By Mike Cronin
I left off last week by asking, “…how can we overcome the pain of the past without inflicting all new pains now and in the future?” In my world view, the answer lies in the opposite direction from what most politicians, pontificators, and pundits would have us follow. The answer lies in treating human beings as individuals first and foremost, not as mere units of whatever contrived victim or oppressor collectives the “divide and conquer” crowd has tried to bin us into. In other words, quite often the pathological power seekers in this world seek to divide us in the name of diversity, while the way to a just, peaceful, and united society is by recognizing and protecting individual rights and liberty.
That means tolerating all kinds of behavior and relationships one might find personally distasteful – so long as such behavior violates no one else’s rights. In my view, there simply should be no government purview to ban any intoxicants a competent adult might chooses to use – but neither should it allow intoxication to mitigate any criminal or negligent act taken while intoxicated. It also means the government should have no interest in regulating consensual activities between competent adults. That means there should be no laws against – nor any kind of tax breaks for – any kind of consensual domestic relationships. The only role government should play is in the realm of contract enforcement: Those who choose to register their relationship and codify any such agreements in writing may turn to the government for dispute resolution if necessary.
Of course, that would also mean the tax code would have to be reformed. As well it should be. There is only one reason for the government to levy taxes: to pay for the legitimate, Constitutional functions of government. Likewise, there is only one morally acceptable way to apportion taxes: According to how much government one “consumes,” not according to how much income one earns. Of course, collecting taxes via income confiscation is right out. A consumption tax, such as The Fair Tax, is the way to go in my book.
Speaking of books, when did the United States of America become a democracy? According to more than one of the social studies text books my kids have used over the years, the US is just that: a democracy. That can be taken in two related ways. The first is simply common usage. At some point in the past, the term “democracy” was corrupted from its original meaning to accommodate nearly any government that has adopted some form of constitution, has separation of powers, leaders chosen by elections, and has a more-or-less open market. The other way to take it is that some of the same corrupt people who want to chivy us into collectives are in charge of the education-industrial complex. They want to smuggle into our heads the idea that our government operates according to the concept of majority rule (i.e. pure democracy) vs. the rule of law (i.e. as a republic) – with the ultimate goal being to amass enough of a collectivized majority to gain control of all three branches of government at the same time, undo the Constitution, and turn the US into a Venezuela – all the while believing they are making it into a Sweden (or at least, what they imagine Sweden to be like).
Indeed, one such lament we are always hearing from such quarters is that our “public” school system is failing, always accompanied by the clamor for more and more money to fix it. What if our government schools are not failing? What if they are doing exactly what they are designed to do? Given the model our school system is based on (Prussia’s) and the sentiments expressed by many of its promoters and pioneers, (e.g. “The role of the schoolmaster is to collect little plastic lumps of human dough from private households and shape them on the social kneading board.” Edward Ross, Sociologist, and “We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” –Woodrow Wilson) a strong case can be made that our school system is just fine: It is not designed to produce critical thinkers; it is designed to produce compliant mass consumers, and it does. When the most pious prophets of the public school systems tell you the system is failing, they mean that it hasn’t yet succeeded in removing all independent thought from the labor and middle-management classes quite yet!
Now don’t go thinking that because I’m critical of government schools that I must be a snob for a snob for parochial schools. Faith-based private schools, at least of the Catholic variety (of which I have some passing familiarity) may have a better record of producing literate, college-bound graduates than government schools, but they are very comfortable following the Prussian model as well, in some ways to an even greater degree than government schools (case in point: Uniforms and corporal punishment). It just would not do to give your flock too great a taste of independent thinking, lest they come to question their faith, and ultimately the Church!