A Voice in the Wilderness In Defense of "Mere Conservatism"


Battered Citizen Syndrome

By: R.J. Moeller

My father has been a pastor and marriage counselor for nearly three decades and through the years has heard countless stories that go something like this:

Woman marries (or shacks up with) Man.  Things are great for a while.  Eventually Woman comes to learn that Man has a proclivity to abuse those closest to him.  Whether we’re talking physically, verbally, emotionally – it’s all abuse.  Woman’s friends and relatives tell her to split for her safety and/or sanity.  Instead, Woman lashes out at concerned friends and relatives and insists on staying in abusive relationship.  Woman fears being alone, fears being financially independent, and fears the abuse is deserved.

We all know people trapped in varying degrees of unhealthy relationships that refuse to acknowledge that the jig is up and a change is needed.  There are always excuses that someone trapped in scenarios such as this can make to justify staying in it longer than they should.  Some of those excuses are legitimate, and some – not so much.

But the guy can be really nice…He pays for everything…Where would I find a job to support myself?...He wasn’t always like this…I can be too demanding and unappreciative of what he does for me…Other couples have problems like this too…I can make this work…We just need a fresh start.

Human beings are able to convince themselves of anything.

When you are dating someone who turns out to be abusive, you can walk away.  But after certain points in a relationship, namely marriage and having children, the ability to leave, the simplicity of just cutting all ties, becomes understandably (and appropriately) more complicated.  Divorce and custody battles are the familial revolutions a spouse escaping abuse must be willing to pursue if they (and their kids) are to have any chance at real freedom, peace, and prosperity.

But divorce and custody battles are the last option anyone wants to pursue.  Those things may in fact be necessary, but they are not desirable.  They are devastating and painful, and require a great deal of courage and emotional fortitude.  They are points of “No Return.”

If such traumatic events could have been avoided, anyone who has lived through them would have done anything to do so.

America: we have that chance right now.

The relationship between the citizen and the type of government envisioned by President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid is an abusive one.  It is an unhealthy one.  It is a disastrous one.  It is soul-destroying and economy-crippling.

Just like the abusive dating or marriage relationship, the relationship between the citizen and his or her government in a nation that controls everything from education to health care usually starts off on an attractive, positive note.  Workers are wooed with promises of better, more secure jobs.  Parents are seduced with federally-funded pre-K through graduate school education for their children.  Everyone gets cheaper, higher quality health care and costs (magically) will not rise.

Ulysses never knew such deceptively-alluring siren calls.

Who wouldn’t love to hear that their job is etched in federally-mandated stone?  What student isn’t looking to pass the buck on the staggering debt that accrues after obtaining the higher education near-necessary to “succeed” in this cut-throat world we live in?  How could someone in good conscience turn down health care that is both superior in quality and cheaper in cost?

The honeymoon a citizenry shares with socially engineered collectivism is oh so sweet.

But after all of the courting with pie-in-the-sky pledges has ended, and the emotional buzz of initial infatuation has subsided, what always ends up happening is this: the citizenry quickly realizes their federal lover not only snores loud at night and leaves wet towels in a mold-inducing ball on the bathroom floor, but that Big Brother intends to perpetually bloat in size and scope into nearly every aspect of their lives.  All of this is of course done in the name of “progress”, “compassion”, and my personal favorite, “social justice”.  (Does “social” honesty, or “social” humility, exist as well?)

The road to emotional serfdom for an abused spouse who cannot (or will not) sever ties is traveled one denial at a time.  The same is true of the citizen in a once-freer nation who begins to witness the decay of personal liberties and the erosive power of systematic corruption among the ranks of their elected leaders and refuses to recognize the encroaching enslavement for what it is.  There is always someone else to blame or something else to excuse away the actions of people in power who promised us the world, but ended up taking our souls.

They don’t really mean to takeover 1/6 of the U.S. economy via health care “reform”…All politicians conduct flagrantly unethical buy-offs of other members of congress to enact massive, transformational pieces of legislation…We deserve welfare because of what white people in the South did decades and centuries ago…I won’t be able to feed my kids breakfast without free government meals at school…The reason public schools are so bad is because greedy Republicans won’t let the kindhearted Democrats spend more of those rich peoples’ money on them…Trans-fats are bad for you anyway…Guns kill people; people don’t…George W. Bush was such a dummy and didn’t care about minorities…Barack Obama seems like such a nice man, and he promised me he’d pay for my cell phone bills if I voted for him.

