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For the Left to be shepherds, we must become sheep


People’s Republic of Santa Monica Hedges Freedom

For the Left to be shepherds, we must become sheep

Santa Monica, California, has decreed a fine of $2,500 a day for not cutting your hedges!

Has someone discovered some terrible health hazard or other danger from hedges that are too high? Not at all. The politicians who run Santa Monica have simply decided people should not be able to build a high wall of hedges around themselves.

Santa Monica has been called “the People’s Republic of Santa Monica” for the far left laws and rhetoric it generates. Like other governments called “people’s republic,” the last thing they care about is people. The ideology, or even whims, of those in power routinely take away other people’s right to live as they see fit.

Outsourcing Accountability

Santa Monica is not unique. Wherever you get enough far left people in power, you can find a similar willingness to force everyone into collectivist conformity at all costs.

Too often these selfish ego trips of the left are called idealism, and issues are discussed in terms of the wonderful goals they proclaim–“social justice,” “open space” or “saving” this or that–rather than in terms of what is actually being done and the costs entailed on others, even when that cost is $2,500 a day.

None of this is peculiar to the United States. The same mindset is more prevalent in a number of Western European countries and has been carried even further in practice.

In Britain, the right to defend yourself is being taken away in many ways. Gun control laws there have not only tightened restrictions on gun ownership–with the murder rate rising as they do–these laws ban anything that looks like a gun, especially if it is used in self-defense.

Britons who have held burglars in their homes until the police arrived, by using toy pistols, have been arrested along with the burglars. To the collectivist mindset, independent self-help is a threat to their vision of government as the sole source of protection and direction.

If someone attacks you in Britain and you knock him down, you are not allowed to hit him again or you will be charged with assault. Apparently they think someone who has been knocked down is now harmless. People who have led sufficiently sheltered lives may believe such things–and impose such notions on others through the power of government.

The British Broadcasting Corporation has even advised that you are not to yell “help” when you are attacked in a public place. You are to yell: “Call the police.”

Both self-defense and coming to the aid of others are lumped together as “vigilante” actions. That mindset has made inroads into the American media as well.

Years ago, Bernard Goetz was called “the subway vigilante” in the media because he shot some young hoodlums who attacked him directly. He had sat quietly minding his own business while the thugs harassed other people in the same subway car. But even to defend himself was “vigilante” action, as far as those in the liberal media were concerned.

The left takes its vision seriously–more seriously than it takes the rights of others. They want to be our shepherds. But that requires us to be sheep.

Even in raising our own children, the left wants to take charge–without taking responsibility. Schools have long ago taken over the role of introducing children to sex–when, how, and with whatever beliefs are in vogue. But, if your child ends up pregnant or stricken with AIDS, that is your problem, not theirs.

Making other people’s decisions for them without being held accountable for the consequences is the left’s vision in many different contexts–including outsourcing our foreign policy to the United Nations or to the International Court of Justice, whom nobody elected and whom nobody can hold accountable.

Hedges in Santa Monica are just one of the signs of our times. They want to cut our freedom down, not just hedges.

Written By

Dr. Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of "Applied Economics" and "Black Rednecks and White Liberals."

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