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The Tyranny of the Nanny State, Where the Government Knows What’s Best for You

Individual choice and decision has been removed from the family.

Posted: 11 Aug 2014 09:45 PM PDT

Surveillance cameras, government agents listening in on your phone calls, reading your emails and text messages and monitoring your spending, mandatory health care, sugary soda bans, anti-bullying laws, zero tolerance policies, political correctness: these are all outward signs of a government that believes it knows what is best for you.

Indeed, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this is the tyranny of the Nanny State: marketed as benevolence, enforced with armed police, and inflicted on all those who do not belong to the elite ruling class that gets to call the shots.

This tyranny disguised as “the better good” explains the recent rash of parents getting charged with negligence and arrested for leaving their kids alone for any amount of time, whether at a park, in a store, in a car, or in their front yard—another sign of what C.S. Lewis referred to as tyranny exercised by “omnipotent moral busybodies.”

For example, working mom Debra Harrell was arrested, spent 17 days in jail, lost custody of her daughter, and if convicted, could spend up to 10 years in jail all because she let her 9-year-old daughter play alone at a nearby park. Single mother Shanesha Taylor, unemployed and essentially homeless, was arrested for leaving her kids in her car during a 40-minute job interview.

For the so-called “crime” of allowing her 7-year-old son to visit a neighborhood playground located a half mile from their house, Nicole Gainey was interrogated, arrested and handcuffed in front of her son, and transported to the local jail where she was physically searched, fingerprinted, photographed and held for seven hours and then forced to pay almost $4,000 in bond in order to return to her family. Gainey now faces a third-degree criminal felony charge that carries with it a fine of up to $5,000 and 5 years in jail.

A Connecticut mother was arrested after her 7-year-old, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, fell off his scooter and allegedly injured himself. Patricia Juarez was arrested after letting her 7-year-old son play at a Legoland store in the mall while she did her shopping. Tammy Cooper was arrested, jailed overnight and charged with child endangerment for letting her kids ride their scooters alone in the cul-de-sac outside her suburban home.

These incidents are worsened by what journalist Josh Harkinson more broadly refers to as the “criminalization of the working poor,” oftentimes targeting parents “struggling to make ends meet with no better child care options.”

Nevertheless, despite the arrest-driven uproar over what constitutes negligent parenting and the government’s attitude that it—in concert with Social Services—knows what is best for your kids, it turns out that kids aren’t really in any greater danger today than they were 40 years ago, at least not from abductions by strangers.

Unfortunately, having allowed our fears to be codified and our actions criminalized, we now find ourselves in a strange new world where just about everything we do is criminalized, not just our parenting decisions. As with most of the problems plaguing us in the American police state, we are the source of our greatest problems. We have relinquished control over the most intimate aspects of our lives to government officials who, while they may occupy seats of authority, are neither wiser, smarter, more in tune with our needs, more knowledgeable about our problems, nor more aware of what is really in our best interests.

Yet having bought into the false notion that the government does indeed know what’s best for us and can ensure not only our safety but our happiness and will take care of us from cradle to grave—that is, from daycare centers to nursing homes—we have in actuality allowed ourselves to be bridled and turned into slaves at the bidding of a government that cares little for our freedoms or our happiness.

The lesson is this: once a free people allows the government inroads into their freedoms or uses those same freedoms as bargaining chips for security, it quickly becomes a slippery slope to outright tyranny.

When our own government no longer sees us as human beings with dignity and worth but as things to be manipulated, maneuvered, mined for data, manhandled by police, conned into believing it has our best interests at heart, mistreated, and then jails us if we dare step out of line, punishes us unjustly without remorse, and refuses to own up to its failings, we are no longer operating under a constitutional republic. Instead, what we are experiencing is a pathocracy: tyranny at the hands of a psychopathic government, which “operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups.”

So where does that leave us?

Having allowed the government to expand and exceed our reach, we find ourselves on the losing end of a tug-of-war over control of our country and our lives. And for as long as we let them, government officials will continue to trample on our rights, always justifying their actions as being for the good of the people.

The choice before us is clear. It is the choice between tyranny and freedom, dictatorship and autonomy, peaceful slavery and dangerous freedom, and manufactured pipedreams of what America used to be versus the gritty reality of what she is today.

Most of all, perhaps, the choice before us is that of being a child or a parent, of obeying blindly, never questioning, and marching in lockstep with the police state or growing up, challenging injustice, standing up to tyranny, and owning up to our responsibilities as citizens, no matter how painful, risky or uncomfortable.

As author Erich Fromm warned in his book Civil Disobedience, “At this point in history, the capacity to doubt, to criticize and to disobey may be all that stands between a future for mankind and the end of civilization.”

