The news media these days provide a
"target-rich environment" for anyone hunting for
balderdash. I'm hard pressed to choose a winner from
the likes of CNN's explanation of its dishonest Baghdad
reporting, Maureen Dowd's vituperative anti-Bush
diatribes, and gems like France's recent pronouncements
about the management of postwar Iraq. I was almost
paralyzed with dizziness from so many choices, with my
deadline looming. But I was rescued by the latest
howler from E.J. Dionne in the Houston Chronicle:
"Iraq's Looters Answer the Anti-Tax Crowd".
How, you ask, does the predictable
eruption of looting in a freshly-conquered city refute the
ideas of anti-tax Republicans? Doesn't this happen
every time there's a disaster in a city? My friend,
like me, you are handicapped by not being E.J. Dionne;
this man's mind is so advanced that it has caught up to
the German Enigma machine of World War II fame. You
can input straight data, and it will produce for you a
totally scrambled printout.
Mr. Dionne looks on the looting mobs
in Baghdad and sees the fruit of the abolition of
government. He sees the chaos which inevitably
follows a loosening of the official grip on society.
There's a stern lesson here for those anti-tax fools:
"Without government, individuals have no way to vindicate
their rights to property, to basic personal liberty, to
life itself." "No government, no property. No
government, no security from looting, theft or violence.
No government, no national defense. No government,
no social stability. No government, no securities
law. No government, no food inspections, no consumer
and environmental protection, no safeguards for workplace
rights, no social insurance."
As George Will would say: Well.
Nobody's talking about
no government, my
friend. We are, however, talking about
too much government.
For without our ridiculously bloated government, there'd
be: no midnight basketball, no taxpayer-funded
sex-change operations, or heart transplants for imprisoned
murderers, no confiscation of private property in the name
of unsubstantiated pseudoscientific environmental claims,
no taxpayer-funded photographs of the Crucifix in a bucket
of urine, or the Virgin Mary with elephant dung, no
federal dollars providing comfy tenured lives for
academicians who teach lies to our children, and, well,
you get the picture. E.J. departed from the
Constitution right after mentioning national defense.
Yes, Mr. Dionne: that
But we needn't get involved in a
debate about how the Left believes in Government, not in
the Constitution. The great whopper is the one he
presents us right out of the gate: civil unrest in
Baghdad is what we would have here if it weren't for our
wonderful Federal Government. The Los Angeles riots
after the Rodney King
trial? Must have been the other Los Angeles.
Why, a chunk of my own beloved New Hampshire appears to
have escaped the United States entirely this weekend,
because there was a riot after the University of New
Hampshire lost a hockey game.
Tectonic plates moving, that's my guess. Or maybe
CENTCOM has been lobbing cruise missiles at UNH when we
This poor man can't seem to see that
the people of Iraq didn't have
a government before the Marines got there; they had a very
nasty man with one hand around their throats and the other
in their pockets. They weren't just being taxed,
they were being robbed and murdered. And starved.
Once America popped the lid off, they were going to foam
up no matter what. The wealth being stolen from them
wasn't going to day-care centers, it was going for bombs
and palaces. And those bombs and palaces were not
for their protection: they were for their
suppression. Saddam's Iraq was intrusive government
to the nth degree.
Our Sage wants us to learn the basic
lesson: "The alternative to tyranny is not the
abolition of government." But this is less than half
way to the truth. The alternative to tyranny is the
abolition of tyranny. The alternative to bloated,
wasteful, intrusive government is not the abolition of
government, it's the abolition of bloated, wasteful,
intrusive government. Whether it's corporate welfare
or government handouts to perverted "artists", it's way
out of bounds, far beyond the rightful functions of
government in a republic. True, without a government
restraining the behavior of criminals, we'd be unable to
enjoy the right to private property. But what
happens when the government
abrogates our right to private property? It's doing
it today, through mechanisms like environmental law, the
War on Drugs, and many others.
No, Mr. Dionne, if our government
shrinks we won't have rioting and looting. But maybe
if we get back to funding the things our Constitution
specifies, we'll have enough police, an infrastructure in
good repair, and strong enough military to defend both
coasts. We'd just have to get by without photographs
of men with bullwhips in their rectums. Me, I've
done it for years. High taxes and big government
protecting us from massive civil unrest? As the man
said, "That isn't right...... it isn't even