Bob Barr

Add to this bizarre, but hardly isolated incident, one involving a Texas man very nearly denied his right to vote because he was wearing a t-shirt mentioning the Second Amendment. Lone Star State poll workers, apparently believing his shirt to constitute a violation of a state law prohibiting “campaigning” at polling locations, told the man he could not vote -- a fundamental American right -- until he turned his shirt inside-out. The “logic” displayed by these petty, and obviously not-very-bright poll workers, seemed to be that wearing the shirt to vote could have “intimidated” other voters. So, depriving the man of his right to vote and his right to free speech became more important than the scant possibility of another voter feeling uncomfortable about the Second Amendment . . . in Texas.

Meanwhile, evidence of actual voter intimidation by the Black Panthers, registers nary a yawn by the U.S. Department of Justice.

We are facing a serious problem in America. We are forgetting what it is like to be free. Where once our Founding Fathers fought a war to throw off the shackles of a true “Nanny State,” we now run from anything that fails to display a “Government Approved” stamp. This fear is corrupting our very appreciation for freedom. Rather than risk offending someone, or dare stoke a passionate response, communities from New York to Texas and California deal with even the slightest perceived disagreement by curbing individual rights.

Restricting individual rights has become the default posture by governments at all levels of our society.

Ayn Rand once noted that the smallest minority on earth is the individual. What Rand meant is that any person who does not first support the right of an individual cannot possibility claim to be a champion of minority rights. This is an important distinction to remember when addressing situations such as those noted above.

Were Quoodle alive today, he probably would caution that the “Nanny State” begins with a speed limit, but the “Warden State” ends with a total deprivation of personal freedom. Were we to shift gears and stop inviting government to intervene, and actually launch a “resist-the-Nanny” movement, we would actually begin the laudable effort to defeat a mass mentality that citizens need government to keep them safe from every boogeyman – real or perceived. We also would begin the process of preserving what precious little individual freedom still may be available in these United States.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.