by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A few years ago, a book titled “The Permission Society” explained how the country’s ruling class had turned our God-given liberties into privileges granted by government. Is it possible that the U.S. has gone even beyond and become a nation of the ruled? There’s more evidence to support that proposition than there is to refute it.
We’re reminded of this by a set of new rules to live by proposed by the Biden White House. Last month, the Energy Department announced it was taking public comments on efficiency standards for residential air conditioners and pool heaters that are intended to “to help consumers save on their utility bills.”
The “savings” angle, though, feels more like cover for the department’s deeper agenda, which is its “commitment to reaching net zero carbon emissions.”
The Democrats who for now dominate policy making in Washington believe there is nothing so private that they cannot regulate, nothing so personal that it can’t be intruded upon. The only question is the pace of the arrogation of our freedoms. They have to be taken down in increments, so that the country won’t notice the slippery slope toward tyranny. In many cases, often regarding energy and conservation policies, restrictions are even celebrated by the loudest factions to help numb the public to the constant attacks on liberty.
Timothy Sandefur, author of “The Permission Society,” and a vice president of the Goldwater Institute, has said one of the fundamental problems with living in a permission society “is that it violates the principle of equality.”
“Who,” he says, “has to ask permission?”
The answer, of course, is “an inferior has to ask permission of a superior.”
That certainly describes the country we live in. But more and more, our “superiors” are closing our options before we can even ask for approval.