February 14, 2012

Which Is What We Always Suspected Anyway II

Hatched by Dafydd

In our previous post on this topic, we noted the liberal contempt for decisions made by ordinary voters at the ballot box:

Democratic leaders say they will not allow a vote, arguing that a majority of the people should not be entrusted with deciding whether to protect a minority.

No, of course not; we should trust only Progressivist elitists to tell the rest of us how to vote.

Today we look at an even darker side of liberalism, the condescending rejection of decisions made by ordinary peasants in their private lives... including how they choose to raise their own children:

A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School [in or near Raeford, North Carolina] ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.

Perhaps the real problem was the "NO-BAMA" lunchbox itself... [Just a joke; for all I know, the toddler packed a brown bag that read "Don't blame me, I voted for Newt!"]

This incident goes far to answer, in the affirmative, two questions I have been asking for years:

  • To liberals -- Do you honestly believe not that "it takes a village" to raise a child, but that it actually takes a village government? That is, do you, Mr. and Ms. Progressivist, believe that if the State and the parent conflict about child rearing, the State should take precedence?

    Even for your own kids? If not, then what is the principled reason why for others -- but not for you and your'n?

  • To conservatives who are strict constructionists on the Constitution -- Would you actually argue that state, county, and local governments can enact literally any law they choose, so long as it does not conflict with the state or federal Constitution? For example, can a state government adopt mandatory nutritional requirements for adults as well as children?

    Or to be perfectly blunt about it, can a state require all residents to become vegetarians? Can it ban the sale, possession, and consumption of all animal products? If not, then what is the principled reason why it can't?

Because I must admit both suggestions stink of tyranny verging on totalitarianism; both, from Left and Right, seem to me (and all right-thinking people) to violate our most fundamental liberty and -- yes, I'll say the P-word -- privacy, where privacy is understood to mean "freedom from governmental intruding into our most intimate moments and that which makes us who we are."

Leftists always seem very comfortable with the idea that only experts can properly raise children. Parents are simply the vessels through which national mandates are executed; public officials stand permanently in loco parentis (in place of the parent), even when the parent wills otherwise, and even when the parent is physically present and taking care of the kid him- or herself.

(Not the liberal's own children, you understand; for their own kids, liberals prefer they be raised by an authority figure considerably closer to home than the government: The nanny!)

The syllogism is simple: On any important issue, goverment professionals, experts, and learned scholars know so much better than the mass of people making their own decisions based upon their own enlightened self-interest. No wonder the Left finds liberty and especially the free market incomprehensible: Capitalism is out of control! (Well, out of their control, at least.)

But I have also heard quite a few strict constructionists argue that the only rights the federal government must respect are those explicitly enumerated in the Constitution... and that even most of those are always in season to be picked off at close range by state, county, and local governments. Strict constructionists, for example, typically hotly deny that there is any such thing as an inviolate zone of privacy surrounding individuals and families, inside of which government must not intrude. There's no slightest aspect of daily life that cannot be held, controlled, prescribed, proscribed, or abolished, so long as the local politicos jump through the proper hoops, cross all the eyes and dot all the tees. That there's that "due process" that makes everything hunky and/or dory.

Conservatives agree that governments cannot manufacture a state religion, nor can they proscribe (or prescribe!) books, speeches, or letters. But many draw the line at actual speech -- the strictly construed word used in the amendment -- and deny that non-verbal forms of communication are protected.

Ergo, they proudly believe that governments, from the lowliest ward to the upper echelons of the United States Congress, can ban certain forms of music, or all music altogether; they can prohibit "barbaric" dances, such as the Lambada, Freak Dancing, or the Bunny Hop. The Secretary of Aesthetics can restrict all artworks to those made in accordance with the diktats of the Proletarian Cultural and Enlightenment Council of Progressivist Realism, ordering the entire content of the Smithsonian American Art Museum thrown onto the bonfire (shades of Don Quixote). With just compensation, of course, to the artists; mustn't run afoul of the Fifth!

Recipes are unprotected, of course; and so would be sartorial communication, unless the t-shirt sports actual words; all citizens could be restricted to bow ties, pantaloons, and Mao jackets, for all the judicial conservatives care.

On a more likely scenario -- that is, it actually happened -- they howl with outrage at, e.g., Lawrence v. Texas, a Supreme Court case that struck down all anti-sodomy laws (however defined) across the land; judicial conservatives recoil from any putative "privacy right" that Court invoked; the Right calls any form of privacy beyond what was written down 200 years ago a "made-up right" that had never existed until 1965 (Griswold v. Connecticut).

But think what we're talking about, what the strict constructionists would trample underfoot, if they only could: Those laws prescribed exactly what sexual acts consenting adults could legally engage in behind closed doors; and they gave the police authority to investigate such possible crimes by peeking through windows and interviewing residents as to the sexual practices of their friends.

And lest you think anti-sodomy laws were all right because "homosexuality is an abomination," understand this: Those same "anti-sodomy laws" that banned gay sex also typically banned husband and wife from engaging in oral sex, or anything other than the strict missionary position. And the original Court decision that first enunciated a "right to privacy," Griswold, made illegal the purchase or use of contraceptives even by a husband and wife.

Those state and local sex police weren't just going after "weirdos;" they aimed to stop everything that ran afoul of the parochial tastes of a few relatively small sects of the hyper-religious.

Is oral sex or mutual masturbation also an abomination? How about sex with a condom -- straight to Hell? Perhaps someone could cite me the biblical chapter and verse; I don't recall seeing it. Good Lord, is there no zone of protection around even the most intimate acts of individuals and families? Do judicial conservatives truly believe that the police may pry everywhere and into everything, so long as the legislature properly passed a law?

