Quote of The Day – Tyranny

 

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

― C.S. Lewis

In the special session of the Texas Legislature, a bill has been introduced stripping municipalities of the right to pass special condition legislation. These include things like disposable bag bans, forcing landowners to get permission from the city to remove trees (or certain types of trees), and banning short-term property rentals. When I looked through the list of things this would ban control of I was struck by one thing. Every one of them dealt with issues of aesthetics rather than public safety. Every one was an example of virtue signalling. They all assume government knows best. They are passed by local busybodies who want to feel better about themselves by compelling others to do the things the busybodies desired – for the good of those compelled, of course.

Take the bag bans. Measured by energy consumption disposable plastic bags consume less energy than the reusable totes (over the lifetime of the tote). This ignores the additional energy consumed in sterilizing the totes, which if not done, makes the totes a health hazard. But plastic bags littering the outside are ugly. Better to waste energy and risk the public’s health than to leave the place ugly. (Or to pick up the litter.)

I believe there is a primal human need to bully others. Some individuals satisfy that need by serving in municipal politics, others by becoming members of the media, and still others by becoming busybody SJW snoops. That way they can bully to their hearts’ content secure in the knowledge it is for the bullied parties’ own good.

Seawriter

There are 30 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    One of my favorites.  I’d forgotten the “robber barons” reference and sadly when the busybodies gather the power they need to really fix us as they want, the so called robber barons get to craft the power as they choose.

    • #1
  2. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    Great quote Seawriter! Thanks.

    • #2
  3. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Hear, hear!

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Not much that one can add to this. Thanks, Seawriter.

    This is part of the Quote of the Day Series. We still have four openings for July, so sign-up today.

    • #4
  5. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    I’m on my cell phone and don’t know how to capture and quote a line from this piece. But that line about the primal human need to bully others is really huge.

    • #5
  6. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Well put. HUmans do want to bully. It makes them feel big. Only people who normally feel big have no need to bully.

    • #6
  7. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Another consideration in varieties of tyranny is how blunter injustice forces blunt resistance. Gradual and nuanced tyranny attacks people slowly, like a poison, and so is lamented more than confronted. That is the danger of modern democratic governments as they mature. Without a king and formal aristocracy, most people don’t realize how limited they are in determination of their own affairs or how precarious those freedoms are under the whims of replaceable officials.

    The only sure way to live with limited government is to live where bureaucracies won’t notice you. A town council or HOA can be almost as burdensome as a state agency.

    • #7
  8. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    A town council or HOA can be almost as burdensome as a state agency.

    More so.

    Seawriter

    • #8
  9. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    Sing it!

    • #9
  10. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    As for the tyranny of local gov’t, yeah, that’s a big problem. It’s always going to be an argument against federalism.

    • #10
  11. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    A town council or HOA can be almost as burdensome as a state agency.

    More so.

    Seawriter

    Absolutely, but ultimately they are accountable while state and federal agency employees are not.  And one can leave.  What one sees in these little tyrannies is just how petty and narrow some people can be.  The same sorts exist well beyond our reach in the Federal and State bureaucracy not to mention some businesses.   One of my nieces just yesterday was denied a loan to complete the remodel because, since she had already gutted the kitchen, her house was substandard because it didn’t have a kitchen.  Unlike government monopolies she can find a superior officer to fix the bureaucrat’s decision.

    • #11
  12. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    A town council or HOA can be almost as burdensome as a state agency.

    More so.

    Seawriter

    I could not possibly like this post enough!!❤️❤️❤️❤️??????

    i have to point out , since this comment mentions HOAs:  these are officious, meddlesome organizations staffed with busybody, student-council types,  to which people voluntarily submit control of their lives and their property.  Get it?  They do so by private contract!

    Why do they put up with it? It seems to be, : just in case they themselves ever wanna dictate terms to their neighbors.

    (There is an argument that “planned communities” are now so ubiquitous that you can’t buy a home at all except in one  of these  restricted developments, so the agreement to abide by the declaration, bylaws and rules’ regs is an unconscionable contract of adhesion…)

    • #12
  13. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    There is an argument that “planned communities” are now so ubiquitous that you can’t buy a home at all except in one of these restricted developments, so the agreement to abide by the declaration, bylaws and rules’ regs is an unconscionable contract of adhesion…

    Quilter and I bought a house in League City, TX which is in an area without a homeowners association. Nice neighborhood, too. No neighborhood pool, but a good set of neighbors. After Hurricane Ike power was out on one side of the street, but not the other. Until power came back on both sides of the street, people on the side with power ran extension cords across the street to neighbors opposite them so they could run their refrigerators.

    Seawriter

    • #13
  14. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Well put. HUmans do want to bully. It makes them feel big. Only people who normally feel big have no need to bully.

    How about humans who are comfortable with their size (John Adams and Sun Yat-sen)

    • #14
  15. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    You are not smart enough to tell me how to live.

    — Kathy Shaidle

    • #15
  16. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    I’m fascinated with the part about not regulating shortterm rentals.  I’m a land use lawyer.  Here in the Poconos, recently this has become a big issue.

    I think under traditional zoning principles it cannot be regulated.  If the area is zoned residential, then weekend house parties are permitted.  No matter whether the owner’s family, or a renter, is having the party, the land use is exactly the same.  And land use is the only subject municipalities are to be concerned with–the “public health, safety and welfare”.