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These patriot-preachers were   staunchly patriotic, seriously independent, and steadfastly courageous. They   were found in almost all of the various Protestant denominations at the time:   Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Anglican, Lutheran, German Reformed,   etc. Their Sunday sermons — more than Patrick Henry’s oratory, Sam Adams’ and   James Warren’s “Committees of Correspondence,” or Thomas Paine’s “Summer   Soldiers and Sunshine Patriots” — inspired, educated, and motivated the   colonists to resist the tyranny of the British Crown, and fight for their   freedom and independence. Without the Black Regiment, there is absolutely no   doubt that we would still be a Crown colony, with no Declaration of   Independence, no U.S. Constitution, no Bill of Rights, and little liberty.
The exploits of the Black Regiment are legendary. When General George   Washington asked Lutheran pastor John Peter Muhlenberg to raise a regiment of   volunteers, Muhlenberg gladly agreed. Before marching off to join   Washington’s army, he delivered a powerful sermon from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8   that concluded with these words: “The Bible tells us there is a time for all   things and there is a time to preach and a time to pray, but the time for me   to preach has passed away, and there is a time to fight, and that time has   come now. Now is the time to fight! Call for recruits! Sound the drums!”
Then Muhlenberg took off his clerical robe to reveal the uniform of a   Virginia colonel. Grabbing his musket from behind the pulpit, he donned his   colonel’s hat and marched off to war. And as he did, more than 300 of his   male congregants followed him.
Muhlenberg’s brother quotes John Peter as saying, “You may say that as a   clergyman nothing can excuse my conduct. I am a clergyman, it is true, but I   am a member of society as well as the poorest layman, and my liberty is as   dear to me as any man. I am called by my country to its defense. The cause is   just and noble. Were I a Bishop … I should obey without hesitation; and as   far am I from thinking that I am wrong, I am convinced it is my duty so to do   — a duty I owe to my God and my Country.”
Remember, too, it was Pastor Jonas Clark and his congregants at the Church of   Lexington who comprised that initial body of brave colonists called   Minutemen. These were the men, you will recall, who withstood British troops   advancing on Concord to confiscate the colonists’ firearms and arrest Sam   Adams and John Hancock, and fired “the shot heard round the world.”
The “Supreme Knight” and great martyr of Presbyterianism was Pastor James   Caldwell of the Presbyterian church of         Elizabethtown   (present-day Elizabeth), New Jersey. He was called the “Rebel High Priest”   and the “Fighting Chaplain.” He is most famous for the story “Give ’em   Watts!” It is said that at the Springfield engagement, when the militia ran   out of wadding for their muskets, Parson Caldwell galloped to the   Presbyterian church and returned with an armload of hymnbooks, threw them to   the ground, and exclaimed, “Now, boys, give ’em Watts! Give ’em Watts!” — a   reference to the famous hymn writer, Isaac Watts.
Not an easy path: Presbyterian   minister James Caldwell, who gained fame during the battle of Springfield,   New Jersey, when he gathered Watts hymnals from a church for use as rifle   wadding and shouted to the troops as he handed them out, “put Watts into   them,” was killed in the war, as was his wife.
 Then   there was the Baptist, Joab Houghton, of New Jersey. Houghton was in the   Hopewell Baptist Meeting-house at worship when he received the first   information of Concord and Lexington, and of the retreat of the British to   Boston with heavy losses. His great-grandson gave the following eloquent   description of the way he treated the tidings:
Stilling   the breathless messenger, he sat quietly through the services, and when they   were ended, he passed out, and mounting the great stone block in front of the   meeting-house, he beckoned to the people to stop. Men and women paused to   hear, curious to know what so unusual a sequel to the service of the day   could mean. At the first words a silence, stern as death, fell over all. The   Sabbath quiet of the hour and of the place was deepened into a terrible   solemnity. He told them all the story of the cowardly murder at Lexington by   the royal troops; the heroic vengeance following hard upon it; the retreat of   Percy; the gathering of the children of the Pilgrims round the beleaguered   hills of Boston. Then pausing, and looking over the silent throng, he said   slowly: “Men of New Jersey, the red coats are murdering our brethren of New   England! Who follows me to Boston?” And every man of that audience stepped   out into line, and answered, “I!” There was not a coward nor a traitor in old   Hopewell Baptist Meeting-house that day. [Source: Cathcart, The Baptists and the American   Revolution, 1876]
Consider,   too, Pastor M’Clanahan, of Culpepper County, Virginia, who raised a military   company of Baptists and served in the field, both as a captain and chaplain.   Reverend David Barrow “shouldered his musket and showed how fields were won.”   Another Baptist, General Scriven, when ordered by a British officer to give   up Sunbury, near Savannah, sent back the answer, “Come and get it.” Deacon   Mills, of the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, “commanded skillfully”   1,000 riflemen at the Battle of Long Island, and for his valor was made a   brigadier general. Deacon Loxley of the same church commanded the artillery   at the Battle of Germantown with the rank of colonel. (Source: McDaniel, The People Called Baptists,   1925)
A list drawn up by Judge Curwen, an ardent Tory, contained 926 names of   British sympathizers living in America — colonial law had already exiled a   larger number — but there was “not the name of one Baptist on the list.”   Maybe this is why President George Washington, in his letter to the Baptists,   paid the following tribute: “I recollect with satisfaction that the religious   society of which you are members has been, throughout America, uniformly and   almost unanimously, the firm friend to civil liberty, and the persevering   promoters of our glorious Revolution.” Maybe it explains why Thomas Jefferson   could write to a Baptist church, saying, “We have acted together from the   origin to the end of a memorable Revolution.”
(Source:   Ibid.)

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