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First they came…

In to the Wind

February 27, 2013
By Mike Gilchrist , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

I am still struggling to finish my column regarding John Pat Leavy. I hope to have it finishes for next week. Here is one of my favorites.

First they came

My more astute and loyal readers know your columnist is a Jeffersonian Libertarian philosophically. It has taken a lifetime of reading, analysis, and logic to arrive at this current political station.

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I feel that any affront to the US Constitution, or to the rights of the citizen, either singularly or as a group is wrong. Government should stay out of our personal business, not legislate morality, and not try to protect us from ourselves.

Your columnist went on record in this space against what was the first action on the part of our new Governor, John Culver to tax tobacco at an obscene rate in this state. You don't have to be a smoker to be alarmed at the precedent such legislation sets.

When any group goes after a smaller group, or when someone larger and stronger goes after a smaller person, each instance should be regarded as bullying. Smokers, as a group, either by not speaking out, or because their clout was too small in the face of anti-smoking frenzy were not able to squash the legislation.

Here was an example of the masses or lawmakers attempting to protect a segment of society from themselves. Any such attempt by any government should worry everybody. When will they come after your personal habit or lifestyle? If all of us aren't safe from government meddling in our affairs, then none of us is safe.

Our own Federal Government tried that early in the last century when the majority decreed the evils of drink warranted an amendment to the US Constitution. The Eighteenth Amendment or Prohibition was written into the books. It wasn't until the Twenty First Amendment, that government decided you couldn't legislate morality and prohibition was repealed.

And affronts to our personal liberties aren't the exclusive domain of the liberals either. Certain long standing personal liberties were "modified" at the insistence of the Bush Administration post 9-11. If the government declared you were a subversive or enemy combatant, you could be stripped of your due process liberties as guaranteed in the Fourteenth Amendment. After passage of the "patriot act," United States citizens can now be spied upon and even held indefinitely without facing any formal charges.

The difference here is that the conservative mind can argue that such actions are necessary in this day and age to preserve the sanctity of the nation and protect us from an external threat. The liberal mind however continues to dream up ways to protect the citizen from themselves.

Political correctness or PC is just such a mindset. We are all so careful these days to dance around certain subjects for fear we might insult some group. Political correctness includes, these days, removing any mention of God or secular holidays for fear we might offend the atheists, agnostics or the Druids. The dance we do is downhill on a very slippery slope.

A definition of political correctness passed my desk the other day. I decided these words are more succinct than I could muster, and in most regards reflect your columnist's views.

"Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

Little by little the majority stands by while the rights of the minority are whittled away. Our forefathers were acutely aware of the perils of such thinking. It was Benjamin Franklin who said," Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

And the little salt that "history repeats itself" should not be considered trite nor forgotten.

First they came" is a poem written by Pastor Martin Niemoller about the inactivity of the German majority during the Nazi rise to power and their elimination of "undesirable" minorities.

In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist;

And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist;

And then they came for the Jews, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew;

And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

Until next time-

You can read past columns by visiting and clicking on the "Local Columns" button.

In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2005 - 2013 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342.



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