infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals

C.S. Lewis captured the mindset of so-called progressives in his 1948 collection God in the Dock:

My contention is that good men (not bad men) consistently acting upon that position would act as cruelly and unjustly as the greatest tyrants. They might in some respects act even worse. 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. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

When confronted with an affront to liberty and dignity such as Obamacare, I usually attribute the machinations of today’s liberals to a well-meaning paternalism on the part of the tyrants. A darker interpretation? It’s all about power; we the people, are merely here to serve our betters in the government.

I think the truth incorporates both attributes. I see a sincere desire on the part of some liberals to improve our lot in life. Even if they can’t be bothered to ask if we agree that what they order us to do will be an improvement.

The net assessment? At best, today’s liberals are hectoring nannies, telling us to eat our vegetables and don’t run with scissors. At worst, they are tyrants, no better than those who rule by terror. Either way, haven’t we had just about enough?

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