    But a local township recently passed an ordinance regulating STRs, over a lot of opposition.  To my amazement, the opposition was not from property owners objecting to restriction of their use of their property; it was from people objecting that this would legitimize the right to use one’s property in any way one chose, inter alia,  to rent it out on weekends.

    so, IDK: Maybe we’re getting the government we deserve.

    • #16
  17. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    What a touchstone quote!

    This will ring the bell and keep resonating with every conservative.

    Every liberal will cock his or her head like a flummoxed German Shepherd.

    • #17
  18. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Sea,

    What a fabulous quote and what a great law. Texas is ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to common sense.

    Thanks for making us aware of both.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #18
  19. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen
    @BrianClendinen

    That  is one of my all time favorite  quotes. In Flordia a law just went into effect that only the state could regulate  ride sharing. I think it might of included taxis also. So orlando intl airport now cam get pick ups because the authority can’t regulate them now.

    I have thought  for a while now we need laws like this at the federal level. If a federal law is going to state a minimum standard then they need to limit how much a state can regulate  over and above that.

    Also some states might be different  but we need a law like that when it comes to police  departments. In Florida the metropolitan areas are made up off hundreds of small towns. Often the biggest city the area is named after barely has 10% of the areas population in its city limit. In Florida I can only name a few citities that really are big enough to justify them having their own police force verse it just being the county sheriff.

    Every little town having it’s own police department  can results in unaccountable police harresment because who they mess with are almost never in the departments head (mayor or council) voting area. At lest almost all the bad police departments  and stories I hear of in Florida are from a few small departments. That or the mayor is in charge of the police. I think all departments should be run by an elected person whose only job is to run the department.

     

     

    • #19
  20. Rocket Surgeon Inactive
    Rocket Surgeon
    @RocketSurgeon

    That’s one of my favorite quotes.

    And hurray for Texas Legislature – we could use some of that stripping around here (the PNW) too

    • #20
  21. John Hanson Thatcher
    John Hanson
    @JohnHanson

    Does the law ban the same by Homeowners associations?

    • #21
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Well put. HUmans do want to bully. It makes them feel big. Only people who normally feel big have no need to bully.

    How about humans who are comfortable with their size (John Adams and Sun Yat-sen)

    John Adams has his own issues.

    • #22
  23. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    John Hanson (View Comment):
    Does the law ban the same by Homeowners associations?

    No. Because they are private covenants.

    Seawriter

    • #23
  24. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    You know what the irony of the local bag ban is?  I drive out of my way to avoid having to shop at a grocery store that has to adhere to that regulation, to a grocery store where I would be forced to buy yet another canvas bag that I’ll forget in my pantry as soon as I’ve unloaded the milk.  I have so many canvas bags.  And I use the plastic bags I get from where I do shop to pick up my dog’s poop, so….

    If I have to shop at a grocery store with no paper (!!!) or plastic option, I will not buy everything I might want.  I get the bare essentials.  It costs that store money because I am just so resentful of the bag thing.  I hate myself for glowering at the cashier who asks if I want to buy bags, but… the glower starts before I even reach the register.

     

    • #24
  25. Dominique Prynne Member
    Dominique Prynne
    @DominiquePrynne

    One of my concerns on this is that, right now, Texas has a “red” state government and the muni’s in question often have a “blue” flavor (Calling Austin, Houston, Dallas….)  but what happens when we get a “blue” state government that exercises this same level of pre-emption?  We won’t be so happy about it then!

    • #25
  26. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Dominique Prynne (View Comment):
    One of my concerns on this is that, right now, Texas has a “red” state government and the muni’s in question often have a “blue” flavor (Calling Austin, Houston, Dallas….) but what happens when we get a “blue” state government that exercises this same level of pre-emption? We won’t be so happy about it then!

    That is certainly a good point, Dominique, and it’s one that should be considered.  How much “local control” do we really want?

    • #26
  27. Vectorman Inactive
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    In the 1950’s, the “bag boys” were taught how to put stiff/heavy items on the bottom (like cans) and soft/delicate items (like bread) on top. It isn’t rocket science.

    To reduce plastic bag usage, encourage the purchaser to bag their own groceries. I can bag anywhere from 2 to 5 times the number of items than the store staff. They like to double bag two quarts in two different bags whereas you can get all 4 quarts in one bag if you’re careful and don’t unnecessarily jerk the bag.

    Many of us “conservatives” really know how to conserve, like organizing our driving trips, keeping items in good working order, reusing temporary cups to the maximum extent, etc.

    • #27
  28. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Vectorman (View Comment):
    In the 1950’s, the “bag boys” were taught how to put stiff/heavy items on the bottom (like cans) and soft/delicate items (like bread) on top. It isn’t rocket science.

    That was still being taught in the 1980’s.

    • #28
  29. jzdro Member
    jzdro
    @jzdro

    Thank you so much, Seawriter. Would you please let us know if this bill becomes State law?

    • #29
  30. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    jzdro (View Comment):
    Thank you so much, Seawriter. Would you please let us know if this bill becomes State law?

    Sure. I’ll post an update.

    Seawriter

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.