The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave

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The Thing That Wouldn't Leave

by baldilocks

Whether it’s the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion or the deseg­re­ga­tion of the Armed Forces or Brown v. Board of Edu­ca­tion or the Civil Rights and Vot­ing Rights Acts, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has seemed to be on the side of the black Amer­i­can as his con­sti­tu­tional rights were being sup­pressed by state or local gov­ern­ments. (Con­ve­niently for­got­ten are Dred Scott v. San­ford and Plessy v. Fer­gu­son, the lat­ter of which was reverse by Brown.) Because of this his­tory, even many black Amer­i­cans who do not per­son­ally rely on the fed­eral gov­ern­ment still view the fed as our friend.

What needs to be spelled-​out, how­ever, is what the fed­eral gov­ern­ment actu­ally did in the above-​mentioned areas: it removed legal obsta­cles to the life, lib­erty and pur­suit of hap­pi­ness of Amer­i­cans who are black. And, that is what it was sup­posed to do.

How­ever, the Civil Rights Act went too far in the oppo­site direc­tion. It made dis­crim­i­na­tion in gov­ern­ment ser­vices – the word “pub­lic” is used– ille­gal, which was a good thing. How­ever, it also made it ille­gal for pri­vate busi­nesses to dis­crim­i­nate. Telling pri­vate busi­ness own­ers to whom they must sell goods and ser­vices is merely the flip-​side of Jim Crow.

Recall that Jim Crow laws man­dated that all pub­lic and pri­vate busi­nesses pro­vide sep­a­rate accom­mo­da­tions for race. That meant that even if a pri­vate busi­ness owner wanted to pro­vide inte­grated and equal goods and ser­vices, he/​she was for­bid­den to do so by law.

In light of this, it should not be a sur­prise that Chris­t­ian busi­ness own­ers are being forced to pro­vide goods and ser­vices to same-​sex cou­ples, under pain of pros­e­cu­tion. And, if the fed is allowed to man­date sell­ing, it can man­date buy­ing.

The present prob­lem is this: the fed­eral gov­ern­ment began over­step­ping its bounds dur­ing the Great Depres­sion and did so most infa­mously in the late six­ties via the Great Soci­ety pro­grams. Doing more that get­ting local racists out of the way, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment sought to and suc­ceeded in mak­ing itself the sup­plier of life, lib­erty and, puta­tively, the hap­pi­ness of many Amer­i­cans. (Try telling a senior of any race that Social Secu­rity has sent the coun­try into finan­cial ruin. You’ll get an ear­ful about her “rights” and about “her” money.) And by doing so, the fed set a prece­dent for today’s myr­iad meth­ods of over­reach into the lives of all cit­i­zens. It is the Honey Trap which was set for us all. LBJ pro­duced the Great Soci­ety; Oba­macare is the Great Invasion.

What’s needed, in order to change this per­cep­tion, is obvi­ous: edu­ca­tion – not a new edu­ca­tion but the old one, one which con­tains objec­tive expla­na­tions of the role of government.

Sim­ply put, the role of the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment is to remove obsta­cles to lib­erty of the Peo­ple – even when that obsta­cle is Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment itself. Sup­ply­ing all of one’s needs is not government’s role. That’s God’s purview.

But what to do about a gov­ern­ment that won’t get out of our lives?

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in baldilocks2009; the sec­ond edi­tion in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

by baldilocks

Whether it’s the Emancipation Proclamation or the desegregation of the Armed Forces or Brown v. Board of Education or the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, the federal government has seemed to be on the side of the black American as his constitutional rights were being suppressed by state or local governments. (Conveniently forgotten are Dred Scott v. Sanford and Plessy v. Ferguson, the latter of which was reverse by Brown.) Because of this history, even many black Americans who do not personally rely on the federal government still view the fed as our friend.

What needs to be spelled-out, however, is what the federal government actually did in the above-mentioned areas: it removed legal obstacles to the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of Americans who are black.  And, that is what it was supposed to do.

However, the Civil Rights Act went too far in the opposite direction. It made discrimination in government services–the word “public” is used– illegal, which was a good thing. However, it also made it illegal for private businesses to discriminate. Telling private business owners to whom they must sell goods and services is merely the flip-side of Jim Crow.

Recall that Jim Crow laws mandated that all public and private businesses provide separate accommodations for race. That meant that even if a private business owner wanted to provide integrated and equal goods and services, he/she was forbidden to do so by law.

In light of this, it should not be a surprise that Christian business owners are being forced to provide goods and services to same-sex couples, under pain of prosecution. And, if the fed is allowed to mandate selling, it can mandate buying.

The present problem is this: the federal government began overstepping its bounds during the Great Depression and did so most infamously in the late sixties via the Great Society programs.  Doing more that getting local racists out of the way, the federal government sought to and succeeded in making itself the supplier of life, liberty and, putatively, the happiness of many Americans.  (Try telling a senior of any race that Social Security has sent the country into financial ruin. You’ll get an earful about her “rights” and about “her” money.)  And by doing so, the fed set a precedent for today’s myriad methods of overreach into the lives of all citizens.  It is the Honey Trap which was set for us all. LBJ produced the Great Society; Obamacare is the Great Invasion.

What’s needed, in order to change this perception, is obvious: education–not a new education but the old one, one which contains objective explanations of the role of government.

Simply put, the role of the American government is to remove obstacles to liberty of the People–even when that obstacle is American government itself.  Supplying all of one’s needs is not government’s role.  That’s God’s purview.

But what to do about a government that won’t get out of our lives?

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published ibaldilocks2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!