On Liberty

More additions to the ongoing List of Horribles:

CBS News Confirms Reporter’s Computer Hacked

Feds Say: “Pilots Have No Rights”

$#!+ is getting real, people. And don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Judging by the deluge of new disclosures, it certainly feels like a dam is breaking. It should be clear by now that our government has been turned against us. The thugs within their ranks have become emboldened by the Leftists in charge.

The Left hates us and it’s time we faced up to that ugly notion. They hate us because we refuse to yield to their notions of what’s best for us. Given the opportunity, I have no doubt many of them would turn violent. Spend a few minutes trolling lefty blogs and Twitter feeds if you need convincing. Of course, a lot of it is bluster from impotent pencil-necks so I’m only worried about the ones who achieve power.

The funny thing is, thoughtful Liberals (not Leftists – there is a distinction), Libertarians, and Constitutional Conservatives have common cause here. Fortunately it appears that people are slowly coming around to that, which is the only way this can end well. A Venn Diagram of all three groups ought to intersect with “civil liberty” square in the middle.

The Democrats have been taken over by their most radical elements and are openly attempting to “fundamentally transform” our country. They have a very limited window of opportunity which is why they’ve become so brazen. Republicans, on the other hand, haven’t really had much in the way of principles since the Depression. They generally take Constitutional governance slightly more seriously than Democrats, but in the end they’re led by spineless opportunists who will twist their principles beyond recognition for the sake of appearing bipartisan. If you only go through life trying to please everybody, eventually all you’ll do is piss everybody off.

It pains me to acknowledge that Reagan was an aberration tolerated by the party establishment only because he knew how to win. He won because his guiding principles were crystal clear and he did what he set out to do. Sticking to the fundamentals has overwhelming appeal if the people have reason to trust you. Our best chance right now is still to take over the GOP and force out the establishment weenies. That may change after a couple more election cycles.

We all have something at stake here. If the state is allowed to continue abusing subgroups of citizens, they can and will do it to all citizens. Don’t delude yourselves with the notion that you have nothing to hide, because it’s already started: there are so many laws, and so many more regulations carrying the force of law, that if the Feds wanted to wreck your life they could find a reason.

We have to rein in this behemoth or it may be too late. What does the Constitution matter if a bunch of overzealous enforcers, crafty lawyers, and slimy politicians continue to find “legal” ways to skirt pretty much every God-given right we have?

Where does it end? I don’t know, but I can tell you where it begins: right here, where you sit. Your neighborhood, your town. Just attend a few city council meetings to see what we’re up against. Look at the kinds of people who enter politics at the local level, and it’ll be easier to understand why they’re so disconnected at the national level: they were to begin with. These people have their own agendas and got where they were by knowing how to manipulate people.

Which is why we have to be wary, even with good news. How many politicians rode the Tea Party wave into DC only to reveal they were taking advantage of popular sentiment? I’m convinced a large percentage of politicians are in fact sociopaths, which only makes our task harder. Defeating those who operate without empathy or conscience is tremendously difficult, but it can be done. Stand up for what’s right in every small thing, and the big things will follow in time.

Where Things Stand

Jonah Goldberg is right on target, as usual:

…a man who came into office hell-bent on restoring faith in government is on the verge of inspiring a libertarian revival.There have always been (at least) two Barack Obamas. There is the man who claims to be a nonideological problem-solver, keen on working with anybody to fix things. And there is “The One”: the partisan, left-leaning progressive redeemer.

The dilemma for Obama is that neither is panning out because both incarnations rely on trust. The president never had much trust among Republicans, and he lost what he had when he opted to steamroll the stimulus and, later, Obamacare, on a partisan basis.

Of course, that’s not how most Democrats have seen things. They’ve seen the last five years as a tale of Tea Party–fueled madness and racism. The conviction that conservatives are crazy, stupid, and/or bigoted in their opposition to Obama is what has allowed the two Obamas to exist side by side. Both iterations could blame the Republicans for any shortcomings or failures.

And then the floodgates opened. The IRS compromised the integrity of the domestic agency that is supposed to be the most immune to politics. Worse, the White House’s best defense was that it was simply asleep at the switch as the agency went rogue — in ways that just happened to align with the president’s oft-expressed ideological and political preferences.

This one’s hard to clip from because every paragraph is worth reading. So hop to it!


Bureaucrats Behaving Badly

Of course it’s more than just your appointed, unaccountable time-servers we’re talking about here. The fish rots from the head, as they say:

IRS senior managers like acting Commissioner Steven Miller insist that the illicit behavior was the work of a handful of rogue employees. The trouble is that even though we are starting to learn who those employees are and who supervised them, we still don’t know what orders they were acting on, why no one stopped them and why they thought it was appropriate to selectively harass private citizens on the basis of their using such dangerous labels as “Tea Party,” “liberty” and “patriot.”

These IRS employees believed that they had implicit consent to ideologically profile nonprofit advocacy groups. Where did that come from? Lois Lerner—the IRS official who headed the division overseeing tax-exempt groups and who is now on administrative leave—certainly didn’t elucidate matters when she exercised her right against self-incrimination rather than testify before Congress on May 22.

Emphasis mine. She pulled a neat trick by first asserting her innocence, as just about any lawyer will tell you pleading the 5th doesn’t work that way. You either shut up, or you don’t. It’ll be fun to watch what happens when they haul her back in front of that committee – assuming the Republicans have the stones to do so. They’ve been so cowed by years of hectoring from the Left that they’ve become incapable of standing up for the principles they espouse, much less for the Constitution itself. It’s telling that when men like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul make solid Constitutional arguments about the prescribed role of government, they’re painted as lunatics. Because raaacism!

Ace of Spades has a pretty good read on this, as usual:

With all of these scandals (and I do include the Secret Service and military scandals), one has to wonder how much of our Congressional and current Administration behavior is to blame. Why follow the rules, the law, when the Senate blows off completing a budget for years? A congressman tweets his weiner and now runs for Mayor. IRS agents and management flagrantly violate the law but get put on paid leave or allowed to retire with full benefits. Susan Rice lies to the country on national TV and gets promoted to be the President’s National Security Advisor. Bad behavior will continue when no punishments are handed out.

It’ll take a lot more than just punishment of some bad actors, even if they’re agency heads. This is the end product of a bloated system that was primed to erupt in our faces – all it needed was a crowd at the top that made the functionaries feel like they had free reign to finally act on their fascist impulses (which were projected onto conservatives instead). It’s past time to start simplifying the tax and regulatory regime, and defund a few agencies accordingly.

Maybe it was necessary for us to reach this state in order to piss off enough people to ensure something finally changes. Want to see real economic growth and a flood of new tax revenue? 17% flat tax on all income above, say, $45,000. No cut-outs, loopholes, or deductions except that first 45 grand. That protects lower- and middle-income families from getting hit (the former group pays none at all, the latter loses their mortage interest deduction but may actually gain in reduced taxable income). The 1040 would be reduced to the size of a postcard, and the potential for misbehavior would shrink accordingly.

Hey, a guy can dream.