I became a Libertarian at age five.
I was riding with my grandfather, when he was pulled over for speeding. There we were, in the front bench seat of that huge 1972 Ford LTD, green with even greener interior. The upholstery was that polyester whatever blend, that somehow made you stick and slide and the same time and smelled like synthetic aftershave when it got hot.
My grandfather (a humble minister) was very respectful to the young officer, as he explained how fast he’d been clocked at and why he was giving him a ticket.
I watched, with great attention, as my grandfather called him “sir” and smiled and did everything he was asked to do.
But then the officer gave a warning before we pulled away …
“Mr. Hamm you need to put your seatbelt on and belt up the little boy as well. In fact, you need to put him in the back seat …”
Before the officer could finish, my grandfather suddenly switched modes. In those days there were no state or federal seat belt laws or child car seat laws or any of that.
My grandfather said, “Son, why don’t you follow us home and tell us what to eat for dinner as well? Maybe come on in and pick out my clothes for the next couple of days? The wife’s been trying to figure out which new washer and dryer to buy. Why don’t you come decide that for us, too?”
The officer snickered, rolled his eyes and told us to take off. But I never forgot that exchange. It imprinted something very profound on me…that person in a uniform is still just a person. And their power should stop somewhere.
Ironically, five years later, the government actually WOULD tell my grandfather what to eat after his first open-heart surgery. The same government that had provided him carton after carton of free cigarettes, during a war they asked him to fight, was now telling him that all that smoking had probably contributed to his heart disease.
And they put him on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet; the government nutritional guidelines established after the Minnesota Coronary Experiment. This was the comprehensive, 5-year study that proved that dietary fat was causing heart disease.
But then, two years later, my grandfather had to have another open-heart surgery. Even after drinking all that skim milk and staying away from eggs, butter and cheese.
He was made to feel that he was somehow the culprit, and that he’d had some moral failing in not being able to sustain the low-fat lifestyle.
He died a few years later, still thinking that his health issues were probably his own fault in some way.
Meanwhile, in 2016, the Minnesota Coronary Experiment was basically debunked, after someone found a room full of lost documents that, when added to the rest of the findings, showed inconclusive findings when it comes to fats and their effects on heart disease.
Basically, the government was giving my grandfather the wrong advice on his diet. And hey, that type of thing happens all the time with diets and people in poor health. But here’s the thing about ANYTHING governmental …
They. Have. All. The. Power.
So, they can gaslight a country preacher into believing he just didn’t do it right or he failed in some way. All the while, THEY screwed up on a massive level. But nobody can do anything about it. Because THEY are the power.
People misinterpret Libertarian (or conservative) positions all the time. And it’s maddening.
During the big healthcare debate, 12 years ago, there was a line of thinking that said if you didn’t agree with government run healthcare, you were not in favor of people even getting healthcare. And you wanted to see people die or whatever.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Libertarian (or conservative) position was always (and still is) that yes, we definitely want everyone to have healthcare. But is the government the best apparatus for delivering it?
That is always the default position of the Libertarian mind. And that is the line that separates the schools of thought.
See, it’s not really about right versus left. It’s not really about “liberal” versus “conservative.” It’s about statist versus libertarians. Do you really want a final arbiter, who cannot be refuted or challenged, in control of a certain endeavor?
I promise you I’m more liberal than most “liberals” when it comes to social issues. I don’t believe in many laws at all.
The difference is I simply don’t believe the government should have as much power over you as maybe even you do. Because, whenever you make a new law, it must be enforced. And that requires people to be hired to enforce it. And those people have lives and families and homes. And all of those things have to be maintained…for years and years.
So, every new law and every new department is essentially the building of a new beast that must always be fed. That means for the beast to be fed, it will constantly have to find and prosecute laws that are being broken. That’s it’s job.
Trust me…if we hire 87,000 new I.R.S. agents, there will suddenly be tax fraud everywhere, where there was none before. Because a new beast has been created. And it must be fed. So, it will be…no matter what.
You can continue to be on the side of the beast, or you can constantly fight against building another one. Libertarians are the voices continually shouting, “should we even build this in the first place?”
This week’s public blog is a day late, because I have passed 8 kidney stones over the last three days. All of them were passed without pain medication, because I couldn’t get my prescription filled over a weekend, due to very strict narcotics laws…you know…for my own good.
Meanwhile, I can go on YouTube or Tik Tok and watch the president’s son purchase and smoke crack…a federally outlawed substance that has sent thousands of young black and brown men to prison for years.
Personally, I couldn’t care less if the president’s son smokes crack. I’m sorry for his addiction. Seems like a troubled dude. And I think his buying crack shouldn’t be a felony.
But it is.
And those in control of the beast seem to get to make judgment calls on who the beast protects and who it doesn’t. That’s the difference in getting pain relief from a kidney stone on a Saturday, and getting to hitch a ride to China on Air Force II.
If you have ever chanted “de-fund the police” then turned around and voted for someone who wants to enact a ton more laws, you are not putting it together.
It’s not the law enforcers who are the problem.It’s the law makers.
If you just celebrated a former president having his private residence raided, without the benefit of having his lawyer observe the execution of the warrant, be warned …
If it can happen to him, it can happen to you.
Keep building the beast, and it will eventually find its way to your door.
Funny enough, all those things my grandfather asked that young cop to help us do, in sarcasm, have actually been done.
Yes, the government has told us where a 5-year-old can sit, in a car. Yes, the government has told us what to eat.
And as I was purchasing my horrible “eco-friendly” piece of crap washing machine, a few years ago, I started laughing while loading it in the truck. I was loading the “water saver” machine, while getting completely soaked from a torrential rain.
And I thought about my grandfather and how absurd he would find most things, today.
And it renewed my skepticism toward the beast.
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