For Your Own Good — A Guest Post By Patrick Richardson
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience” — C.S. Lewis.
It’s perhaps hard to add anything to this, but I shall try. This seems to be the point we’re at these days, however.
“For our own good” we’ve been subjected to everything seatbelt laws to the banning of big gulps in New York City to Obamacare.
Individually these things may not add up to much. They seem so reasonable when they’re proposed.
Take seatbelt laws — please. They were passed in the 1970s and early 80s mostly. It seemed so reasonable. Seatbelts save lives. That’s indisputable. And people who are not wearing them tend to get injured even if they’re not killed outright. There’s always some social cost to those injuries, and besides we should all wear them, right?
So the feds passed a law and said any state which doesn’t require them will lose their highway funding.
So all the states passed them and we’re all safer, at least in theory. I’m not convinced highway fatalities dropped all that much because of seatbelt laws but I will agree that every cop I’ve ever talked to says he’s never unbelted a dead man.
The problem here, is we’ve given up a little freedom. We do it again and again with all these regulations and laws passed “for our own good.”
They always seem reasonable. They always seem to make sense.
The proponents talk to us softly, softly, so as not to disturb anyone. They use phrases like “what about the children?” Which are calculated to keep dissent to a minimum. Who wants to be against the children?
And so slowly, slowly, we’re hemmed in. We’re wrapped in regulations and rules. Laws and ordinances. All “for our own good.” As the international community of the oh so caring and oh so sensitive create a world none of us recognize any more.
A world in which the language has been changed to avoid “offending” any of a number of easily and perpetually offended groups. Where personal freedom has been erased in the name of “social responsibility.”
A world in which all risk has been eliminated — at least in the minds of the caring and sensitive — and with it all personal responsibility or freedom.
For this is the end result of this sort of tyranny — a grey world in which it is impossible to get ahead. In which your every move is regulated and watched.
A world in which the state is mother, the state is father, all hail the state.
It’s already happening folks. From the school lunch regulations handed down by the federal government to the thousands of pages of Obamacare with its Byzantine regulations no one can possibly follow.
Is it deliberate?
Yes. At least on the part of certain elements on both right and left. The people who propose these regulations know perfectly well what they’re doing — they’re securing their own power.
The useful idiots who continually promote this stuff? Not so much. They are mostly true believers who think they’re doing the right thing.
So too the odious little twits, they of the Transnational Cis-Sisterhood of the Glittery Hoo Haa, who decided Jonathan Ross should not present the Hugo awards because, he’s offensive, ageist, sizeist, speciesist and Just Not Our Kind. Or something.
Look, from what I’ve read he’s a bit on the crass side. However.
First, he’s a comic. They get paid to be rude. It’s in the job description.,
Second, he is well known in the UK, friends with one of the top writers in the genre, Neil Gaiman. WORKS in the genre, having written comics. His WIFE is a former Hugo Award winner who wrote the screenplay for Stardust and X-Men: First Class.
He Gets. It.
But why the hell should we let that stand in the way of a good outrages and HooHaa Glitter Explosion?
Look, Ross could have brought exposure to the genre like it hasn’t seen since the Golden Age. That exposure would likely have meant the Hugo would actually MEAN something like it hasn’t in decades. Instead a few people who are members of the International Coalition of the Perpetually Butthurt threw a collective hissy fit — not over anything he’s actually said, but over what he MIGHT have said. I mean WTF? Are we living in a freaking Phil Dick story?
It’s time those of us with a brain — and a sense of humor — told these idiots to STFU.
First, because they’re part of the problem, the self-inflicted wound that’s killing SF. Our demo is trending older and older, and these silly twits are doing everything they can to drive away younger readers.
Second because this kind of exclusionary crap is the same sort of stuff that was done to most of US when we were younger.
We’ve said for years we’re better than the Mundanes.
It’s time we bloody well acted like it.