When they turn out to be unhealthy to be around, or a threat to the vitality and freedom of your society and government, we don’t like to admit that the people we picked to be our significant others (or elected representatives) are in fact cruel and dangerous (or at the very least, wildly incompetent).  We’d rather suffer in silence or blame others than accept the fact that we were either swindled by someone who misrepresented themselves or were too smitten (or lazy) to notice (and investigate) the warning signs.hurricane-katrina

Nowhere is this unwillingness to appreciate how much harm your bedfellows have caused you clearer than in the half-century long relationship between the black community and liberal Democrat politicians, especially in urban areas like Chicago, New Orleans and Detroit.

It doesn’t matter that liberal Democrats have dominated the political power structure in a city like New Orleans for 50 to 60 years as jobs fled from higher taxes, more of the people they claimed to be helping ended up on the government dole, and corruption reached mafia-like levels.  It doesn’t matter that hard work, self-sacrifice, and personal responsibility are the characteristics that typify not only inner-city black kids who achieve success in life, but white kids from the suburbs as well.

What does matter is that liberal Democrats from Berkley to Boston feel good about themselves for promoting bigger and bigger government budgets and programs.  What matters is that race be injected in to every single solitary socio-political discussion to intimidate whites and keep blacks voting “D” every two and four years.

God help the black student or teacher at a public school or university who publicly espouses conservative or libertarian beliefs.  Like any scorned lover who hears in their significant other’s voice that he or she is beginning to figure out they don’t have to take the abuse anymore, committed big-government liberals launch cruel and unparalleled personal attacks on any member of a minority group that dares to question the conventional Leftist wisdom.

But I’m no heartless jerk.  I completely understand why so many people who currently depend on government assistance continue to vote the way they do.  But that doesn’t make it right, or even desirable, for those people stuck in an abusive citizen-government relationship to keep putting off confronting the reality that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  I fully appreciate that there are actually more white people on Food Stamps than blacks or Latinos, so unhealthy dependency on Big Brother is not merely a race-based phenomenon.  It’s a collectivist, socialist, Leftist, modern American liberal Democrat phenomenon.  It’s a European phenomenon.

Examples of the negative effects of injurious relationships between a citizen and their over-controlling government abound.  People living in socialist and socialist-like countries give less of their time and money to charity because their taxes are so high and the assume the government will take care of those in need.  The number one predictor of adult poverty is having been born into a single-parent home, a situation exponentially more common for someone with parents who are financially-dependent on the government themselves.  Patients under socialized medicine in countries like Canada wait longer for inferior health care, and you are nearly 20% more likely to die from cancer north of the border than in the United States.

The reason the health care debate that has been raging for the better part of a year is so incredibly important is simple: socialized medicine, the only logical conclusion of the current “reforms” being promulgated by the White House and leadership in Congress, is a threshold that once crossed can never be reversed.  It forever and unalterably changes the relationship between the free American citizen and his or her government.  It is an entitlement that, short of another depression, will never be repealed.

Panels and commissions comprised of life-long bureaucrats in Washington D.C. oversee the most intimate, personal information in your life.  The salaries and placement of doctors are set by “experts” thousands of miles away.  Surgeries and procedures are ranked in order of importance, and should you find yourself stuck with an unpopular ailment, you wait because they tell you to wait.  Rich people still get the best doctors, as they always will (a reality people need to grow up and accept), but the median quality of care diminishes as the costs (largely due to inefficiency and rampant corruption) continue to skyrocket.  Companies who have been inventing the life-saving medicines we all enjoy are punished for their “greedy” profits, and therefore have less incentive to take the risks they do.   No longer is the government a safety net and umpire; Uncle Sam becomes both umpire and entire 9-man roster on the field.

And worst of all: health care and medical issues become politicized.  People on welfare vote for politicians that promise more welfare.  This isn’t rocket science, folks.  Every politician, out of necessity, will be forced to promise more and more free lunches that they don’t know how to make and don’t have the ingredients to prepare.  As the great Alexis de Tocqueville put it nearly 200 years ago: “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”

For Obamacare to work, we would have to trust ourselves to be monastically prudent in what we demand of the government agencies running health care, and trust our elected leaders to be more cost-effective, efficient, and honorable than any governing body has in human history.

As of the writing of this column, we’re still just courting the idea of handing over so much control of our lives to the federal government.  No legislative vows have been exchanged.  We still have time to walk away, and walk towards real solutions to the rising costs of health care.

