Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

“The Eagle has landed!”

“A few ‘small’ exceptions for mankind, a huge step towards totalitarianism.”

Where does it stop? Last week’s Inspection was about Fred Phelp’s obnoxious crew and how there are those on the Left, and the Right, who want to make a “special case” out of Fred. Not that Westboro doesn’t deserve it. Now if this were one “special” exception it wouldn’t bug me as much. But it’s not.

Imagine if we had liberals, neos, conservatives and even libertarians unwittingly working together: refusing to see the accumulative effect of pushing for their own special causes. Not hard to “imagine” at all…

We have drunk drivers on our streets. Of course, we probably have since Great Great Uncle Ed staggered into his Stude or Ford and foolishly weaved and sputtered down some main or side street. And, I admit, autos have become far more dangerous in many ways. (In other ways “not,” but that would divert my rant.)

Solutions? Check point Charlies.

Today’s question…

“Prove to me you’re sober Citizen.”


“Are you, or have you ever… (worked at an abortion clinic, been a member of ______________ party, gone to some theologically inappropriate church, been a gun owner… choose your own brand of “most obnoxious.”)

If you get caught for drunk driving now… any of the other possibilities in the future… not convicted: just “caught” and accused, you lose your license in some states and your car: no conviction necessary. Just try to get your property back or compensated for your loss if found innocent. Good luck.

“But Ken! If you had had a loved one murdered by a drunk driver…”

Oh, and I forgot: unless you can prove that drunk driver intended to kill your intended, or your children, it’s not, “murder.” Manslaughter. Homicide. If you wish, lobby for changing the punishment for the other obvious charges. But, hey, drunk driving is so onerous we should make special exceptions, right?

Special exceptions for drunk driving, alone, doth not a totalitarian state make. After all, whether it be changes in how we deal with homicide, or check point charlies: “It’s just one exception.” If only that were true.

But hey, if we’re going to be fair here, what about those who text and have cell phones up to their ears: especially going through a parking lot or some busy city streets. We know how dangerous that can be: at least one recent study claims more dangerous than drunk driving. The drunk is at least trying (usually poorly, though there are some folks I’d eagerly jump out of their vehicle and into a drunk’s car if I had a choice; their driving sucks that much.) …I repeat, the drunk is at least “trying” to pay attention.

As per last week’s topic, due process demands we confiscate their cars, their licenses: no trial. And, if convicted, perhaps a date set aside for the needle; the chair. If it really is “murder,” shouldn’t that be an option?

A few special exceptions doth not a totalitarian state make, perhaps. But “few” is not the way society is heading, is it? Hence my comment “unwittingly working together.” Hence this edition of Inspection.

Your little one murders someone. Wow! Suddenly they’re an adult in the eyes of the law. Yet another special exception. What a great way to teach our children about morals and ethics. “We don’t need so stinkin due process” if your crime is more unpopular than others at the moment. We set up the rules that all have to live by, but when we deem the rule we set up inconvenient to the least popular crimes, activities or accusation of the moment… no rule need apply.

Regulate business? Hell, no! Business will regulate itself! And the bigger the biz, well the freer they be, right? Let’s play make a “special exception” to the Constitution! Have more money? Own most of the Monopoly board? You now have the right to so much free speech you can literally sweep away the freedom of others! Just buy so much free speech; have the ability to shout louder in multiple venues, there is no free speech for John Q. Citizen. Why? Cause no one can hear them.

Doesn’t such a “special exception” for big biz fuel our rocket, even just a wee bit?

Terrorism demands our houses must be open to secret search, torture rules tossed away or watered down. No due process applies. You can be locked away for the rest of your life or murdered… excuse me… have an “unfortunate incident.” You have fallen into: The Special Exception Zone.

Elections are suitable reason to cage protesters. Do mass sweeps into prisons: including those merely “guilty” of being somewhat near the wrong place at the wrong time, or only guilty of wanting to commit the crime of free speech anywhere near anyone in power who would rather not hear your attempt at free speech.

“La, la, la,la… can’t hear you in prison, or caged like animals many miles away.”

But, praise the press! They’ll cover it? Hell, no. Mainstream media is too busy mainlining corporate and election ad buckaroos then servicing those who have every reason to silence us. The lady of the night with AIDS has more incentive to do what’s right and stop doing for dollars what the ménage à trois: media, pols and big biz does on a daily basis. Story out of sight, or more likely just off even the back pages or our screens.

