"The most common characteristic of all police states is intimidation by surveillance. Citizens know they are being watched and overheard. Their mail is being examined. Their homes can be invaded." ~ Vance Packard
I'm going to fill a dark awful basement with radioactive cockroaches. Yep. Big nasty ones like skateboards on legs, that go click-click-click when they walk. And maybe poisonous. I'm going to starve them for a week.
Then I'm going to catch all the coercive priss-spigots in the world, the ones that want to ban second-hand smoke and dwarf-tossing and beer. I'll smear the rascals with bacon fat, so the roaches won't know what they're eating, as otherwise they might not.
Then I'm going to toss all those greased busybodies into the basement. And whoop. And dance. Ha.
In the National Post of Canada,* I find that one Sandra Pupatello, a member of that afflicted nation's Parliament, has her knickers in a bunch over dwarf-tossing. Upset, she is. No end.
Now, dwarf-tossing is a sport, like baseball. The Aussies invented it. (I think.) A great big guy picks up the dwarf, or maybe a couple of great big guys, usually in an agreeably unruly bar full of second-hand smoke, and beer, where people say dirty words, and toss him as far as they can. Like the shot-put.
I'm puzzled. Why is this terrible? And why is it any business of Sandra's?
From the pupatellian whoop, and yellin,' you might believe what the dwarves aren't tellin': that they're being forced into indentured tossedhood--shanghaied, or drugged, or hit on their heads and dragged into dark alleys, thereafter to lead degraded lives of being tossed till closing, and then kept in wall lockers, and fed scraps.
No. It is voluntary. In fact Bradley, a Torontovian dwarf otherwise known as Tripod, said, "I'm doing this because I want to. I'm an adult and can make my own decisions."
Well, no, he can't. The dread lady is going to make them for him. It's because she's his mother. She's everybody's mother.
I want a DNA test.
You might also gain the impression that the dwarves, victims of course, were being hurled against broken rocks, or boards with nails in them, or perhaps into industrial grinders. Savagery. Sadism. Oppression (especially). Broken and bleeding little people.
Again, no. Cushions. It is a non-destructive sport. Silly, perhaps. Silly almost certainly. But not vicious.
I once knew a couple of dwarfs casually. One did some kind of library research in Washington, and the other didn't. Relying on an exhaustive statistical sampling of both of them, I have elaborated Fred's Law of Dwarves: They're like everybody else, only short. They can make their own decisions without help from some overwrought Carrie Nation with an Adolph wish.
Used to be, crusaders wanted to stop abuses, such as wretched treatment of migrant labor, or the sweating of children in shoe factories. It was a good idea. Mostly it worked. Then the reformers ran out of victims, and needed to find some more. So they started hunting for new and largely imaginary victims, like pigs snuffling for truffles.
Soon fat people were victims. Homosexuals were victims. Women who gave birth like a slot-machine jackpot were victims. The shiftless were victims. The unhappy and bored and rained-on were victims, and people with warts. Their rights had to be protected.
The reformers had discovered predatory moralism. It gave us Prohibition and organized crime. The focus shifted from helping the downtrodden to browbeating everyone else. Virtue is the instinctive weapon of the vaguely angry. They wield it like a cosh.
Do they ever. Sandra says, "We've worked diligently over generations to change attitudes towards people who might be different in some way."
The dripping sound you hear is Ms. Pupatello. She's leaking forty-weight meddlesome tediousness. "We"? Who is "we"? Who asked her to change attitudes? (Maybe in Canada they elect politicians to change attitudes.) What attitude precisely needs to be changed?
Mother Pupatello has found a new twist in the social rope: Coercive third-party civil rights. She wants to impose unwanted rights, and then enforce them. Dwarf-tossing, which is voluntary behavior between consenting adults, becomes a violation of rights, though no one involved thinks it is, and nobody asked Mommy Sandra in the first place. (Who, by the way, is in violation? The dwarf willingly engages in the tossing. He's violating his own civil rights. We should jail dwarves.)
The punitive imposition of rights not asked for grows common in North America. Note the banning of dodgeball in the public schools as violence, and the attempt to keep boys from roughhousing. Why? Kids want to play dodgeball. If they didn't, they wouldn't. We aren't talking compulsory dodgeball. And boys like to wrestle. It's why they do it. (Anybody thought of that?)
But teachers don't like to roughhouse. So, following the totalitarian instincts of prigs and prudes and the self-consciously inadequate everywhere, they make sappy passivity a human right. Then they inflict it on kids who would rather have scarlet fever.
It's rule by parsnips, I tell you, by smugly hostile hop-toads with damp fingers.
Smoking in bars works the same way. If you don't like smoke, tell the owner. Then go to another bar. If enough people want smokeless bars, somebody will start one, or lots of them. But don't tell me I'm a victim of second-hand smoke, when I didn't ask your opinion in the first place, and then protect me from something I don't mind.
(No, I don't smoke, never have, but I like smoky bars. People who smoke are more interesting than people who don't. And reformers would never come to a smoky bar because they'd be afraid they'd get cancer. I'd be afraid they wouldn't.)
But maybe there's hope. Says an AP story out of Tampa, a dwarf named Dave Flood is suing to have Florida's anti-tossing law overturned. He appears on a radio show as Dave the Dwarf, and opines as follows:
"They assume because you have some physical handicap, you can't make decisions for yourself'I don't have a mental handicap. I don't like the government telling me what I can and cannot do."
But the position of the reformers, though they would never admit it, is precisely that the very short are mental defectives. They can't manage their lives, so priss wads have to do it for them.
She needs a cat.
Now, if the tossed guys aren't offended (and if they were, they'd just quit), and the customers aren't offended, who or what is offended? Answer: Ms. Pupawhatsit's delicate sensibilities. Of which more and more of us are indeed the victims.
I'm changing my mind about the giant radioactive cockroaches. It's an animal-abuse issue. I mean, I'd hate being kept in a dark basement and having puritans dropped on me.
*National Post, June 13