|Issue #130 • July/August, 2011|
Most people look in the wrong places for threats to society, and their perceptions are easily manipulated by the mass media, which is often spoon-fed its stories by politicians and government bureaucrats who have a vested interest in having people look in the wrong places.
Just this morning I read a New York Times story about an Appalachian community in Ohio that was “home to some of the highest rates of prescription drug overdoses in the state” and that had “growing numbers of younger victims.” The story was an all-too-familiar government rant about drugs destroying families. Its cleverly selected anecdotes about children whose lives have been ruined by prescription drugs — “including a seventh grader” — may contain some truth, but in a society of 300 million there are always some poor souls destroying themselves with bad behavior.
The sources quoted in this story were some of the usual government misinformers: a health bureaucrat who warns, “Around here, everyone has a kid who is addicted,” a police chief who cautions, “We’re raising third and fourth generations of prescription drug abusers now,” and a state assemblyman who cries, “It’s the darkest, most malevolent thing you’ve ever seen.” And the usual government solutions have been proposed: new state and federal laws controlling prescription drugs, arrest and incarceration of offenders, and, of course, increased funding to do it all.
The story states that authorities are already making progress against the prescription drug problem by arresting doctors who prescribe them. One has already had his license revoked and another is on trial in federal court for “illegally dispensing prescription painkillers.” Unfortunately, the article complains, “the drugs are legal, and it is hard to prosecute the people selling them.” So the police chief has called for a “coordinated effort by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies,” Ohio Governor Kasich “declared the county a pilot project for combating addiction,” and the “Obama administration announced plans to fight prescription drug addiction nationally.”
Lord help us, the government and the bureaucrats are coming to the rescue again, this time to keep us safe from prescription drugs. The article even cites three elderly drug pushers — a 64-year-old veteran, a 74-year-old Social Security recipient, and a lady called Granny who is in her 70s and is selling prescription drugs out of her house. These old folks and their doctors, the government says, are all part of this new threat to society.
But some of us know what’s really going on. Big Government, in particular its obese drug enforcement underbelly, has too many bureaucrats with not enough to do. They need to justify their existence and appetite for our tax dollars, so they are following the business example of their more productive civilian counterparts by going out and creating more business for themselves.
This is the problem with government bureaucracies. Once they are in existence, they not only never go away but they expand into areas where they have no business. The current bureaucracy that enforces the government’s War on Drugs is left over from Prohibition. It didn’t go away once Prohibition ended, but merely changed its mission to combat marijuana, the devil weed that was threatening to destroy our youth. Now that the public is sick of the War on Marijuana, the bureaucracy needs a new enemy so they are trying to sell the public on the prescription drug menace. If it means carting Granny and her doctor off to jail, so what. It’s business!
Unfortunately for us freedom-lovers in society, there are enough easily misinformed voters around that the government will probably succeed in convincing them that “something must be done to save our children from this new threat.” Ordinary people who yesterday were law-abiding citizens will suddenly be deemed criminals for the sake of keeping the bureaucracy employed.
This is how government bureaucracies evolve, and how a tyrannical state ultimately emerges. Already, doctors are hesitant to prescribe many types of painkillers for their patients due to the undercurrent of suspicion the War on Prescription Drugs has created. Next time you need a painkiller for more than a month, ask your doctor to make your prescription renewable at the end of the normal one-month period. He most likely won’t; it is simply too risky to be labeled by the feds as a doctor who may “overprescribe” prescription drugs.
It’s a sad state of affairs in the formerly most-free country in the world, and I think it’s going to get worse. When these government bureaucrats are done terrorizing old folks and doctors, they’ll manufacture a new threat to keep themselves employed, and the cycle will continue until enough people understand that their turn to be a target of our unnecessary and underemployed government bureaucracy could be next.
All too few of us understand that the real threat to a free society comes from the society’s own government and its ever-growing bureaucracy which must always be on the hunt for money to feed itself. It needs domestic enemies, so it preys on the rest of us like a pack of wolves among a flock of sheep.
Our military just killed bin Laden, who was a real threat to our society, but all the while we have been hunting him, our domestic army — the bureaucracy — has been waging a guerilla war against us. Today it’s Granny and her doctor, tomorrow it will be you.