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'We Have to Regulate Every Aspect of People's Lives'

Blond man in suit cuts large symbolic red tape with dignitaries behind him.

A Santa Barbara city councilman inadvertently let slip the primary purpose of progressivism in 21st century America.

The city recently criminalized the use of plastic straws. Speaking to that issue, Councilman Jesse Dominguez said, “Unfortunately, common sense is just not common. We have to regulate every aspect of people’s lives.”

Got that? "We" are smarter than you and know what's best for you better than you do.

Perhaps realizing that his comment revealed a fundamental truth of progressive thought, Dominguez tried to walk back his gaffe:

The comment sparked an immediate backlash from people who read the quote in Noozhawk and other local media, wondering “did he really say that?” Yes, he did, and on Tuesday, Dominguez apologized for the comment.

“I just wanted to apologize,” Dominguez said at the beginning of the meeting. “A few weeks ago I made a string of words in a rhetorical fashion about regulation and they were not taken as rhetorical and that’s my fault so I want to apologize.”

A "string of words in a rhetorical fashion"? Try again, kid.

Steven Hayward:

Now, we do have to admit that the good councilman has a point about Santa Barbara citizens lacking common sense. He’s on the city council, after all. Sort of an inversion of the great rhetorical question both Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan liked to ask: “Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?”

But “string of words”? I know of a new editorial board member at the New York Times who will buy that, but otherwise I think everyone can understand exactly what the councilman believes. That “string of words” combines into a noose for individual liberty. And common sense. Here’s to hoping the voters of Santa Barbara recover their common sense and pull the string on Dominguez (and his “words”) at the next election, along with the other five knuckleheads who voted for the plastic straw ban.

The essence of all politics is power. The essence of power is control. Who do we want exercising power/control over our daily affairs?

In our republic, it is the individual who should be free to exercise control over his daily life as long as that control or exercise thereof does no harm to anyone else. That is the essence of individual liberty and has made America an exceptional nation among nations.

But for the entirety of our history, the individual has been at war with the state over the question of liberty vs. control. In a rational society, there are sacrifices individuals make for the good of the community. Liberty, after all, must have limits or anarchy reigns. So for 230 years, we have battled each other over differing concepts of individual liberty and the limits of state power.

Lately, individual liberty has been getting squeezed by a cadre of statists who believe they have been born with the right to tell everyone else what to do and how to live their lives. To enforce this belief, they have hijacked the enormous power of the state, nibbling away at individual rights in the name of "community."

They couch their tyranny in soothing words, but the result is catastrophic for liberty. In truth, many Americans have abandoned ideas like personal responsibility and freedom of choice. It's so much easier to be told what to do -- to be ordered around like children.

So, in a very real sense, Councilman Dominguez may have "let the mask slip" to reveal his true intent, but will probably be re-elected anyway. Thus, we can answer Ben Franklin's famous warning about our republican form of government.

Sorry, Ben. We couldn't keep it.