The New Abnormal: Authoritarian Control Freaks Want to Micromanage Our Lives

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by John W. Whitehead, Rutherford Institute:

“Man is born free but everywhere is in chains.”—Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Authoritarian control freaks out to micromanage our lives have become the new normal or, to be more accurate, the new abnormal when it comes to how the government relates to the citizenry.

This overbearing despotism, which pre-dates the COVID-19 hysteria, is the very definition of a Nanny State, where government representatives (those elected and appointed to work for us) adopt the authoritarian notion that the government knows best and therefore must control, regulate and dictate almost everything about the citizenry’s public, private and professional lives.

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Indeed, it’s a dangerous time for anyone who still clings to the idea that freedom means the right to think for yourself and act responsibly according to your best judgment.

This tug-of-war for control and sovereignty over our selves impacts almost every aspect of our lives, whether you’re talking about decisions relating to our health, our homes, how we raise our children, what we consume, what we drive, what we wear, how we spend our money, how we protect ourselves and our loved ones, and even who we associate with and what we think.

As Liz Wolfe writes for Reason, “Little things that make people’s lives better, tastier, and less tedious are being cracked down on by big government types in federal and state governments.”

You can’t even buy a stove, a dishwasher, a showerhead, a leaf blower, or a lightbulb anymore without running afoul of the Nanny State.

In this way, under the guise of pseudo-benevolence, the government has meted out this bureaucratic tyranny in such a way as to nullify the inalienable rights of the individual and limit our choices to those few that the government deems safe enough.

Yet limited choice is no choice at all. Likewise, regulated freedom is no freedom at all.

Indeed, as a study by the Cato Institute concludes, for the average American, freedom has declined generally over the past 20 years. As researchers William Ruger and Jason Sorens explain, “We ground our conception of freedom on an individual rights framework. In our view, individuals should be allowed to dispose of their lives, liberties, and property as they see fit, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others.”

The overt signs of the despotism exercised by the increasingly authoritarian regime that passes itself off as the United States government (and its corporate partners in crime) are all around us: censorship, criminalizing, shadow banning and de-platforming of individuals who express ideas that are politically incorrect or unpopular; warrantless surveillance of Americans’ movements and communications; SWAT team raids of Americans’ homes; shootings of unarmed citizens by police; harsh punishments meted out to schoolchildren in the name of zero tolerance; community-wide lockdowns and health mandates that strip Americans of their freedom of movement and bodily integrity; armed drones taking to the skies domestically; endless wars; out-of-control spending; militarized police; roadside strip searches; privatized prisons with a profit incentive for jailing Americans; fusion centers that spy on, collect and disseminate data on Americans’ private transactions; and militarized agencies with stockpiles of ammunition, to name some of the most appalling.

Yet as egregious as these incursions on our rights may be, it’s the endless, petty tyrannies—the heavy-handed, punitive-laden dictates inflicted by a self-righteous, Big-Brother-Knows-Best bureaucracy on an overtaxed, overregulated, and underrepresented populace—that illustrate so clearly the degree to which “we the people” are viewed as incapable of common sense, moral judgment, fairness, and intelligence, not to mention lacking a basic understanding of how to stay alive, raise a family, or be part of a functioning community.

When the dictates of petty bureaucrats carry greater weight than the individual rights of the citizenry, we’re in trouble, folks.

Federal and state governments have used the law as a bludgeon to litigate, legislate and micromanage our lives through overregulation and overcriminalization.

This is what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government.

Overregulation is just the other side of the coin to overcriminalization, that phenomenon in which everything is rendered illegal, and everyone becomes a lawbreaker.

You don’t have to look far to find abundant examples of Nanny State laws that infantilize individuals and strip them of their ability to decide things for themselves. Back in 2012, then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg infamously proposed a ban on the sale of sodas and large sugary drinks in order to guard against obesity. Other localities enacted bans on texting while jaywalking, wearing saggy pants, having too much mud on your car, smoking outdoors, storing trash in your car, improperly sorting your trash, cursing within earshot of others, or screeching your tires.

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