Special exception? Free speech isn’t free. Don’t have the kind of bucks corporate interests have to buy free speech protection? Your free speech right swim wid da fishes.

America would not fall if the right to own guns was eliminate entirely, despite what the NRA tells you… but here’s the caveat: if that was the only right trashed. There are societies on this globe that strictly regulate guns, but also defend free speech of the little guy and gal. Not so here. The end result of the collective efforts to create special exceptions? The gov. is allowed guns to force you to do whatever it wants. You? Just do what they want, don’t say what they don’t want to hear, and you might be OK. Maybe. No promise made that one more special exception won’t nullify.

The list goes on and on, but point made. And, to be clear, my intent here is neither to bash the Left or the Right, or those trying to limit the “right” of the criminally insane to own guns, or bash business, or… My intent here is to bash the possible result of the collective efforts of all involved in supporting “special exceptions” who won’t even contemplate that they might be part of a bigger: more totalitarian; trend.

Focusing on one issue, like guns, without observing the big picture will eventually emasculate any right you fight for. The desire, collectively, to make special exceptions, is like a plague of locusts. They simply move elsewhere and weaken society until the locusts can come right back at you.

I am not using this as some metaphor for deregulation. In fact deregulation can be yet another “special exception.” After all, if you or I kill someone we might wind up at the end of a needle, receiving the gift of bullets or in an electric chair. The special exception? Please tell me the next time some CEO is even slightly likely to be in the same position when he knowingly hawks products that cause mass death. Flambe’ o’ cigarette exec anyone?

Our forefathers created a nation that was “dedicated to liberty,” but even these supposed icons couldn’t resist special exceptions: women, slavery, those who just happened to be in their way: Native American Indians.

Now, in a way, it’s kind of the job of pundits, special interest groups and pols to make us want to tear apart the Constitution, toss our rights in the fire of fear, dismantle whatever freedoms we have: if it suits their purposes. But it’s our job, collectively; as the citizenry, to make damn sure they won’t, can’t and don’t. Unfortunately the citizenry has collectively, increasingly, started to resemble the future denizens of an Idiocracy. The idiot tube says Obama is a A-mur-i-kah hating, Kenyan, Muslim terrorist… non-citizen fer-en-er? Must be true! We are no longer taught to look at the bigger picture, to speculate regarding the ramifications if we get some special exception. We are not taught to see beyond talking points.

We are not taught to think for ourselves.

Don’t like abortion? Well what would be the ramifications if the argument is allowed to stand that murdering a doctor, a nurse, an innocent bystander, is acceptable because legal abortion is so outrageous. Or… “the victim’s gayness so outraged my client his actions were reasonable.” Murder becomes more acceptable because “my client’s rage made him temporarily not responsible for his actions.” Hate what happened on 9/11? Well slicing open a cabbie’s throat is understandable: a lesser penalty should apply. These kinds of nonsense arguments have appeared in our courts. Thankfully, so far, they haven’t worked for the most part. These are special exception arguments.

The state of the art in ethics these days reminds me of a current commercial. Mom “borrows” daughter’s blouse without asking. Never you mind that would be considered wrong if it happened the other way. Gets it stained. Daughter can’t find it. Mom tells what some would call a “white” lie. (What’s up with that phrase, anyway? Dates back to all those great special exceptions for Blacks, maybe?) Mom quickly cleans away the stain with some fab corporate product! Problem solved! No honesty needed. She smugly smirks as her daughter leaves the room wearing her “lost” blouse. Never you mind that if daughter tried the same trick and got caught no “special exception” need apply.

These days seem we all want to be Mom and see no contradiction or moral issue here. Too many are simply unable to see the big picture when it comes to our company, our special interests, our children, our issues: even committing of what any sane society should consider a vile crime, genocide or murder. So what if a bunch of Muslims and Muslim sympathizers lose their freedom: their lives? After what “they” did to us on 9/11… screw ”rights” Screw due process.

But I am less concerned with even that legal abomination than I am with the collective nature of all these special exceptions. I couldn’t mention them all. So many.

Soon the locusts will be at your door.

What I see these days is a mob. Like an old Serling production this mob is all too eager to run from metaphorical house to house: burning, killing, torturing, stealing: demanding special exceptions to wherever they wish to go, whatever they wish to do. Denizens of an Idiocracy that simply can’t understand, or refuse to understand: collective efforts have consequences.

Those who truly hate freedom and seek dominance need not do a thing.

We are destroying freedom for them.


