L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 74, May 29, 2000
Going to Mass
by Tom Creasing
Special to TLE
Liberals have, for the most part, given up on traditional religion. But a majority of humans cannot, it seems, live without religion of some sort or other, requiring faith to survive (even atheists have faith that they're right, given that you cannot prove or disprove the supernatural with natural means). But Liberals are not averse to maintaining at least some of the old traditions, especially the tried and true ones, and one which they've been proud to hang onto is that of the mass. In fact, Liberals can only think in terms of mass, because to their minds it's easier to grasp a "mass" than it is to try to deal with individuals.
Take, for example, their emphasis on mass education. Not necessarily for themselves, of course (priests have often been exempt from the rules they give their flocks), but for the general population. Liberals wax enthusiastic about the benefits of public schooling which, to borrow from PJ O'Rourke, bears the same relation to real schooling that a public bathroom has to your bathroom at home. Nevertheless Liberals love to cram children into their regimented and ordered rows where they are taught to move in mass and to raise their hands to beg a person in authority for permission to engage in basic activities like eating, drinking, or using the (at their own risk) restrooms. Despite declining test scores and repeated wailings because the schools aren't producing educated results, Liberals immediately dig in their heels at any possible suggestion that parents and children should have some choice in where the children are educated. Vouchers, homeschooling, non-traditional academies - despite excellent reputations and results these are all denigrated by Liberals, because their faith requires them to believe that only in mass public education is there salvation, evidence to the contrary.
Another article of the Liberal faith in mass, and one shared with their Conservative rivals, is that of mass punishment. Remember back in your grade school days when somebody would, for instance, turn loose in the classroom a Great Spotted Suck Toad that had been captured on the playground? Presuming that nobody confessed and that the little red haired snitch in the back didn't squeal, you were all condemned to whatever punishment the Authority Figure In Charge chose to mete out. Frustrated with its inability to find the perpetrator, Authority would make everyone pay. Oftimes it would work, and somebody would squeal, though the result of several mass punishments was often an unintended lesson in conspiracy conduct - keep your cell group or groups small and trustworthy.
A corollary to this is another kindergarten great, the "somebody might misuse it, so nobody can have it" rule. Drugs and machine guns, an otherwise interesting combination, are indeed dangerous and subject to misuse. But even presuming that 10% of the population drives while stoned or commits drive by shootings with Browning Automatic Rifles, so what? That 10% -- or even 99% -- of a group misuses something does not entitle anyone to prohibit the remaining members of the group from enjoying the whatever-it-is. But again, it's an article of faith with Liberals that by prohibiting something that people will magically stop misusing it. It's an article of faith because scientific evidence sure contradicts the concept. Faith, though, is not subject to proof. Liberals know that if they just believe hard enough they'll solve the problem.
Liberals like the mass. Like a flock or herd, it's easier to work with and you don't have the moral and ethical dilemmas involved in trying to think of individuals and what's best for them (other than the individual shepherds, of course). Viewing themselves as the noble robed ministers to the downtrodden and victimized, they have no qualms about taking from other sheep in order to provide - with a small commission to themselves, of course. Let's just hope that they don't decide to adopt one more mass - the same sort of mass that Stalin and Mao used to try to make their Liberal religion stick - mass executions.