By Tony Farkas
Pardon my dour tone this week. I’m struggling with the fable of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and wondering if and when a swing in the pendulum is coming.
Lots of euphemisms there, I know. But I was a touch gobsmacked about something I heard on the TV show “On Patrol” the other day.
Seems that there was a fire alarm going off at a business in Florida, and no one could reach the owner. There was no fire, but officials wanted to check the building. So, the Police Department contacted the Fire Department, and got a key to the building.
Apparently, in Florida, it’s a law that businesses must keep a lockbox with access to a building, and that the Fire Department must have access to the lockbox.
This is not just a Florida thing; many cities in Texas have passed ordinances requiring the same thing.
That put me in mind of an incident in my past, one that is indicative of the same issue. I was driving home from my parents’ house in New Mexico to my home in Texas, and was pulled over by a DPS trooper.
I was not speeding, nor weaving, or had anything major wrong with my truck, so I was wondering why I was pulled over. I soon found out, and was equally gobsmacked: the trooper, nice as he was, issued me a warning because my license plate light was out.
Yes, you read that right. The light on my license plate.
This had to have been brought up by someone, which then made it to the ear of some politician, and now enshrined in Texas Traffic Laws is a bit saying that if someone can’t see my license plate because the light is out, I’m breaking the law.
The idea that politicians must react to perceived threats to the commonwealth with ridiculous laws is not a new one, but that reaction has increasingly encroached on our liberty, and in my more somber moments, I wonder why we still think we’re in the land of the free.
For me, some of the most insidious phrases ever uttered are, “If it saves just one life, isn’t it worth it?” or “Think of the children!” or even “We must keep this from becoming worse.” All of those have been uttered as reasons for politicians to chip away at freedom … for our own good.
On Sunday afternoon, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that will “kickstart the era of affordable clean energy in America” by dumping $300 billion into climate change and clean energy programs, of course saving us from our environment-damaging selves.
Additionally, the bill extends subsidies for Obamacare through 2024, saving us from our non-insurance-having, victims-of-evil-medical-and-insurance-companies selves.
Setting aside the increase in corporate taxes (hey, waddaya want for nothing?), the new tax on stock buybacks, and the as-yet-understood increase in IRS enforcement, please understand that this is being done four our own collective good.
My problem here is not that people (read: politicians) claim they want to help; that’s just the sheep’s clothing. The wolf underneath is that government on every level is putting itself in charge of every aspect of life in the United States, and aside from costing us dearly in the way of taxes, taxes, and taxes on taxes, it’s costing us freedom.