Mindless and Emotional: An Exercise in Statist Thinking


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I often wonder what it would be like if I suddenly woke up one morning and started thinking and writing about issues from a statist point of view. To satisfy my curiosity, I sat down at the computer, did some research, and started smacking the keys. This is what I created:

For several years now there has been a dangerous trend in this country. Trusted, hard-working, and democratically-elected public servants and everyday citizens have increasingly adopted derisive tones when speaking of law enforcement, protecting national security, and making sure that the light of democracy and freedom'us--is not extinguished by Islamo-fascists abroad and their limp-wristed, yellow-belly, pinko supporters here at home. Thankfully, there are still iron-willed personalities among us to stem the tide of these cancerous individuals and their dangerous words and attitudes.

Admittedly, I have been one to constantly mock and criticize the fine men and women who do their best to protect me and my family from a host of evils, both the seemingly mundane and the potentially monstrous. I have taken for granted that whenever they apply the vast resources of the state and its monopoly of force against other persons, groups, or nations, it should not be for me to question why they do such things. After all, they have access to information I do not and they have been elected and/or appointed by my fellow citizens in the community. Thank God they have remained vigilant even as the likes of me are constantly cutting them down for just following orders and doing their jobs.

To illustrate my point, here in Arizona , Attorney General Terry Goddard is filing suit against Wal-Mart and AutoZone for repeatedly 'defrauding' customers. Over the last six years, the corporate giants have failed many inspections that check pricing accuracy by matching barcodes to the prices posted on the shelves. They have also incurred heavy fines. In the mind of Goddard, they have written the fines off as a 'cost of doing business' because neither retailer has done anything to correct their behavior. Since 'defraud' is a pretty powerful word, and I don't have access to all the information Goddard has, or know the components of the law, I guess that maybe I, we here in Arizona , should give Attorney General Goddard the benefit of the doubt and let him do what's best for us.

When this story was reported in a local Tucson newspaper, the reporters had the gall to point out to Goddard that over that same six-year period, Wal-Mart's customers had been undercharged for purchases far more than they were overcharged. Goddard, citing the need to enforce the law, responded, 'Consumer purchases are not games of chance. It is not a defense for a company to say we only defraud some of our customers some of the time.' Believe what you want about the market utility or social morality of large retailers providing consumers thousands of products at low prices, but hey, standing up for the consumer and defending the law. Now that's vigilance that can only benefit everyone.

Pat Buchanan has also demonstrated a flippant attitude towards how we all should approach the real dangers of terrorism, if it can be said that Pat Buchanan could be flippant about any subject. In a recent column, Buchanan points out that since 9/11, 85,000 Americans have been murdered, but not one of them has died at the hands of terrorists. What seems like a tribute to the vigilance of our leaders, Buchanan sours by saying, 'While we need to be vigilant, there is no need to frighten ourselves to death over terrorism. We are all going to die, but few of us by terrorist attack.'

No one has been killed by terrorists because our government is killing them in Iraq . If not for our government creating the conditions to attract terrorists to Iraq , surely they would be detonating IEDs in New York , Boston , Chicago , St. Louis , and scores of other cities and towns across the United States . I believe Buchanan knows this, but to suggest that we should, even for a minute, relax our posture toward terrorism, especially given the recent terrorist activity in Florida and New York , is irresponsible and might even embolden those who wish to destroy us. Once again, if not for the vigilance of our protectors in the public sector . . . .

Recent revelations about secret government programs to monitor phone calls and banking transactions have been met with the all too predictable reaction from those who wish to jeopardize our collective safety, security, and liberty. Such reactions only underscore the need of public servants at every level of government to remain ever-vigilant, even in the face of rampant apathy and defeatism, to protect our great nation. I have been converted. If I can see the light, there's hope for everyone. Now, for the sake of our children and especially for our place on the throne in the pantheon of great nations in history, reverse the trend and remain vigilant.

Wow! That was way too easy. Statist 'thinking' is anything but; it's mindless and emotional drivel.

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Harry Goslin's picture
Columns on STR: 40

Harry Goslin lives in eastern Arizona.