choices. In a liberty system, yes, people would be free to harm their health and then obtain the medical care, that they pay for, to fix the problems they cause. This is not a bad thing.
One issue where the Left has been especially active in the liberty-theft arena is that of guns. Despite the fact that gun control does not prevent crime, and in fact seems to make it worse, and despite the fact that gun control does not stop mass shootings, and despite the fact that everything we’ve heard about the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut with regard to “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines” has been wrong (Lanza did not use an AR-15 in the shooting, as was initially and erroneously reported), Democrats, and not a few left-leaning Republicans, in this country have been feverishly pushing for more and more extensive regulations on the right of Americans to own and use firearms. Ultimately, the Left knows - as its compatriots from the Soviet Union to China to Germany and beyond can attest – that gun control is about people control. An armed civilian population is one upon which the government cannot impose tyrannical and arbitrary controls. Arms are the palladium of liberty against tyranny. In short, guns enable the people to stop the government from overstepping its bounds too far. Is this some wacky, fringe idea? Not hardly – roughly two-thirds of Americans agree that our right to keep and bear arms is about defending against tyranny. That’s why the Left hates private firearms ownership and, like Jerrold Nadler and Dianne Feinstein, believes that the state should have a monopoly on the use of deadly force. Armed citizens, ultimately, could stop leftist designs dead in their tracks. We can’t have the serfs storming the castle, now can we?
Not only are leftist policies anti-freedom and undemocratic, but so are the ways in which they have been pushing their agenda. Despite talking about “consensus” and “soft power” and “transparency,” the Left has mostly used subterfuge and distraction to get its way. Obviously, we all know of many, many examples in which the Left has overturned popular laws, many established by referenda, using a single left-wing activist judge. Krytocracy isn’t the only thing in the leftist playbook, however. One common means of advancing the leftist agenda is to eliminate transparency, holding legislative sessions in secret or at times when they know most people will not be paying attention. This is how the Democrats dealt with the fiscal cliff – they waited until late on New Year’s Eve and then rammed through their pork-laden spending-heavy bill through, knowing that most people weren’t even aware Congress was still in session. They did this back in late 2010 when they passed the Food Safety Modernization Act – the act which includes provisions that can be used to prevent small-time growers from producing food, even in their own gardens – right before the Republicans took back control of the House in January 2011. And who can forget the strong-arming that went into the passage of ObamaCare – a 2,400+ page bill that none of the legislators bothered to even read?
Don't forget Pres__ent Obama's proclivity towards making end runs around Congress (you know, the group that is constitutionally allowed to craft legislation) by ruling from executive fiat. He's already threatened to impose gun control by diktat, and is now in the process of imposing measures to deal with climate change, since Congress and the American people can't be convinced to do so. Who needs that whole “separation of powers” thing, eh Barack?
“Now surely,” the rejoinder to all this may be, “conservatives are a bunch of freedom haters when it comes to the social issues, right?” So say the various memes in our political discourse that attempt to paint leftist positions on things like abortion or the gay agenda as “pro-freedom.” Once again, however, we see that this is not the case, and that leftist impulses are actually contrary to true liberty.
Take abortion – despite mindlessly repeating the “my body, my choice” mantra, we see that this liberality is never extended to fully one half of all people involved in abortions – the unborn children. Their bodies are involved, too, yet they never get a choice. Indeed, abortion involves the theft of the right to life of the child, just as surely as it involves force and murder on the part of the one performing the abortion. You simply cannot credibly and logically talk about “freedom” in this context when you are supporting the denial of the right to life to another innocent human being (which, unlike “privacy” or “choice,” is actually and specifically delineated as an inhering liberty in the Declaration of Independence, an even more ideologically foundational document to our liberty system than even the Constitution). Hence, leftist support for abortion is not liberty-oriented.
But what about the gay agenda, especially gay marriage? Surely it’s liberty friendly to extend the same right to marriage to gays as straights have, right? Well, this argument is actually disingenuous, for the simple fact that gays already have the exact same marital rights as straights do. Any gay man or lesbian is already free to marry the exact same set of people that any straight in the same position can. As such, gays already have equal marital rights. But, one might argue, this still doesn’t let them marry who they want to marry. Well, consider the fact that in many cases, straights can’t marry who they want, either, because that person is already married, for instance, or is not the same species as they are (believe it or not, there actually are perverts out there who argue that they ought to be allowed to marry their cat, dog, or horse). The answer to that argument is – so what? Gays have equal rights, that’s enough. Nobody is stopping them from engaging in consensual relationships with each other – they just can’t force the rest of society to use the power of the state to put its stamp of approval on it. They can't ask for special rights – which is what they're doing.
One further problem with the implementation of the gay agenda is that, in the process of obtaining their special rights, gays and gay-friendly politicians tend to trample on the actual rights of everyone else. Bradley Miller with the Witherspoon Institute has written about the results in Canada, ten years after that nation legalized same-sex “marriage.” Two major anti-liberty areas emerge. First, there is the fact that with the implementation of this integral part of the gay agenda, those who disagreed lost their freedom of speech and freedom of religion. As with many places in Europe, speaking against homosexuality or opposing the imposition of the gay agenda meant that the speaker or writer could be prosecuted and punished, being called to the mat before a “Human Rights Tribunal” to answer for the “crime” of speaking freely. Likewise, religious bodies lost the ability to act as they saw fit through their consciences on this issue, with churches being forced to perform same-sex “weddings” and being prosecuted for preaching against the sin of homosexuality. Second, gay marriage weakened and cheapened the culture of marriage in Canada for everyone, which ultimately works to increase the power of the state to “take care of” people who no longer bond in the security of marriage, just as the welfare state worked to do here in America. This increases the role and activity of government, which in turn takes freedom systematically from us all. Hence, imposing the gay agenda inherently works to take freedom from everyone else.
Of course, who can forget the ridiculous “War on Women” that the Democrats kept yapping about during the election. Supposedly, making people pay for their own contraception was “anti-freedom.” Yes, the Left was really arguing that not forcing some people to pay for a luxury item used by others was “tyranny.” You were a fascist if you expected people to pay for their own lifestyle choices. Ridiculous.
When we look at the evidences, it becomes pretty clear that the political Left is anti-freedom. History shows us that when given the opportunity, the Left has always availed itself of the ability to force others to live the way it wants them to, and to punish and even murder those who vocally and actively refuse. Here in America, the leftists are the ones who are responsible for making our daily lives more difficult, more expensive, and more unfree than they should be. They have wormed their way into every area of our lives, while conservatives, liberty lovers, libertarians, and others simply want us to be left alone, living our lives as we see fit and dealing with the consequences of our actions like adult human beings. For anyone to claim that Democrats and others on the Left are “pro-freedom” is a laughable claim, and one which should not go unchallenged. These people want to run our lives for us, and its time we start telling them “No more.”