Quick Takes: Discrimination and Caring

Senator Tim Kaine (Communist-Va.) claims that President Trump’s moronic tweets urging four lightweight socialist activist congresswomen to go back where they came from “violated federal anti-discrimination law.” 

Maybe he’s right. If so, then the United States is already a full-out tyranny, and you can stop the electoral dog-and-pony show right now, and proceed straight to the secret police and gulags.

There should not be any “federal anti-discrimination law,” period. The fact that Republicans today, with fierce uniformity, like to hold up the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a badge of honor, since the GOP of the time supported that law’s passage, is a sign of how far removed the “two-party system” is from any attachment to the concepts of limited government, individual liberty, property rights, and freedom of expression and association, and how long that detachment has been the norm.

On the other hand, I would say, and only half-facetiously, that there is a strong case to be made that there ought to be a federal law against presidents being as opportunistically self-aggrandizing as Trump, senators being as opportunistically totalitarian as Kaine, and voters being as immature and morally dependent as anyone who would feel comfortable supporting either Trump or Kaine.

Rand Paul and Mike Lee — pretty much the only two GOP senators who continue to maintain any plausible pretense of being independent actors who give two seconds’ thought to their duty to legislate in conformity with the U.S. Constitution — have apparently temporarily held up the passage of legislation extending federal aid for 9/11 emergency workers and their families. Paul formally objected to the Democrats’ attempt to pass the bill by unanimous consent, on the grounds that the senate should at least discuss ways of cutting unnecessary spending in other areas before voting to extend this multi-billion dollar fund permanently. 

To Paul’s heartless Republican objection to unanimous consent passage, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Communist-N.Y.) rose to speak on behalf of that time-honored principle of representative government, caring.

“I am deeply disappointed that my colleague has just objected,” Gillibrand said. “Enough of the political games. Our 9/11 first responders and our entire nation are watching to see if this body actually cares. Do we care about the men and women who answer the call of duty?”

At times, Gillibrand’s voice cracked with emotion as she made a case for the measure’s quick passage.

“Thousands of those men and women have died,” she said. Others, she said, still have to “face the terrifying reality that they are going to die, because of what they did on 9/11 and the months thereafter.”

It may be worth reminding ourselves that “9/11” is shorthand for September 11th, 2001 — which is to say, almost exactly eighteen years ago. Of course “others face the terrifying reality that they are going to die” — but that this “terrifying reality” (why is it so “terrifying,” eighteen years later, by the way?) can be traced directly to “what they did on 9/11” (eighteen years ago) seems questionable on its face. A lot happens in a man’s life over eighteen years, apart from the sheer fact of aging by almost a quarter of the average human life span.

Furthermore, those who are still alive all these years later, but suffer lingering health conditions due to their work at Ground Zero, deserve a great deal of sympathy and gratitude. But they were doing their jobs, and doing them under the most extreme and unexpected of conditions. They have already received a considerable amount of federal compensation, presumably. Rand Paul is simply asking whether this case warrants the cavalier permanent extension of federal compensation, eighteen years after the fact, without at least making federal spending cuts to offset it.

And to this common sense consideration, Gillibrand’s typically Democratic Phony answer is “Our 9/11 first responders and our entire nation are watching to see if this body actually cares.” If the first responders are watching to see if the senate “cares,” then the biggest injury they suffered on 9/11 was a fatal wound to their dignity and independent adulthood. If the entire nation is watching to see if the senate “cares,” then Americans en masse are now just a bunch of squishy Oprah viewers, imagining that the purpose of government is to “care” about them — which in this case, as Gillibrand makes clear, means to take care of them. A population that watches the government to see whether their leaders are doing enough to take care of them, and whether they are, like Gillibrand herself, shedding enough caring tears for them, is a population ready for a yoke, and begging for a noose.

The precedent Paul’s objection seems intended to set is that when the federal government decides to “care” about something (i.e., to throw tax dollars at it), this caring should be balanced against a vague familiarity with the concept of the national debt. And that is the precedent to which Gillibrand is tearfully objecting. When unlimited paternalism is the goal, fiscal restraint is the enemy, as it suggests limits to government action, and limits imposed over the heads of the paternalists themselves. A progressive totalitarian government must never be put in the position of having to justify its actions to the public as though they and the public were equal partners in the deal. Rather, the progressives need only to use their unlimited power once in a while to prove to the little people that they “care” about them.

If there is one simple motto that captures the essence of the public’s healthy relationship to the government in a free republic, it might be this: “Stop taking care of us.”

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