A Whole Different Sort of Tyranny (Nate Bell Quotes)
"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
Establishment Character Assassin John Brummett today turned his nasty on State Rep. Nate Bell from Mena. This was a result of Bell's Facebook chatter, specifically his comparison of the actions of some nanny-staters in the state legislature to those of the Nazis. Brummett rebukes Bell on a number of levels, all incorrect, but I want to sort through only some of that in this column.
First Point: Nate Bell is one of those rare legislators who is willing to communicate with common citizens via things like facebook. People are tired of politicians who only speak in carefully crafted sound bites. But that's what we are going to get if we stand by and let the Nate Bell's of the state get character assassinated by small men like Brummett when they make a controversial off-the-cuff remark. I commend Bell and those like him who are willing to have an ongoing dialogue with common citizens. In the course of doing that, they are going to say something now and then that draws some heat. I hope we as voters are mature enough to understand that this is the price of real dialogue. I don't want to continue down the path of plastic candidates.
Second Point: Bell did indeed err in his accusation, but not for the reasons that Brummett supposes. The Nazi's were statist tyrants, and so are the nanny staters, but they are not the same kind of statist tyrants. The Nazis, in the name of benefitting their own kind, caused harm to others. The nanny-staters, in the name of helping for others, harm them while doing well for themselves. One is murderous, the other merely suffocating. Both are deleterious to freedom for those not in their ruling elite. One is honest about the harm they intend to put on others, the second claims they are "helping" others, even if it is against their will. Both see government as the solution and liberty as the problem.
One is worse than the other, but neither are good. Nazis are the only sort of evil that post-modern leftists will recognize as evil. Because of that, we tend to over-use them as representative of all sorts of evil. They are not. Nanny-staters are a separate sort of evil. If not so blatant in their evil as Nazis, they to some degree compensate for it by being less honest and more hypocritical. Nate Bell is guilty of sloppy categorization in this instance, and nothing more. That's a small price to pay to have leaders still willing to converse with us.