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2010
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved

By Ken Carman

Retired entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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RS Janes
13 years ago

Just a note on those police checkpoints for drunken drivers: For many years, every holiday where drinking is involved, we are assaulted locally by TV and radio ads warning us proles that the police will be stopping cars to check for drunk drivers and it’s serious business. Well, I’ve been out driving on those days and have yet to see a police checkpoint. I think it’s more empty threat than anything else, although I agree that it’s an excessive practice, spurred by such fanatical groups as MADD, on the part of law enforcement.

I also agree about that obnoxious TV ad with Mom lying about the stained blouse. What the hell is the lesson here, other than that Mom is an untrustworthy schmuck? And would Mom be mad if the daughter, in her clean blouse, was lying to her about where she was going and what she planned to do there? “Just going to the library to study, Ma!” while she is actually earning money on the side from appearing on a porn site.

Ana Grarian
13 years ago

A great article on more points than I can enumerate.
The Phelps thing is a conundrum. On the one hand I wish the media would ignore him, but then we do need to know that this is happening. Should alternate groups protest him or is that just adding to the circus? Perhaps if media coverage included at least a comment from a reasonable Christian who opposes what Fred is doing, even a reasonable Christian who believes that homosexuality is a sin, but also believes that Fred’s tactics are inexcusable.

RS Janes
13 years ago

I think Fred Phelps should get all the media attention he wants — he’s so loony he makes the whole anti-gay Christopublican fringe-right look bad. Even people I’ve talked to who are queasy about gay marriage think Fred’s just plain nuts and his ‘campaign’ is deplorable. One of these days, Fred’s bound to meet some Marines or others who aren’t going to take his insults quietly; then Fred and family will be doing their protests from hospital beds. (Not that I endorse violence against the Phelps idiots — I just think this is inevitable.)

RS Janes
13 years ago

I don’t know, Ken. I think the only people who would confuse crazy Fred Phelps with a Unitarian or Lutheran would be the same people who think Christine O’Donnell won the debate with Chris Coons on the contents of the First Amendment.

Ironically, many current atheists I’ve talked to never heard of O’Hair or her family — they get their beliefs, or lack of them, from Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris. (Or attending divinity school, of course.) One woman lost all faith in God after attending a week-long fundamentalist Bible camp, and I’ve met a couple of people raised in strict religious families who baled on Christianity the moment they moved out of their folks’ house. The indoctrination often doesn’t ‘take.’

RS Janes
13 years ago

Ken, I would think fewer Christians who can’t tell the difference between UU and Fred Phelps would be a plus.

As to Madalyn O’Hair’s murder, her kids didn’t do it — it was an employee of hers who killed her and some members of her family for the money. Read the updated info below:

“As an activist for atheism, Madalyn Murray O’Hair was such a controversial figure that in 1964 Life magazine called her “the most hated woman in America.” O’Hair was one of the litigants in the case of Murray vs. Curlett, which led the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 1963 decision, to ban organized prayer in public schools. The decision made O’Hair the country’s most famous atheist. She founded the group American Atheists in 1963 and remained its leading spokesperson until 1995, when she and two of her adult children vanished after leaving a note saying they would be away temporarily. The trio appeared to have taken with them at least $500,000 in American Atheist funds; one private investigator concluded that they had fled to New Zealand. Eventually suspicion turned to David Roland Waters, an ex-convict who had worked at the American Atheist offices. Police concluded that he and accomplices had kidnapped the O’Hairs, forced them to withdraw the missing funds, and then murdered them. Waters eventually pled guilty to reduced charges and in January 2001 he led police to three bodies buried on a remote Texas ranch, which proved to be Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her children.”
— From Answers.com. http://www.answers.com/topic/madalyn-murray-o-hair

RS Janes
13 years ago

What I meant was that people too confused and ‘low-information’ to not be able to discern the major differences between the crazy hatred of Fred Phelps and, say, the tolerant and loving Unitarians, would also be embarrassing to Christianity. People that ignorant would be likely to fall in with the haters like Phelps.

Back in the ’60s, and I can’t recall the TV show, I seem to remember O’Hair explained this in an interview. For what it’s worth, and antipating the future, she said she didn’t care if she was hated, and even went out of her way to be obnoxious — the more she was hated the more media attention she attracted, and she thought that was good for the atheist cause if it made some people think about religion. Right or wrong, she apparently believed that being shy and retiring just didn’t do it. Certainly her organization gained more money from her media celebrity, as well as increasing membership, and it did get some talking about religion, if not becomng atheists.

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