L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 82, July 24, 2000
by John Hoffman
Special to TLE
I recently had one of the most enlightening discussions in my life, about the past and current politics of the United States. It's something I never would've expected to come from my mother.
I'd called her one evening, after watching Mel Gibson's latest opus, "The Patriot". I opined it was something she should see. Unfortunately, my father wouldn't want to watch a 3-hour-long movie, and she'd rather not go alone. I told her how interesting it was, seeing how life was in the 18th century, and she said she was glad I saw the movie; that she didn't think I'd learned very much about the American Revolution in history class. I told her jokingly that I learned quite a bit about the revolution in class, but very little about the Civil War, where it was basically reduced to "fought to free the slaves."
Then she said to me, "well, the Civil War was fought to free the slaves."
That ground me to a halt. Haltingly I stated that slavery was the smallest part of the Civil War, and was already on the way out; that the Confederate States formed because they felt the US central government was meddling too much in their internal affairs, placing burdens on them they didn't deserve. She said, "oh, really", in that tone of voice meaning you don't quite believe what you're hearing.
I'm not certain exactly what direction the conversation followed from there, having been thrown for a minor loop. It might've had something to do with an upcoming cross-country trip to go visit them. In any case, I wound up cautioning her, that having a large amount of cash around is asking for it to be confiscated.
She didn't believe it.
I went into what's been going on recently with asset forfeiture, that people are losing their homes, cars, and cash, without even being charged with a crime.
Her response? "Maybe in Texas, or Tennessee, or somewhere in the South, but not here [New York]. And what if you're carrying it?"
I told her that, yes, if you have a bulge in your pocket, it's considered grounds for being searched. That if you carrying a significant amount of cash in your car, it should be in a locked compartment, so that it can't be opened without permission or a search warrant.
I could hear the gears grinding in her head, over the phone. She's not a stupid person; having scored a perfect 800 on the verbal portion of the Scholastic Aptitude Test, back when it was REALLY a test, she went on to receive a medical degree from a laureled university, becoming one of the first few women doctors.
Finally she replied. "Well, when the government starts doing those sorts of things, it'll be time for another revolution."
My jaw dropped, and I decided to drop the topic, also. The government has ALREADY started doing it!
Could the older generation be so thoroughly ignorant, both of history and current events? Is this why they ignore how current politicians are taking the low road, getting lower every election? Is there a fnord good reason fnord why they aren't fnord getting the news fnord?
My mother knows I'm politically an extremist; now I know she doesn't understand why. It's time she learned. It's time we all learned, before it's too late.