Dé Máirt, Deireadh Fómhair 05, 2010

Easy to Understand Insanity

The state of Missouri has a ballot initiative to regulate puppy mills, aimed to prevent such typical puppy mill luxuries as forced inbreeding and keeping females perpetually pregnant until they drop dead before age five. Naturally there is a cohort of tea-partiers in Missouri who; well, their language cannot be precisely translated to English, so there's really no way to know for sure, but they seem to think that the measure is really bad.

Well, according to the Alliance For Truth, the main force behind the anti-Prop B movement, there is something much more nefarious afoot (er, apaw) in the HSUS measure. The Alliance For Truth claims that the HSUS has a "radical agenda" and is "misleading the public with its intentions on Prop B. The society seeks only to raise the cost of breeding dogs, making it ever-more difficult for middle-class American families to be dog-owners."

Anita Andrews from Alliance For Truth told TPM that it's a "deceptive, lying bill" that is "trying to purposefully get rid of the breeders." The state of Missouri, she said, has been given a bad rap as "the puppy mill capitol" of the U.S. but "in truth we have the best ribbon breeders in the country." And, Andrews said, the state already has anti-cruelty laws on the books.

"They don't like animals," she said of the Humane Society of the United States.

Andrews also explained that Cass Sunstein, "one of the biggest animal rights activists," and President Obama's Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, is tied to the HSUS, and is helping them give Obama "a punch list" of the animals rights activists' agenda.

You see, there's a difference between animal rights activists and animal welfare activists. Unlike the HSUS, Sunstein, and other animal rights activists, animal welfare activists like the Alliance For Truth have "no intention of wiping every animal off this earth," Andrews said. Animal welfare activists believe in hunting and that people should take care of animals.

Rights activists, on the other hand, think "humans and animals are on the same level, ownership of an animal is slavery," and that "animals should have attorney representation" (presumably so every dog can have his day in court).

All this garble raises a somewhat important question; what, to the right-winger, is 'big government'?

In North Platte I knew a man who scoffed at any constitutional challenge a suspect made against an arrest or other police action. This man would always rail on and on against the rights and luxuries that criminals supposedly receive at the expense of victims. Then on the day this man got a ticket for parking the wrong way on a neighborhood street he responded by screaming profanities for twenty minutes, destroying a couple hundred dollars worth of his own property, and calling city hall over and over again, growing ever more enraged as whoever was answering his calls refused to stay on the line and let him abuse her. The tyranny of the twenty dollar ticket would not stand.

In the end it's very simple. The right-winger will support any law or regulation passed by legitimate White Male authority figures, so long as it is seen as telling the poor, the brown, the heathen, or the female what they can't do. He will support the harshest penalties for crimes associated with social outgroups; drug use, prostitution, petty theft, etc, for so long as he sees the law as a tool for keeping these people under heel where they belong. It is those laws seen as imposing on White, Male, Christian prerogative that bring out cries of Marxism. A two percent tax hike on the rich is far more tyrannical than restrictions on contraception, or minority religious rights, not because of the amount of liberty being restrained but whose liberty is being restrained.

It should be self-evident that it is the States security powers; police and military, are the best friends of any would-be dictator. (Which isn't to say that cops and soldiers are evil, it's just the Lockean compromise of accepting State authority in return for civilization.) Yet the right-winger is completely unbothered by the power of the Pentagon or the fact that the US has far more of its citizens locked up than any other democracy. What the right-winger fears and hates is 'bureaucracy'. He is enraged by the host of minor, practical (or perhaps not so much) impositions on his own affairs, the laundry list of rules and regulations that are inevitable in any complex society. He hates the small day-to-day laws that apply to all, not because they impose on his rights as a citizen, but because they remind him that he is only a citizen and not a feudal lord. It is intolerable that he should have to walk twenty feet out the door to smoke a cigarette. It is justice that someone else should sit in jail for smoking a joint.

Getting back then to the rant quoted in the TPM article; who is it that generally runs these puppy mills? White, rural, "Common Clay of the New West" types mostly, and I'd hazard to guess there is also a fair number of loudly self-professing Christians among them. And now there is a proposed law that seeks to tell these Real Americans what they can and can't do with their property; Real Americans are being told that they are entitled to something less than absolute life-or-death dominance of other creatures. Naturally this must be opposed, and to keep with the rarefied dignity of Real Americans this opposition must be presented as a cosmic battle against unfathomable evil.

We can laugh at the hysteria of it, as well we should, but we laugh only because we are elitist enough to think that making any damn sense is more important than being righteous.

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