I know how hard it can be to discern where an idea (or relationship) will lead you (or your country) 5, 10, or 50 years from now; but please believe me when I say that by calling and emailing your congressmen and senators to voice your opposition to the Obama health care debacle, you will be avoiding the economic and political abuse and suffering that will most certainly follow its passage.

Act now, act boldly, and find the candidates in 2010 who are serious about upholding the Constitution, who preach and practice fiscal responsibility, and who are gutsy enough to tell their Party’s leaders “No!” when presented with bribes, kick-backs, and sweetheart deals in exchange for their vote.

You don’t deserve a government that mistreats you and your hard-earned tax dollars…unless you allow it to keep perpetrating the same harms on you and your neighbors.  You can help end the madness.

Do it now, because believe when I say that you’re not going to like what it will take to beat back a suffocating government further down the road.

Comments (17) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Will be crossing posting to Patriot’s Corner
    with links back to VOW.

  2. As stated above, “Excellent, excellent, excellent!” Another fine installment.

  3. This is a superb commentary on the real reasons for opposition, not the simplistic opposition of some on the very far right. I am grateful a friend sent me this post. It is morally sound and reasonable in every way.

  4. This is extremely eloquent. You are a Thomas Paine of our times.

  5. You should be published on American Thinker. Why not contact them? Being published at AT will increase your traffic here. I never knew about you until someone on Town Hall published a link to this column.

  6. Thank you so much for the wonderfully written article…I will send everyone a link.

  7. Im a die hard Patriot but your essey starts off really good but turns almost to a hate anything not white because they leach off the system. keep the stero types out man because you dont want to give use Patriots bad rep.

  8. Ammon-

    I think you missed the point and intent of RJ’s essay. His reference to minorities has nothing to do with them being inferior or flawed or anything of the sort. To deny that minorities, especially blacks, are not caught in a devastating relationship with the federal and state governments (represented politically by the Left) is to deny reality. It’s not racial or racist to point that out. RJ gave other examples of unhealthy relationships that already exist between our ever-expanding govt and other groups of Americans.

    Socialism and collectivism are the problem…not races or creeds.

    Wonderful column this week, RJ. Powerful.

  9. I too linked over from Town Hall due to someones mention of this article. As said already, excellent and simple description of how dependency grows.

  10. Simply put… this is AWESOME! I will spread this around to my friends. Praises and thanks to the author.

  11. Brilliant. Outstanding. Powerful. This is one of the most compelling works of opinion I have read in recent memory.

  12. Guys and gals-

    I really, really appreciate the kind words that have been said here about this column of mine. God bless, and please keep reading (and sending traffic to) this site!!!

  13. Bravo!!! I’ve recognized this syndrome for many years and also equated it to my own experiences. True freedom can be scary but the exhilaration makes you feel alive. Slavery through entitlement makes one dull….how on earth do you change that which is generations old?
    Happy I found your site…good stuff.

  14. Thoughtful, compassionate, insightful, well written post. I arrived at your site via a link on Town Hall. Your site will be saved to my favorites. I intend to share this post with family and friends and will send them a link to your site. Thanks for being born with common sense and the ability to share it. Unfortunately, the thoughtful and honest warning you trumpeted went unheeded, and Obamacare is now the law of the land. State sovereignty may be our best hope to stave off this march to national mediocrity or worse.

  15. This is one of the most significant and eloquent posts that I have read regarding the precarious positon the Democrats in Washington are placing our country in, and the clever and rascist, yes rascist manner in which they accomplish it.
    As a mixed race American raised in foster care in Compton, Ca. in the turbulent sixties, I have experienced everything from the Black Panthers to the Black Eyed Peas. The “free government cheese program” cycle that blacks, hispanics, and poor whites become dependent on, and feel entitiled to, only serve to stagnate their initiative in education and society, and drives them even deeper into the arms of their liberal benefactors. Generations today now feel they are entitled to whatever the government is willing to give them for “free”, and many do not contribute to the tax-base, so for them…it is free!Now, health-care is free (they believe), and all the “Great Liberal Benefactors” want is your vote, and as always, from this co-dependent voting block…they will also benefit. It is our responsibility as Constitutional Conservatives to insure that these votes are overwhelmed by ours, and to continually see through the “smoke screen” and
    subterfuge that the “Great Benefactors” (Democrats) continue to propulgate.

  16. Wow. This is Krauthammer level stuff.

    I plan to print and pass this out to friends.

    It is my first time here and I plan to bookmark this site alongside National Review, Mark Steyn, Heritage and Townhall.

  17. The bigger the government, the bigger the abuse.

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