Friday, January 10, 2014

In search of liberal Browncoats

I’m not going to hold my breath waiting. Because in the current American political environment, liberalism and authoritarianism are synonymous. - John Hayward/Red State @Doc_o

A few days ago, I was chatting with a friend of liberal persuasion about the cult-classic TV series ◼ “Firefly” – which, particularly in its concluding theatrical film, is one of pop culture’s strongest parables about libertarianism and rebellion against authority. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it was a science-fiction program about a space-faring band of lovable rogues, some of whom fought in a losing rebellion against their totalitarian government. The rebels were known as “Browncoats,” which also became a nickname for fans of the show.

My liberal friend, noting that the creator of “Firefly,” Joss Whedon, is outspokenly of the Left himself, suggested that perhaps liberal and conservative anti-authoritarians might have more common ground than they realize. It’s an interesting common ground upon which to begin a dialogue. If we agree on reducing the level of authority over our lives, surely we could set aside some of our differences over why we “aim to misbehave,” to borrow a memorable “Firefly” quote. Or, at the very least, we could agree that we don’t want any more authoritarian control, regardless of whether the prospective tyrants claim they would use their new power for causes of the Left or Right.

I’ll be more than happy to join in that dialogue, just as soon as someone points me at the liberal Browncoats. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting. Because in the current American political environment, liberalism and authoritarianism are synonymous. Nothing about the Left’s agenda is a suggestion. Obedience is mandatory, and escape is impossible. When a person of liberal inclination loses interest in using compulsive force, he stops being liberal, under the current definitions of the term....

Many of the people who identify themselves as “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” are essentially saying that they believe social issues should be topics of discussion, rather than matters of compulsive obedience. ”Keep the Democrats out of our wallets, and the Republicans out of our bedrooms,” as another friend of mine is wont to put it.

But in case you haven’t noticed, the Democrats are in our bedrooms now, too. They’ve got a past-due bill for other peoples’ contraceptives they expect you to pay, and they don’t want to hear about your religious conscience. The fashionable new argument that refusing to subsidize something equals “denying access” is inherently compulsive. You’re not allowed to refuse, no matter what, because the elites have decided what its good for us, and everyone is required to accept their decision. If that’s not “authoritarianism,” I don’t know what is....