Kos had a wonderful observation on what the wingnuts really mean when they say they want freedom from Big Gummint, but I wanted to add a couple of observations.
As the Kos gang noted, the Republicans and teabaggers hate hate hate the gummint in Washington. The wingnuts want to take us back a century, when there was no government protecting us from dirty sooty air, from contaminated water, from dangerous quack medicines, tainted food, asbestos, mercury, lead, unsafe products, epidemics, crooked bankers wiping out our savings, company stores enslaving us; no government aid after hurricanes, floods, and snowstorms which killed hundreds. An era when we began working at age 10 for 12 hour days with no minimum wage; day after day men, women and children were killed or permanently maimed in accidents in unsafe workplaces, with no compensation; no health care, no pension, no nothing. The wingnuts want to take us back to the day when even wealthy white men died younger: then add in the working Americans, women enslaved and denied reproductive rights, Native Americans locked in their concentration camps with their two-bit whiskey, Mexicans treated like criminals no matter where they come from or where they go, old people left to beg or starve, and blacks with no schools or voting rights or protection from beatings and murder.
Three hundred years ago, Thomas Hobbes pointed out that such a life, without government, would be nasty, brutish and – the key word -- short. The things that conservatives and libertarians say they want to do, will cut your lifespan in half, from around 80 to around 40, where life expectancy was a century ago.
The entire conservative movement is one big, um, death panel. Cutting off half your lifespan.
Now let’s sing a very moving song from the Judds:
Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days, sometimes it feels like this worlds gone crazy
Grandpa, take me back to yesterday when the line between right and wrong didn't seem so hazy
Did lovers really fall in love to stay and stand beside each other, come what may
Was a promise really something people kept, not just something they would say
Did families really bow their heads to pray? Did daddies really never go away?
Grandpa, everything is changing fast; we call it progress, but I just don't know
And grandpa, Let's wander back into the past and paint me the picture of long ago
Did lovers really fall in love to stay and stand beside each other come what may
Was a promise really something people kept, not just something they would say and then forget
The Judds sang that in 1987, when the Republicans had already had seven years to shove the flux capacitor up our asses and take us back to the past in Doc Brown’s Delorean. The Judds should have been happy: Reagan’s victorious allies were gaily declaring war on women, blacks, Mexicans, gays, poor people, any pretty much anyone who dared to disagree with them. And giving everybody a wild and crazy tax-cut party that we couldn’t afford. Party on!
So what good old days were the Judds hollering about? World War I, the Depression, the Dust Bowl, World War II, Korea, McCarthyism, witchhunts, the Cold War, the segregation, Vietnam, the Munich massacre, the energy crisis, inflation, the Iranian hostage crisis? How much worse would all of this have been, if we didn’t have effective government, armies, the law, the Constitution, a government-protected free press?
Or are they hearkening back to the golden era when, come what may, rich white men ruled the roost, and everybody else shut up and did what they were told? Is that what attracts them? When white folks greatly outnumbered the undesirables?
A couple of analysts have pointed out that the rightwing dream of a world without government, first espoused by Reagan – “Gee, what would happen if suddenly the government disappeared?” – is perfectly realized in…Somalia. Now, take a closer look at life in Somalia: thugs running around with guns terrorizing everyone else, terrorizing anyone who dares to try to make things better, anybody who resists the thugs. In other words, it’s the tea-bag wingnuts on steroids. And so far, the only good thing to happen in that neighbourhood was when Obama and Big Bad Gummint showed up with the U.S. Navy and shot those pirates right in their fucking heads.
Freedom means nothing unless there is someone there to protect those rights, and as soon as you holler for the police or the army to protect your rights…there’s government again. There is no freedom without government. And you can’t just do it yourself, because the threats to your freedom and your way of life are too big and too powerful.
Even the militia wingnuts running around with their guns saying they’re going to destroy Big Gummint and protect their own rights – what’s the first thing they do? Draw up new maps of America, renaming the cities, organizing themselves into military ranks, committees….lookee there, government! And it’s only a matter of time before they would impose “dues”, and then “taxes”, and then brutalize you and your neighbors more tyrannically than those skeery bureaucrats from Social Security and the post office ever could.
Don’t believe me? Look at what the revolutionaries did in France after they gave King Louis his haircut. Overthrowing the Big Gummint didn’t end the Reign Of Terror, it began the Reign Of Terror.
Or in the immortal words of Pete Townshend, meet the new boss, same as the old boss, just like the pigs in Animal Farm….The conservatives only hate the current government because they don’t control the current government. They lost the election. Which means they’re not freedom fighters: they are merely sore losers. With guns. Kinda like Hitler in the cellar of that beer hall back in the 1920s.
Unfortunately for them, we got a vivid lesson in what happens to us when they run the whole show. They already gave us a revolution, remember? The Reagan Revolution, the Contract with America, the promise that they would make government smaller? And thus, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, skyrocketing levels of government activity, government lies about WMD’s, government murder at Haditha, government torture at Abu Ghuraib, illegal prisons, illegal government wiretaps, nonstop lies and political smears, violent attacks and threats, Katrina, killing health reform and finance reform, jihads against gays and abortion doctors, trampling all over the Constitution, ignoring Congress and the laws they pass, covering up Republican sex scandals, and using Big Bad Gummint as a tool to attack their political enemies with.
So, happily, we can see their bullcrap promises for what they are.
Here are some not-the-same-but-similar insights at --