Power to the peo­ple’s over­seers

Lib­er­als find new ways to en­joy their fa­vorite pas­time — co­er­cion

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion - By Robert Knight

Lib­er­als love co­er­cion. They think they’re smarter than the rest of us. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t ex­pend so much ef­fort in­vent­ing new rules and laws for our bet­ter­ment.

Just this past week, lib­eral Democrats im­posed the coun­ter­feit of ho­mo­sex­ual “mar­riage” on the peo­ple of Mary­land, shot down ex­panded gun rights in Iowa and de­feated an amend­ment in the U.S. Se­nate restor­ing con­science pro­tec­tions against the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s con­tra­cep­tive and abor­ti­fa­cient man­date to Catholic hos­pi­tals.

They were joined in the lat­ter by “mod­er­ate” Re­pub­li­can Sen. Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, whose an­nounced de­par­ture at the end of her term has gen­er­ated crocodile tears among those whose fa­vorite “mod­er­ates” are Repub­li­cans who cave on cue.

In Virginia, lib­eral Democrats voted to con­tinue to bar home school fam­i­lies from sports teams in public schools that they sup­port with their taxes, and halted a bill to ease the man­dated anti-hpv in­oc­u­la­tion of young girls. These are the same Democrats who screamed “keep your hands off our bod­ies” over a Re­pub­li­can-spon­sored law re­quir­ing women seek­ing an abor­tion to un­dergo an ul­tra­sound be­fore let­ting the abor­tion­ist kill the baby.

Sud­denly, lib­er­als who want to get around par­ents to in­ject girls with drugs and to co­erce Catholics into fund­ing abor­tion pills find gov­ern­ment co­er­cion, well, a ter­ri­ble thing. When it comes to abor­tion, lib­er­als op­pose any speed bumps what­so­ever, in­clud­ing min­i­mal health reg­u­la­tions im­posed on all other med­i­cal clin­ics, and pro­ce­dures aimed at pro­vid­ing more in­for­ma­tion to moth­ers about some­thing as con­se­quen­tial as the ges­ta­tion of a new hu­man be­ing.

But abor­tion and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of ob­scen­ity are the grand ex­cep­tions. In most other mat­ters, lib­er­als drink en­thu­si­as­ti­cally from the tap la­beled “Co­er­cion.” They want to reg­u­late ev­ery­thing un­der the sun, and they’d reg­u­late the sun if they could get their hands on it. Sadly, con­ser­va­tives who are tempted to use gov­ern­ment as a ve­hi­cle for “com­pas­sion” some­times get ad­dicted to the same elixir.

Frus­trated by Amer­i­cans’ con­tin­ued re­sis­tance to their benev­o­lent con­trol, lib­er­als a few years ago hit on their grand idea: man-made global warm­ing. It’s the ul­ti­mate ex­cuse for reg­u­lat­ing ev­ery hu­man ac­tiv­ity and ex­pand­ing gov­ern­ment. It’s also an­other great ex­cuse for pro­mot­ing abor­tion and non-pro­cre­ative “al­ter­na­tive life­styles,” be­cause the birth of each hu­man baby is a ter­ri­ble threat to the en­vi­ron­ment.

Just to add per­spec­tive, this rush to reg­u­late in the name of progress is a rel­a­tively new de­vel­op­ment. The U.S. gov­ern­ment, for in­stance, did not have to is­sue a crack­down on horse poop and the hay in­dus­try to fa­cil­i­tate the mass switch from ol’ Dob­bin to the Model T.

Like­wise, it did not have to pun­ish Ma Bell to get us all off ro­tary units and onto cell­phones. Wait. It did. It broke Ma Bell into seven Baby Bells. I stand cor­rected. But touch tones and iphones would have hap­pened any­way be­cause peo­ple like them and Steve Jobs needed an out­let for his rest­less, en­tre­pre­neur­ial en­ergy.

The point is, apart from the space pro­gram, which gen­er­ated lots of tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs on the tax­payer’s dime be­fore Pres­i­dent Obama killed it, gov­ern­ment does a lousy job of pick­ing win­ners and losers com­pared to the free mar­ket. The freak­ishly ex­pen­sive Solyn­dra boon­dog­gle comes to mind, as do the bil­lions spent on corn sub­si­dies, ethanol man­dates and light-bulb di­rec­tives.

Some­times, if left alone, things would head where lib­er­als want them to go, but at a more nat­u­ral pace. But lib­er­als can’t re­sist us­ing co­er­cion, mostly through ju­di­cial ac­tivism and ex­ec­u­tive-agency dik­tats.

Noth­ing il­lus­trates this bet­ter than the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s (EPA) war on coal-burn­ing power plants, which still pro­vide nearly half of the na­tion’s electricity.

Last July, the EPA is­sued a “final CrossS­tate Air Pol­lu­tion Rule, which re­quires re­duc­tions of sul­fur-diox­ide and ni­tro­gen-ox­ide emis­sions in 23 East­ern and Mid­west­ern states be­gin­ning next year as well as sea­sonal ozone re­duc­tions in 28 states,” the Wall Street Jour­nal re­ports.

In De­cem­ber, the EPA brought down the ham­mer with more rules that will cost Amer­ica’s util­i­ties (read: con­sumers) “al­most $10 bil­lion by 2015 alone,” ac­cord­ing to the Edi­son Elec­tric In­sti­tute, an in­dus­try trade group. That’s just what the econ­omy needs.

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has man­aged to force two coal-burn­ing elec­tric plants to an­nounce pre­ma­ture clo­sures. Less power to the peo­ple.

But here’s the thing: Elec­tric com­pa­nies are al­ready phas­ing out coal be­cause of the boom in cheaper, cleaner nat­u­ral gas. They’ve been adding equip­ment to make coal-fired plants greener. So the process was well un­der way, but as Mr. Obama might say, “We can’t wait!”

In Cal­i­for­nia, util­i­ties and busi­nesses are about to be sac­ri­ficed on the al­tar of a ca­pand-tax scheme hatched back in 2006. That’s when the leg­is­la­ture en­acted the Global Warm­ing So­lu­tions Act, which turns the Cal­i­for­nia Air Re­sources Board into a reg­u­la­tory Godzilla.

The crack­down will not only please the fringe en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists who dom­i­nate the Demo­cratic Party but will bring an es­ti­mated $14 bil­lion a year into Sacra­mento’s de­pleted cof­fers.

Given the heavy hand on util­i­ties of not only the EPA but Sacra­mento, it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore the Golden State ex­pe­ri­ences power brownouts. Ac­tu­ally, a “brownout” in Cal­i­for­nia refers to the times be­tween Gov. Moon­beam’s terms, so let’s use the word “black­out.”

The fact is, Cal­i­for­nia is so be­sot­ted with lib­er­al­ism that res­i­dents are get­ting numb to abuses of power, which lib­er­als hope to ex­port to the rest of Amer­ica.

In De­cem­ber, state Sen. Ted Lieu, a Demo­crat, ac­tu­ally threat­ened to in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion to force the Lowe’s home-im­prove­ment chain to advertise on a Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel/tlc tele­vi­sion show, “All-amer­i­can Mus­lim.”

To a lib­eral, ap­par­ently there’s noth­ing more “all-amer­i­can” than us­ing gov­ern­ment power to force a pri­vate com­pany to buy ads fa­vor­ing a law­maker’s cho­sen in­ter­est group.

Co­er­cion is the ad­dic­tive drug lib­er­als swear they aren’t us­ing — un­til they use it.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY GREG GROESCH

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