A Snapshot of Modern Madness
August 15, 2016
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published August 14, 2016 by The Washington Times.
Two recent news items provide a glimpse of life in modern America. One is about the growth of the federal government and the other is about the evils of “profiling.”
Federal employment is fast expanding after taking a hit from the “sequestration” law that took effect in 2013. Last month alone, 41,000 federal employees were added. There are now 2.79 million non-defense employees in the federal workforce, which is “larger than when President Obama took office,” Government Executive magazine reports.
Well, someone has to act as overseers while the American people struggle to navigate the massive federal rule book, which has grown like algae in a still pond. The tax code alone is 74,608 pages, thanks to vote-hungry public officials who have used it to entice or, more often, bully Americans into doing what they want them to do.
“The modern state has to police more and more of our lives, because it has set itself against the normal,” wrote the late Joseph Sobran in his book Hustler: The Clinton Legacy. “It defines normal acquisition as greed, normal group preferences as bigotry, and normal morality as hate. Consequently, it has to watch over us at all times to make sure we aren’t too assertive about our normality, while it caters to our abnormalities.”
As I say, this takes a lot of bureaucrats. Imagine trying to enforce President Obama’s transgender edict for all of the nation’s thousands of school bathrooms and locker rooms without any extra help. The American Civil Liberties Union has lawyers all over the country ready to mug anyone showing the slightest sign of resistance, but it helps to have more government muscle.
Here’s the other news item. You probably have heard of “Clock Boy,” who has been a media sensation since last September, when high school authorities in Irving, Texas, confiscated what they thought might be a bomb but turned out to be his homemade clock. The 14-year-old freshman got suspended for three days, but President Obama hosted him at the White House. He also met Google founder Sergey Brin at Google headquarters, and now has more than 100,000 Twitter followers and his own publicist. Not too shabby.
Ahmed Mohamed’s Sudanese Muslim parents, who have since moved the family to Qatar, are suing the school district and principal, claiming racial discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. They had threatened last year to sue for $15 million, but have since retained new attorneys, who have not floated an amount.
The principal may or may not have overreacted, but put yourself in his shoes. If it had been a bomb, we’d be reading about a lot more than a lawsuit aimed at securing a big award.
The subtheme here, hammered home by the media, is that America is hopelessly biased against Muslims for no apparent reason other than mindless bigotry. If some people overreact, such as airline passengers being too quick to report suspicious activity, it has nothing to do with terrorism in America and Europe and the daily reports of massacres all over the world.
In order to stamp out the dreaded scourge of “profiling,” we are to regard a group of Baptist schoolteachers or Catholic nuns as equally likely to be urged on by their religious leaders to go out in a blaze of jihadi glory. I do feel sorry for American Muslims who just want to mind their own business and are appalled as anyone at the ongoing carnage. But we have lost perspective when the fear of inconveniencing someone trumps reasonable security measures.
The great hope for those of us who are looking on in horror as the social engineers increase government power and make actionable common sense and normalcy, is that the worm will turn.
It begins with waking up to the fact that we are under siege in our own country from people who despise it in as many ways as you can fit on protest placards. Progressives claim that they “love America and want to make it better.” But constant insistence that America must be fundamentally transformed gives away the game. If you love somebody or something, you don’t want to render them unrecognizable.
“As things have gotten worse, far worse than our grandparents could have imagined, only liberalism has insisted it was all ‘progress,’” Sobran observed. “And now liberalism has finally outworn its function of rationalizing social regression. It can no longer fool us into thinking the disruptions are only the makings of a better world, like a torn-up highway temporarily under construction. We know better. Those who have torn down much of Christian civilization aren’t going to build a better one; they aren’t going to build anything.”
Well, they are going to build an America in which our children and grandchildren will no longer enjoy the freedom that is still the envy of the world.
That is, if we don’t wake up and work together to stop the madness.