Throw Down

It’s easy to get downhearted about culture, the economy, and the fact that I am too old to be the target of a Cougar’s obsession. Rejoice, though. People are pushing back. Well, not against the last one maybe, but you get the idea.

First, let’s give a rousing cheer to Catholics. Dozens of institutions have filed suit against the US government for requiring that they offer health insurance for their employees that includes provisions that violate their consciences. I do not defend the Catholics or any other religious group for their views as such, but I most adamantly defend their right to refuse to support that which they find an abomination.

The contraception case is noteworthy mostly because of the Catholic Church’s mistaken assumption that government could be an ally in their largely liberal agenda. “In for a penny; in for a pound” is the phrase that comes to mind. Governmental involvement is fine with liberals right up to the point that it collides with their own liberty. Now let’s see if they can learn that it applies to the liberty of others as well. For now, we’ll assume the best.

And how about those Wisconsin voters? You know, the ones who finally figured out that public employee pensions may be just a tad out of line with economic reality. Once again, let me clarify. I believe that anyone to whom the state has promised something deserves it. Unfortunately, in this case, they can’t have it. Governor Scott Walker, who is only the third governor in the US ever to face recall, has drawn the ire (evidenced by the NY Times dour tone in the linked article above) of liberals everywhere. Even Bill Clinton is set to make an appearance in support of Walker’s challenger Tom Barrett.

The lesson from Wisconsin is not whether the state economy has prospered under Walker, though there are signs that it has. The real issue is whether any governor can take on public-sector unions that negotiate with politicians who pay from someone else’s pocket. Walker is leading in the polls as of today, and both sides know that this is a watershed issue. If he wins, there may be hope that other governors will gain courage. If not, the unions may just be the millstone dragging us under as we drown in debt.

Now for Greek taxpayers. No, I am not kidding. Never having been to Greece, I can only share what I read in the papers. It amounts to something like this: Lots of Greeks avoid paying taxes because they can, especially when they own small businesses or are otherwise self-employed. Now, for the record let me say that tax evasion is naughty. I recommend strongly against it. Got that? Good. Let’s go on.

At some point, taxpayers in any jurisdiction will refuse to pay. That point will come when their own economic survival is jeopardized by taxes, when it becomes clear that government has become an illegitimate representative of its citizens, or when they decide they have a right first and foremost to the fruits of their labor and not to the collective. One gets the impression that the Greek tax-man is more embarrassed than anything else. Now that the avoiders have been called out, the government has to explain why raping the small businessperson to feather the beds of politicians is a good thing. Good luck with that one.

Ron Paul followers are far and away the most admirable political folk since the Founders. They have gone from being considered “strange” to “having some good points” to “whoa, how could I have failed to see this?” No need for a link here. You can find them anywhere except where the political establishment (both sides) resides.

How are they pushing back? By getting to the root of the problem. Their response to political issues is first to ask whether the program in question should even be addressed by government. Given that the answer 99% of the time is no, RP’s Army is right a vast majority of the time. Hats off to libertarians who finally have gotten the public to ask why.

I have nothing but respect for police who risk their lives to to protect us from true criminals. Unfortunately, that does not include all of them. Some are convinced that what they do is above scrutiny and with the help of state laws, seek to avoid being taped in public doing their jobs.

The public has pushed back through court cases and appears to be winning. My own current home state–Illinois–has been a poster child for such abuse of police powers. Thanks to journalists and regular citizens who find such laws dangerous and more than a little goofy.

Pushing back is the right thing to do when government oversteps its bounds. Anyone who tells you otherwise is self-respect-impaired or on the take. In a time when good news is rare, let us take a moment to remember that many people are pushing back in the right way–through argumentation, peaceful action, and deliciously witty satire. Tyrants are weak-kneed playground bullies. They cannot stand against a populace that throws down instead of bowing down.

So throw down.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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1 Response to Throw Down

  1. Dick Richards says:

    Rise up!


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