James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Real Culture War

This is my latest at the Partial Observer. Excerpt:
The underlying theme of the authoritarian seeking the "common good" is, punish the innocent. Because some use guns for crime, the rest of us shouldn't be allowed to have guns. Because a few drug users become addicts or cause accidents, others must be prevented from using drugs even for medicinal use. Because some lose large amounts while gambling, gambling must be put under state control. This is akin to the teacher who punishes the entire class for the misbehavior of one student. Because some abuse their liberty to their own detriment or the detriment of others, deny liberty to all.

This inversion of justice, this punishing of the innocent, has a toxic effect on the authoritarian mind. The targets become broader. Some authoritarian measures start out with good intentions, such as concerns about poverty and safety. But the real enemy of the authoritarian is what "dangerous" or "offensive" behaviors represent: non-conformity. The "threat" never really was the sodomy, it was the gay lifestyle. It was never the drug use, it was the drug culture. It isn't the home school, but the values of homeschooling parents.

The threat to the authoritarian are individuals and groups who think and behave differently from the "norm." Their very existence makes the authoritarian uncomfortable; the idea that there are different ways to live happy lives is an threat to their values.

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