[No, the saga of Onan the Barbarian had nothing to do with masturbation, mutual or otherwise; a law passed according to Genesis chapter 38 would have to make coitus interruptus illegal. Anybody eager to push for that?]

I argue rather that government itself has only limited powers, not because of what the Constitutional Convention of 1787 wrote, but because our right to liberty, freedom, and yes, privacy is fundamental, granted by God or by the innate sovereignty of Man, choose your poison. Any government that violates that right is illegitimate, ripe for us, in Jefferson's words, "to alter or to abolish it." Even if such a terrible, tyrannical law was passed using the proper forms and after a vote of 50% + 1.

All right, back to the lesser but more inexplicable point. What on earth is wrong with a turkwich, fruit, chips, and juice? And where did this school lunch inspector earn his MD?

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs -- including in-home day care centers -- to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

So this all comes from the feds! The Orwellian named Division of Child Development and Early Education at HHS -- Kathleen Sibelius again, she who promulgated the order requiring all employers, regardless of religious belief, to offer free contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients to all employees -- has determined that, since all kids are identical -- cogs in a machine -- they all have identical nutritional needs. And los federales will jolly well ensure that children eat what Sibelius and Co-President Michelle "Evita" Obama tell them to eat, and without insolent suggestions from mere, untrained, inexpert parents.

But what if the child is like me, with a hyperefficient digestive system? Demanding she eat a full "serving," whatever that is, could be far too much food for her, leading to obesity. (If one branch of government ordered the kid to eat more than she needs, then surely the next branch of government would try to prosecute the parents for overfeeding their kids!)

Or what if she happened to be allergic to something served at the school cafeteria. Did the lunchbox inspector have the girl's medical records in hand when he issued his decree that she throw away her mother's carefully selected lunch and instead cast her prandial fate to the mighty wind of the school lunch "More at Four" program, under orders by the Department of Health and Human Services, by direction of the Marquis de Sibelius?

No, of course not. But why should he? He is an "expert," by virtue of being employed by the government (and paid by unwilling subjects).

For some unknown reason, every liberal is an expert; each seems to believe that he is the smartest guy in every room. I don't know how they stand each other.

(Do they have call and response sessions? Progressivist catechism class? Do they have regular head-cutting contests over who is the most divorced from reality? I can picture the ritual -- arrogant declamations at ten paces!)

...Which is what we always suspected anyway, right?

Just remember, as Brad Linaweaver, friend and worthy co-conspirator in Big Lizards, is wont to say, "It takes a village idiot." Alas, "village idiot" appears to be a popular stepping stone on the career path to true political power.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 14, 2012, at the time of 11:52 PM


The following hissed in response by: LarryD

But I have also heard quite a few strict constructionists argue that the only rights the federal government must respect are those explicitly enumerated in the Constitution...

Backwards, the only powers the federal government has are those explicitly assigned to it in the Constitution, and the more limited powers needed to carry out it assigned duties (and only to the extend needed thus) that are not explicitly assigned.

The above hissed in response by: LarryD [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2012 11:22 AM

The following hissed in response by: LarryD

Now, coming at from the other direction, the cultural regulations belong to the level of government closest to the people, i.e., the village or municipality. Where (not incidentally) the regulators are within throttling distance of the regulated. The bigger the municipality is, the weaker that authority becomes.

People have the right to the kind of society they want, including the Amish. This right isn't absolute, the Civil War settled that, but it does extend to having a community that neither you nor I would feel comfortable in. Tough. Tolerance of things we approve of, or like, doesn't rise to the level of virtue. The "right to be left alone" includes forming a community as strict, or lax, as you like, within very broad limits.

The above hissed in response by: LarryD [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2012 11:41 AM

The following hissed in response by: Beldar

It seems to me that I have enough fingers and mental processing power to do this sorting drill, but double-check me please: Meat (via turkey), check. Milk (via cheese), check. Grain (via bread), check. One fruit or vegetable (via banana), check. Second fruit or vegetable (via potatoes or corn in chips), check. BONUS: Apple juice!

So is their theory that a potato stops being a vegetable when it's sliced thin and fried or baked in a chip shape?

The above hissed in response by: Beldar [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2012 4:46 PM

The following hissed in response by: Baggi

There has to be some sort of a difference (in response to LarryD).

I live in Seattle Washington. I do not live in a set apart, formed community of Amish. Today, we are allowed to go to a fast food restaurant and eat the food that we please.

I would object if tomorrow this were not allowed. Not only would I object, I would be rather upset about it.

Certainly there is a difference between joining a community like the Amish, and moving to a city like Seattle?

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2012 5:51 PM

The following hissed in response by: mdgiles

I believe the author misses the point of the Ninth and Tenth Amendment. Basically because a specific right isn't written down doesn't mean we don't have it, and those rights not specifically granted to the Feds belong to the States and people. Of course - within limits - the state of California could ban the hamburger - if they could get the votes. The remaining population could then stand and watch the rush to the state line. The Constitution = within limits - allows for gross stupidity; but as long as there are no restrictions on movement, who cares. Which I believe is the strict constructionists view. If I don't like the way they live in Amish country or San Francisco, I can move somewhere more to my liking. Big country. One of the problems, is that the people in it, are bound an determined to make everyone subscribe to their particular mores. For some reason we can't leave the folks dwelling on the other side of the hill, alone.

The above hissed in response by: mdgiles [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 17, 2012 2:39 PM

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