Today I'll be keeping my weekly radio date with Hugh Hewitt, coast to coast at 6pm Eastern/3pm Pacific.
Tomorrow Rush is out for the day so I'll be returning to the Golden EIB Microphone to guest-host America's Number One radio show. If you're near a receiving apparatus, I hope you'll join me for three hours of substitute-host-level Excellence in Broadcasting starting live at 12 noon Eastern. I'd imagine that the evaporation of the southern border and other aspects of America's new rule of no-law will figure in our discussions, and maybe that latest Malaysian Airlines disaster. But it's Open-Line Friday, so if you want to talk anything else feel free to dial in and speak up.
~When I was a kid and watched sci-fi movies set in a futuristic dystopia where individuals are mere chattels of an unseen all-powerful government and enduring human relationships are banned and the progeny of transient sexual encounters are the property of the state, I always found the caper less interesting than the unseen backstory: How did they get there from here? From free western societies to a bunch of glassy-eyed drones wandering around in identikit variety-show catsuits in a land where technology has advanced but liberty has retreated: how'd that happen?
Well, the current Planet of the Apes prequels have also figured out that's the most interesting part of the story. (I liked Rise of... immensely, Dawn not so much, but it would be a foolish man who would attempt to compete with Steve Sailer's brilliant analysis. If American monodailies weren't determined to die as the most boring papers in the English-speaking world, The New York Times would hire Mr Sailer as their movie critic.)
But who needs to go to the multiplex when the prequel to all those glassy-eyed serf dystopias is taking place on the news pages? Megan McArdle writes today about the spate of American mommies charged with and, indeed, jailed for leaving their pre-teen children unsupervised. For example, NBC reports from Connecticut:
Police arrived at 60 Middle Street in Bristol to find the girl alone in the car with the windows rolled up. She was alert and responsive and told officers she had asked to stay in the car while her mom ran inside, according to police.
Police said the outside temperature was about 85 degrees and the car's interior "was not excessively hot."
The girl's mother, 30-year-old Christina Williams, was issued a misdemeanor summons for leaving a child unsupervised in a motor vehicle.
Oh, that's terrible - the poor 14-month old toddler. Er, no. The daughter's 11 years old.
Same thing happened to me the other day. My 14-year old didn't want to come in the store, so I zipped in and left him in the car. Would I also get charged if I did that in Bristol? Or is there some age at which even Connecticutians or whatever they're called are presumed to be able to open a car door?
Megan McArdle comments:
I'm not saying that parents should take their toddlers into the wilderness and leave them there to hike their way out. What I can't understand is how our society has lost the ability to distinguish between that and letting your pre-teen hang out in the car for a half-hour or spend some time in a nearby park. As Jessica Grose says, if this had been illegal in 1972, every single mother in America would have been in jail. Yet millions upon millions of us lived to tell the tale.
By the way, on that first point, Sir Richard Branson's mum left him by the side of the road when he was four years old and told him: "It's time you became a man." Whatever reservations one has about expecting a child to be a man at the age of four, I'm not sure in societal terms the outcome is worse than letting everyone stay a child until 30.
Miss McCardle also wonders:
What is truly bizarre is that the cops cuffing these women were most likely raised with exactly the freedom they are now punishing. Do they think their parents should have been put in jail?
She's overthinking things. As Kathy Shaidle likes to say, cops are merely bureaucrats with guns. And they share the defining characteristic of the great suffocating micro-regulatory American bureaucracy of the 21st century - which is an utter lack of proportion. If bureaucrats had any kind of objection to harassing citizens for things that were perfectly legal in 1972, 90 per cent of them would be out of a job.
The more basic point here is the state's presumption that your children are yours only if you raise them in accordance with state diktats. Not so long ago we understood that kids are different, and certainly mature differently - the eight-year-old at Number 22's sensible enough to go to the store and buy penny candy on his own, but the 12-year-old at Number 24's a bit of a goofball and his folks have to keep more of an eye on him. But today the notion that Mrs Smith might know her child better than Constable Bozo is offensive to the hyper-regulatory mindset - and not seriously questioned by anybody else. Children are the property of the state and are merely outsourced to you for rearing. And, if you don't do it right, they'll re-allocate the rearing to somebody else. Look at this headline from Connecticut's biggest newspaper:
11-Year-Old Found Alone In Car In Bristol
Oh, my God! An 11-year old has been found alone! What's America coming to? Apparently it never occurred to anybody at The Courant - not "reporter" Nicholas Rondinone nor any of his editors - that the real story here is not that an 11-year old has been "found alone" but that an 11-year old being alone is now a crime in Connecticut. Incidentally, when I was eleven, I traveled every morning from a small village to go to school in a big city: I walked on my own a mile or so to a rural halt, caught a train to the terminus in the city, walked across the downtown, and then caught a bus. Not a school bus, just a regular city bus. I enjoyed it all immensely.
That's what's discouraging. As stupid and disgraceful as the Bristol Police's behavior is, they're acting out of self-interest in expanding the role of the state and the power of the class of supervisory bureaucrats. What's the excuse of Mr Rondinone and his brain-dead colleagues in going along with it?
As usual with today's depressingly compliant "citizenry", objections to the Bristol PD's actions are tentative and sotto voce. Nobody's calling for the police chief to either tear up this charge, rewrite his rule book, or get run out of office. So it seems likely that incremental state usurpation of parental judgment will continue - and that does indeed put us on the path to those glassy-eyed dehumanized sci-fi dystopias we came in with. That's how you get there from here.
Unless, of course, the Planet of the Apes crowd figure the sort of adults likely to be produced by the child-policing techniques of Bristol are too bovine to be simian, and decide to take over right now.