Sick of the draconian COVID restrictions? So are all free thinkers. But while it's (rightly) in vogue in conservative circles to condemn the asinine lockdowns and "safety measures" imposed by bungling civil authorities drunk on their own power, almost none have had the intellectual sobriety to wonder, "How did we arrive at this precarious place where politicians feel comfortable issuing edicts that interfere so drastically with our everyday lives?" While it's gratifying to lampoon the mask-wearing drones who goose-step along with the authoritarian edicts of governmental overlords, we're far less comfortable pointing the proverbial finger at ourselves for our silent compliance with subtler instances of government overreach in our daily lives. And yet, our sheepishness in the face of more-innocuous "commonsense" regulations is precisely what paved the way for the leviathan State that is suffocating us today under cover of the present "pandemic."
Recall just a few years back, when the federal government banned incandescent light bulbs in favor of harsh, unnatural LED and fluorescent lighting? How many wishy-washy enablers did you hear defending the government's electricity fascism — statism that reached deep into the heart of our own homes? "Well, there's an energy crisis going on. And besides, I don't even mind interior illumination redolent of a morgue that gives me the aspect and complexion of a zombie. In fact, I'm enjoying my new lower bill!" Moderates and contrarians were quick to signal that they could see both sides of the argument — a need for personal liberty balanced against the need to conserve energy. So they were silent.
Remember when, under the Obama administration, the Department of Energy mandated that manufacturers could no longer produce the effective, traditional top-loader washing machines that had been reliably getting clothes spick-and-span for the prior half-century? We were told that there was a need to ration the "vulnerable" water supply and, therefore, there was a corresponding need for the promulgation of incompetent high-efficiency models — that it was "just good policy." Try complaining about how these novelty water-conserving machines don't work; about how they don't use enough water (you know, the universal solvent) to actually remove dirt from garments; about how due to their low water levels, they tend to tear clothes during spin cycles; about how they prevent you from adding clothes mid-cycle; about how they break often and they're more expensive to work on when they do break; about how they control you instead of you controlling them. Some dullard nearby will invariably ejaculate that he likes his deficient new model: "Personally, my home washing machine works great, and I hardly notice a difference, so I hardly mind the onerous red-tape imposed by imperious executive agencies. Plus, with the impending water crisis, we all have to do our part." Moderates and compromisers accepted the government's specious, plausible-deniability rationalization uncritically. So they were silent.
How about when the government prescribed in the 1992 Energy Policy Act that all households are to make use of low-flow water faucets and water-saving toilets? Was there a mass backlash against Congress for interjecting itself in our bathrooms and imposing on us showerheads that don't provide sufficient water quantities to timely eliminate body odor? Was there a widespread uprising about toilets that clog easier than a 13-year-old's pores? About toilets that don't flush with enough pressure to reliably remove solid waste? Nope. Everyone was too wrapped up in the trifles of their daily lives and couldn't be bothered to take a stand. So they were silent.
And how about when, building on the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards handed down by a runaway Congress in the 1970s, the Obama administration ordered a 30% increase in vehicle fuel efficiency (translating to a 35.5 mile-per-gallon fleet average for auto manufacturers)? Did people take to the streets to protest regulations from on high that would inevitably result in the utilization of lighter, weaker materials in the construction of cars — regulations that would actually put consumers and our families at heightened risk of fatality in a car crash? Did they smolder with rage about the fact that new-car prices would jump over $1,000, as more expensive technologies were ramrodded into cars so they'd pass enviro-Nazi muster? Nope. They sat there and took it because they liked how "greedy auto companies were being held to a high standard and were being made to 'shoulder a fair burden' in combatting the fuel crisis afflicting the nation." So they were silent.
You know that annoying beep that screams at you when you get in your car and you, for whatever legitimate reason, don't opt to wear a seatbelt? You have the bureaucrats at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to thank for that, as the NHTSA has cajoled auto manufacturers into putting the gadfly tattle mechanism into your car — but it's OK; it's to protect you from yourself and your own stupid decisions. Try complaining about the heinous ping to your next passenger: Odds are that he'll retort with some trite drivel like, "I think it's a great thing that the government is trying to encourage responsible driving and to promote highway safety. There's a veritable crisis of accident-related injuries!" People liked the idea of having Big Brother's shrill voice blaring from their dashboard to ensure compliance with official State policy. So they were silent.
The point, at long last, of all the preceding paragraphs, is this: Americans have sat idly by for decades while the government, under the cover of faux crises, has regulated intimate aspects of our daily lives. Most people don't really like or understand freedom, and they don't covet liberty. They're fine with the government dictating to them what they're to do and how they must do it. As long as they get their fix of cake, TV shows about sex and mind-numbing narcotics, they'll willingly abide being treated like cattle by a gargantuan State run by a privileged few who are exempted from the very rules with which their underlings are unjustly yoked. And, sadly, the foregoing aptly describes the majority of conservatives as well. We've been acclimated to serfdom, and we've reached an event horizon in the black hole of tolerance of governmental overreach, a point of no return. We should've spoken out when the pattern of progressive micromanagement was in its infancy. But we didn't. And now, the Orwellian precedent has been set. Government knows it can make us say "uncle," that it can make us wear useless masks as indicators of our internal assent to its absolute power. We've made our beds, now, alas, we have to lie in them.