Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Attack of the Mommy Monster

Lots of people today claim we are living in a Mommy State. We´re children to be scolded, smacked, ordered around. Wear your seatbelt, lose weight, be nice to everyone. It´s worse than annoying. It can drive you batty. It´s like being in kindergarten all your life, or being forced to sit at the little kid´s table during Thanksgiving when you´re 35 years old.

I am also reminded of Bizarro World, where the cars have square wheels. Things there do go, but they don´t go very well. They don´t go very far, either, before they break down. There´s a lesson in that.

There´s truth to the theory about Mommy. I don´t think it goes far enough, though. Mommy is now insane. These days we´re supposed to not think bad thoughts. Orwell called this "thought crime." God forbid one of those thoughts slips out. You could end up in the pillory.

Now, we´ve got kids expelled from school for bringing nail clippers or aspirin. Little boys can´t draw pictures of tanks or airplanes. Point a finger and say "bang" and you might be arrested. A five-year-old boy giving a five-year-old girl a kiss on the cheek will end up in therapy for sexual harassment.

The loons at the airports confiscate cigarette lighters and Medal of Honors (got points on it, you know). I am comforted by the fact terrorists won´t hijack the plane by lighting up a Bic and threatening to hurl a Medal of Honor like a shuriken.

I´ve got a theory about all of this. The State is a Monster. I´d be as happy as a turtle in a mudhole if the government would just protect life, liberty and property. It just won´t do that, though. Instead it just wants to keep growing and growing like the Blob. If the government would do its job you´d hardly even notice it was there.

When the government goes beyond those minimal functions then it turns into the State. All that hectoring and irritating it does – for our own good, of course – is bad enough. But somewhere along the line, it just goes plain nuts. It gets too big and then it gets wacky. It goes from government to the State to a Monster. It never seems to end. And just how big can it get before collapsing? If it does, that means taking us with it.

Monsters always attack the same thing. They attack people, and by extension, society. As the State grows and turns into a Monster, it´s always people who get hurt. They´re lucky if they just start acting like children. If they´re less lucky they start to go nuts. It´s something that Czeslaw Milosz noticed in his book, The Captive Mind: totalitarianism drives people crazy.

Some go crazy, some lie, others withdraw into themselves. What they really are they keep hidden, on the inside. They show a false face to everyone. They never know whom they can trust. It´s always what happens when people are twisted by the politically-correct lies in their culture, when they live in a world dominated by the force of the State, even if it masquerades as morality.

Freedom to slavery to going bonkers. How did all of this creep up on us? I think lots of people wanted it, without the foggiest idea of where it invariably leads. They started wanting security, to be taken care of by the Mommy State, to be protected from life, to have the world made of Nerf. It´s a delusion. They´ll find that out, in the long run.

It didn´t use to be like this, just a short while ago. I used to sit in the back of my father´s pick-up truck, and engage in dirt-clod fights with neighborhood kids. I haven´t seen either of them for years, and if I did, I bet the cops would stick their noses in it. I´m sure we wouldn´t be allowed to be 16 years old and shooting our .22 rifles down by the railroad track, either. Got to put a stop to us growing up to be mass murderers, I guess.

People can have freedom and the risk that goes with it. Myself, I find the risk fun. Perhaps others don´t.

Otherwise, people can have political force. There´s no security with that force, though. Just a Monster and slavery. And ultimately what ends up warped is people´s characters. Monsters will do that to you. I´ll take the freedom and whatever comes with it, good and bad.

We´re not going to have many jackboots in America. We´re going to have Mommy, meddling, suffocating, irritating, enraging, always petty, always there, everywhere.

1 comment:

Kent McManigal said...

Excellent post. You have a knack for cutting through the crap.