Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Enemy mine

Looking for podcasts to listen to while running and came across Free Thoughts, a program from libertarianism.org.  Some interesting thoughts which I will be exploring as I have a chance and the first was the idea that politics creates enemies.

Imagine, if you will, that you have a neighbor who has different tastes in music from you.  You like country, he likes classical.  You really don't like classical, and he really doesn't like country.  Not only can you be friends, but you can be close friends.  You can get together on weekends, have barbecues, do all the things that friends do.  You just won't go to concerts together.

Now imagine that the Congress is going to be debating a law that would mandate a particular kind of music for everyone to listen to.  Highly paid lobbyists are lining up to convince members of Congress that their clients music is the best for the country.  Classical music lobbyists point out the benefits to education and learning, country music lobbyists point out the patriotism of the country music scene and the potential for dance exercise.  Grassroots citizen groups spring up across the country and your neighbor joins one.  He puts up a yard sign announcing his support for the imposition of classical music on you.  He goes door to door convincing other neighbors that you shouldn't be allowed to listen to your music.

Are you still friends?  No, in fact you probably are starting to despise him.  You just want to be left alone to listen to your kind of music.  You aren't hurting anyone, you weren't trying to impose your music on anyone, you just wanted to listen to some Waylon and Willie.  You suggest to some of your friends that maybe this isn't something that Congress should be even debating but it gradually becomes more and more clear that they are going to do something regardless.  You join a grassroots group and start trying to convince the neighbors to support country music.  After all, if you don't join you will probably end up listening to classical, and you really don't like it.

OK, an extreme example, but think about the number of areas in which our federal government has involved themselves, often without a specific Constitutional mandate?  Don't you sometimes feel the need to join a group just to make sure that your preference doesn't get outlawed?  Does it bother you that your neighbors sometimes seem to be joining groups that want to outlaw stuff you enjoy doing?  People with whom you probably could have been at least friendly are now trying to ban your watercraft, ban your firearms, control how you raise your kids, tell you how much soda pop or salt you can eat.  They may not intend to be attacking you personally, but they are and maybe you feel the need to try to stop them.  From casual friendship to adversarial relationship.

One more aspect of our lives that an overreaching federal government has affected, intentionally or not.

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