ISSUES IN FOCUS
Week of August 16, 1998
TURNING MEN INTO FROGS
Once upon a time, according to the children’s fairy tale, an evil sorceress placed a curse upon a prince, transforming him into a frog. The prince was later saved by a princess who kissed the frog, releasing the prince from his curse, and turned him back into a man. Reversing the happy ending of this fairy tale, the dominant philosophies of the 20th century have placed the kiss of death upon the minds of many, if not most, Americans, transforming them into the human equivalent of a frog.
You have likely heard the apocryphal story of the laboratory experiment with frogs. I cannot verify whether such an experiment ever took place, but the story illustrates an important point. Supposedly, the scientists dropped a frog into a shallow container of boiling water. To no one’s surprise, the frog jumped out. Then, according to the story, they placed a frog into a similar container of cold water and gradually turned up the temperature, one degree at a time. The frog remained in the water and eventually died from the heat. The action of this frog describes, in principle, the mentality of those who fail to think in principles and explains why the incremental approach used by statists has been so successful: without grasping the principle of an action or statement, it is impossible to see what is coming down the road.
I have recently received some grim illustrations of the frog mentality in the form of responses to my article, Forbidden Words, in which I warned that the Shays-Meehan bill will bring us widespread restrictions on freedom of speech.
Some have claimed that I have exaggerated the extent of the restrictions, declaring that Shays-Meehan "only" restricts paid advertisements and "only" bans so-called soft money, that these restrictions will not apply to web sites, to your e-mail, to Rush Limbaugh or to other means of communication. Such comments reveal a mind unable to grasp, in this legislation, the principle involved—which is: to ban a single form of communication establishes the precedent that any form of communication may be banned.
Once such a precedent has been established (it already has been; Shays-Meehan only takes it to the next, logical step), logic takes over and causes the ban on communication to be applied to another means of expression, then to another and another—and on and on, until all forms of expression are banned and/or controlled by the state. It may take years for statists to eventually carry the principle in Shays-Meehan to its ultimate and ugly conclusion—total censorship—but with the help of the frog mentalities in America, statists will achieve this goal unless the basic principle driving them is rejected by a majority of Americans.
The only time the frog mentality will ever understand what has happened is when he is finally hauled off to jail for making a communication "expressing unmistakable and unambiguous support for or opposition to … candidates…" (Shays-Meehan). As long as the restrictions are imposed gradually, he never realizes what is going on.
In a recent discussion with someone about public education, I asked the following question: "Is your life, your money and your property yours, yours to live and use as you see fit?" The answer was: "Yes." Then I asked, "Does your neighbor have the right to come to your front door, with gun in hand, and demand money to pay for his kids’ education?" The immediate answer was: "No." That’s the good news about the conversation. The bad news? In the next breath, that person said he still thought there should be public education and, thereby, implicitly endorsed the idea that your life and money are not yours and that others have the right to forcibly take your money to pay for their children’s education, Such contradictions are only possible to a mind that fails to think in principles.
If you asked most Americans the questions I posed to this individual, they would likely answer in the affirmative. However, judging by the practical actions most sanction in the realm of politics, you would never know they believe their life and money are theirs.
And this brings us back to Shays-Meehan. This bill bans the expenditure of so-called soft money. No one disputes this fact. Soft money is generally defined as funds expended in behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate without his cooperation. To understand the principle here, you must take statists literally, take them at their word. Taken literally, "soft money" can be, and eventually will be, applied to any expenditure for or against a candidate—and this includes money spent advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show, money you spend on your web site, on your e-mail or any other means of communication.
The frog mentalities will claim that such expenditures will not be banned, but merely regulated. Forever clueless, they ignore that a regulation is a legal prohibition and/or command of action. To prohibit is to ban a certain action and, in this case, it is the use of your money for certain forms of expression.
If these frogs are not transformed into Man, into human beings who can grasp principles, America’s freedom will eventually croak
August 16, 1998
For the full text of the Shays-Meehan Bill go to Horror Story.
To see if your Representative voted for Shays-Meehan and for a sample letter to send to protest the passage of this Act go to TAKE ACTION!
© Copyright 1998 Fulton Huxtable
MAKE A DIFFERENCE. TAKE ACTION!
To read more by Fulton Huxtable, go to Fatal Blindness: America's Decades of Declining Freedom and The Rise of Its Dictators.
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