While most of the so-called conservative blogopshere talks about polls and news articles focusing on “momentum” and superficial nonsense, Rush Limbaugh is talking about Alexis de Tocqueville. Know who he is? I bet you know the latest stories on Jessica Simpson or the latest winners of American Idol. And I bet you know who is leading the polls in South Carolina and what each paper is saying about each of the polls out nationally. But do you know anything related to principles and conservative principles? Are you reading up on history and conservatism and democracy and its pitfalls?
RUSH: Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote the book. He passed away 149 years ago. He came to the United States, traveled around, wrote a book. Parts of this book — well, all of it is amazing, but parts of this book are so prescient. I got this excerpt from the Power Line blog yesterday. He concludes in the book, Democracy in America, “with a warning of the kind of despotism to which democratic societies are usually and especially susceptible. He warns that the passion for equality will give rise to a certain kind of degradation in which citizens will surrender their freedom democratically to a tutelary power.” Now, tutelary power, think protector, think guardian, think Nanny State. Here’s the excerpt.
“Above these [citizens] an immense tutelary power is elevated, which alone takes charge of assuring their enjoyments and watching over their fate. It is absolute, detailed, far-seeing, and mild. It would resemble paternal power if, like that, it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood; it likes citizens to enjoy themselves provided that they think only of enjoying themselves. It willingly works for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of that; it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances; can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living? Subjection in small affairs manifests itself every day and makes itself felt without distinction by all citizens. It does not make them desperate, but it constantly thwarts them and brings them to renounce the use of their wills. Thus little by little, it extinguishes their spirits and enervates their souls.”
This is Alexis de Tocqueville, died 149 years ago, and when he writes — it would be one thing if the Nanny State prepared people for adulthood and manhood, but it doesn’t. It wants to keep us perpetually childlike. They, the government, want to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of happiness. They want to provide for our security, they foresee and secure our needs, they facilitate our pleasures, conduct our principal affairs, direct our industry, regulate our houses and homes, divide our inheritances. Can all this not take away from us entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living? By the way, it doesn’t take government to make this happen. Oprah Winfrey has made it happen for many in her audience, the Oprahfication. We expect this on the left, but there are Republican candidates who are now running under this basic idea, life is too complicated, we’re going to fix it for you, we’re going to make you happy, we’re going to make you dependent, and we’re going to make everybody equal, and we’re going to divide up your inheritance. And we’re going to regulate your homes, as in, where you can and can’t smoke, what you can and can’t do with your land, what kind of car you can and can’t drive, and we might even regulate the thermostat to tell you how cold and warm and hot and so forth you can and can’t be.
Then we’re going to tell you what kind of lightbulbs you can and can’t use. We’re doing all this for your pleasure. We’re doing all of this for your own good. One of the tenets of his book here is to spot the pitfalls of democrat societies. Remember, we’re not a democracy, we’re a representative republic, and that also is being attacked as well. This will resonate with a lot of people, especially during primary time, because primary time, folks, is not really where elections are devoted to substance. They’re devoted to perception and image and feel-good type things. When you get to the presidential election, contrary to what the libs like to say, contrary to what the Drive-Bys like to say, presidential elections are about issues. But will that change? Who knows. The point is, the antidote for this is conservatism, and there just isn’t anybody on the front burner that is explaining and leading with these principles.
Instead, way too many people are trying to water them down and redefine them so as not to have to deal with them. It’s hard. I’ve always said, conservatism is hard, conservatism does not baby people. It doesn’t do what de Tocqueville was describing here. It doesn’t keep you a perpetual child. Conservatism doesn’t try to find a way to keep you happy. Conservatism is about making yourself happy and productive and fulfilled and making sure that there are as few obstacles in your path to all that as possible. But liberalism, Nanny Statism, why, it’s easy. It’s the most gutless choice you can make. Just tell everybody you care about them, understand that they can’t survive against the odds and they’re going to punish the people who do. We’re going to try to make everybody equal, and we’re going to make sure you’re as happy as you can be, and we’re going to make sure that you don’t do any damage to the country, you don’t do any damage to the planet, you don’t do any damage to the neighborhood, you don’t do any damage to your house. If you engage in fraudulent or mistaken practices that cost you econonically, don’t worry about it, no harm, no foul, because you were too stupid to know what you were doing in the first place, so we will fix it and make you indentured servants of ours, constantly owing us in the government for whatever pleasure and happiness you find in life, and that will keep you dependent on it and will keep you looking everywhere but yourself for contentment, for happiness, for satisfaction, and for pleasure. That, my friends, is what he’s talking about. That’s what liberalism is, and it pains me to say, we have Republicans running on the same premise for the presidency in this campaign.
Hmmm. I would like to hear his explanation of what he means by this:
Q2: Violent Video Game Legislation
To date, nearly 10 states have considered legislation to keep violent video games out of kids’ hands. Would you support this type of legislation at the federal level? What other strategies would you support to keep the video game industry and other media companies from marketing and selling inappropriate content to children?
MITT ROMNEY: I want to restore values so children are protected from a societal cesspool of filth, pornography, violence, sex, and perversion. I’ve proposed that we enforce our obscenity laws again and that we get serious against those retailers that sell adult video games that are filled with violence and that we go after those retailers.
This sounds like nanny-statism to me. There is no way to keep these games out of the hands of kids, if parents just go to the stores and buy them for them. Or if their older friends just go to the stores to buy them for them.
But the real issue is that violent video games are not the cause of bad behaviored/violent children. In my opinion, bad parenting is the cause. I played violent video games as a kid and loved it. Yet, I have never gotten into a fight in my life and never hit anyone in my life (well, except for wrestling around with my younger brothers). In my opinion, those who want to blame video games for kids’ behavior are wanting to pass the buck from who has the ultimate responsibility for kids: THE PARENTS.
That said, I would like to see other Republican candidates’ opinions on this issue. The only Republican who gave an answer on this site is Mitt Romney. And his answer sounds as nanny-statish as Mike Huckabee.
Mitt, I have news for you. The government cannot protect children “from a societal cesspool of filth, pornography, violence, sex, and perversion”. Only parents can do that. And even they can’t always protect their kids from it, since it is all over TV, in the movies, in magazines and even in our grammar schools and high schools. The only thing that can change the societal cesspool is society itself. You can promote such a thing from government through encouragement and word, but you should know that you cannot legislate such things.