as the noose tightens, the hangman becomes respectable

In more posts than I can count, I've raved against AB 1634 (mandatory spay and neuter), and my position on anthropogenic global warming is beyond that of a mere denier; I'm a defier. Not that I advocate using incandescent bulbs or not spaying pets for other people; my position is a very simple one. I don't want the government telling people what to do in their personal lives.

My house, my dog, my car, my guns.

It's my business whether I own (yes own, not act as a state-appointed "guardian" for) my dog, or my car and my guns, and it's my business what I do behind closed doors in my house.

California's endless litany of ever tightening restrictions (detailed here and linked by Glenn Reynolds who likened the place to Singapore) tend to be laughed at by the rest of the country.

So let's all go ahead and laugh at California!

In particular, let's have a good laugh at Berkeley.

In Berkeley's green future, there will be no incandescent lightbulbs, Wedgewood stoves or gas-powered water heaters. The only sounds will be the whir of bicycles and the purr of hybrid cars -- and possibly curses from residents being forced to upgrade all their kitchen appliances.

Six months after Berkeley voters overwhelmingly passed Measure G, a mandate to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, the city is laying out a long-term road map for residents, business and industry. It includes everything from solar panels at the Pacific Steel foundry to composted table scraps.

While San Francisco, Oakland and other local governments in the Bay Area have approved policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Berkeley is the first to begin spelling out how people would be expected to reduce their carbon footprints.

Some measures will be popular and easy, like a car-share vehicle on every block and free bus passes. But others will be bitter pills, such as strict and costly requirements that homes have new high-efficiency appliances, solar-powered water heaters, insulation in the walls and other energy savers.

Ah, silly Berkeley! Big Brother in Birkenstocks! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Laugh at your peril.

Because it is your peril. As a collective process, what is going on has been likened (via Samizdata) to a series of fence posts placed in the ground:

The problem is, they will outlaw almost everything while enforcing very little. Imprisonment by stealth. People will not know they are encircled until it is too late - like putting in all these very deep, robust fence-posts with no fence panels. All seems open. One day you will wake up and the panels are in, you are trapped and they can decide what law they wish to impose to nail whomsoever they desire.
I'm reminded of the line from the movie Goodfellas, in which the local mob boss locks the doors to the bar from the inside, then turns around and says, "Now youse can't leave."

But the problem is, people vote for it, and we live in a democracy. Perry de Havilland has also called the process "Democratic totalitarianism":

...a total state really is what a great many people have in mind for us all. They seek a sort of 'smiley face fascism' in which all interactions are regulated in the name of preventing sexism, promoting health, and defending the environment. The excuses will not invoke the Glory of the Nation or the Proletariat or the Volk or the King or the Flag or any of those old fashioned tools for tyrants, but rather it will be "for our own good", "for the Planet", "for the whales", "for the children", "for the disabled" or "for equality".

But if they get their way it will be quite, quite totalitarian.

It would be an error to dismiss such warm and fuzzy totalitarianism as the product of top-down rule by a Leviathan state. Pliant and well-meaning citizens (some of whom I suspect in my darker moments are wannabe eunuchs) voluntarily condition themselves first to accept self-imposed limitations, following which it becomes easy to impose them on others. The "fairness" principle lies at the heart of this
We have all been doing our part in fixing our pets the state-sanctioned companion animals of which we're now guardians, substituting bicycles for cars, replacing our lightbulbs and windows with "green" alternatives. Is it really fair for a small minority of recalcitrant denialists to live like pigs greedy American kulaks at the expense of the rest of us?
Freedom be damned. Your "liberty" is unfair to the rest of us! You're polluting us all -- and we must stop your, your footprint!

"I saw you driving your car to the store yesterday!"

As I say, the noose is tightening. As California goes, so goes the nation. You think there's an escape? Think again. I admit, I sometimes fantasize about escaping: I am, minding my own business and not so much as inconveniencing anyone, while an ever-growing number of people want to make me into a criminal. As it is, I'm forced to live as an exile from California, where my dog and my guns would be criminal activities.

So, should I just sit around in Pennsylvania and imagine it could never happen here? Or should I move South and hope it doesn't happen there?

Wherever I go, it seems that it's easier and easier to become a criminal by doing nothing.

The way things are going, I almost prefer returning to Berkeley. I was ahead of the game there.

Here I sit and wait for the ideas to spread, and then wonder what the hell is wrong with everyone. In Berkeley I knew what was wrong with everyone, and they knew what was wrong with me. In a city of kooks, I'm just one more kook -- even if I'm on the "wrong" side. The difference here is that once the ideas spread, they've become so trendy and entrenched that people don't realize how kooky they are.

I guess I'd rather be tyrannized by kooks than by the normal majority. It has less of a sting. True, freedom is lost either way, but it's comforting to the soul to know that your enemies are as crazy as you are. Seen another way, it's better to be rended by wolves than suffocated by sheep. (More dignified, anyway.)

But those are just my personal issues. The rest of society be warned.

Now youse can't leave.

posted by Eric on 06.17.07 at 09:25 AM


I agree from San Diego.

Where do we go for freedom?

Looks grim.

Master of Obvious   ·  June 17, 2007 10:15 AM

what does any of this have to do with higher mathematics...delude your self and your own misunderstanding of contemporary hemogenized thought...

oedipusrex   ·  June 17, 2007 11:08 AM

what does any of this have to do with higher mathematics...delude your self and your own misunderstanding of contemporary hemogenized thought...

oedipusrex   ·  June 17, 2007 11:08 AM

"hemogenized thought"?

Bloody nightmare.

J. Case   ·  June 17, 2007 11:50 AM

Indeed, what DOES any of this have to do with higher mathematics?

Oh right, nothing. This is a blog on classical values.

S Wisnieski   ·  June 17, 2007 1:06 PM

Todays Sacramento Bee has a story titled "Fervor to ban light bulbs dims".

To me this means the legislature is getting a lot of flack for the recent spate of nannystateism.
Term limits are coming due. So the legislators feel as if they have nothing to loose.
But redistricting is still a hot issue. People in California (Berkeley is an unrepresentative freak) are sick of perpetually re elected SF assholes telling us how to live. Their time is almost up.

Papertiger   ·  June 17, 2007 6:49 PM

I have been living in Berkeley for over 30 years. It seems to me that there is a very simple way of eliminating greenhouse gases. The government could just ban greenhouses. Wouldn't that end greenhouse gas emitions? There are quite a few large greenhouses at the Berkeley U.C. Berkeley Botanical Gardens. Maybe we should start there.

Chocolatier   ·  June 17, 2007 7:18 PM

Not "Goodfellas", It was the DeNiro directed film "A Bronx Tale" (1993). The mobster who said it was actor Chaz Palminteri, He also wrote the script.

David S   ·  June 19, 2007 6:51 AM

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