The simple answer is – because they can’t.
Cloverism is a one-way street.
Libertarians, anarchists and others who hew to the philosophy of live – and let live – aren’t the least bit interested in controlling other people. It does not occur to them. In fact, it goes against their nature. It’s an affront to their very core because, after all, if you wish to be left in peace you must also wish that others be left in peace, too. And more, you must accept this as just – as the right and proper order of things. The liberty of others must be as sacred to you as your own liberty – and require a defense (when necessary) every bit as vigorous.
Otherwise, you’re not just a hypocrite – you’re a narcissist and possibly, a psychopath.
The freedom philosophy is an outgrowth of empathy. Of a gut awareness of the other as a mirror image of oneself. It therefore deeply troubles the Libertarian and the anarchist to think about someone else, anyone else, being bullied – a more honest term than merely controlling someone else. It is literally nauseating to contemplate. It makes one physically ill – then angry – to witness blue-shirted TSA goons degrading old ladies and children (and adult males, too). It is enraging to hear about people who are harming no one being thrown into cages as a result of having offended against some manufactured statute. It is depressing to look about one and see a world in which men feed on men – via the ballot box, via the bureaucracy. In which all it takes to take your neighbor’s property – perhaps even his life – is a voting majority in the next election.
The Libertarian and the anarchist do not want anything from others that isn’t the result of peaceful, free consent. The Libertarian and the anarchist proceed from the old common law idea that for their to be a crime there must be avictim – and that absent a victim, any harassment or prosecution is itself a crime. Where we, as individuals, personally disagree with the choices made by others is insufficient cause for forcible interference. It does not mean approval. It can even mean avoidance – or censure. But it can never mean force in the absence of a victim. The “greatest good” is liberty – free will, free choice – and can never flow from the barrel of a gun.
We accept that we must live – and let live.
Even when it chafes.
Even when we see it as foolhardy.
And even when there will be negative consequences – because we know that it is better for individuals to face the negative consequences of their individual actions than it it is to impose negative consequences wholesale on others who have given no cause to warrant it. We know there is no justice in this – and much tyranny.
Clover is the dark matter opposite of this at the core of his being. Though he will speak in terms of “cooperation” and “helping” others, his voluntarism ends when the volunteering does. Decline – and you will face force. Clovers cannot abide agreeing to disagree. If you do not agree to “help” – you will beforced to help. If you are not interested in “cooperating,” you will be compelled to cooperate.
It is the Clover’s way – or much worse than merely the highway.
There is no yours. Only ours. The collective, with Clover as its arbiter. “Society,” “our children.” The relentless We.
The Clover is like a suffocating parent in being suffused with the desire to control – and to control for the “good” of the “child.” There is the always-present self-righteousness, themoralizing, that accompanies Cloverism. The Clover is possessed of superior knowledge in all things. He knows it. He feels it.
And he will make you do it.
But he is worse than a suffocating parent because one cannot quit him, ever. A child may have to endure while he is a child, but emancipation is always there on the horizon, a beacon of hope in the midst of temporary oppression. He knows that, come 18, he will be free. That his parents will no longer be able to oppress him – unless he freely consents to be oppressed. He may leave – and be done with them. The worst they can do to him is rant and rave, or withhold affection. But they are powerless to control him.
Yet he is not free.
The impotent rage of his parents against his willfulness, his determination to live his life ashe sees fit is replaced by the potent rage of the Clovers all around him. The ones who, like the parents he has left behind, know best about what he must believe, with whom to associate (and not), under what conditions he shall live his life – and so on – and are determined to compel his compliance to a degree beyond the most hysterical rantings of Mommy Dearest.
And who, unlike Mommy Dearest, have an enforcement mechanism at their disposal. Not merely the apparatus of the state, but millions of little helpers. The small-fry Clovers who suffer from the same defect of mind and soul. Who are prepared to man the checkpoints, the cubicles, the squad cars and the prison cells. Who are ready – and more than willing – to do their job.
There is no reprieve, no escape – no light at the end of the tunnel.
Cloverism is eternal, because it is congenital.
A defect in the human genome.
Until this cancer can be excised, liberty will be imperfect – and ephemeral. Brief respites, temporary beacons of light – invariably snuffed by the urge to control, the incapacity to live – and let live.
Throw it in the Woods?
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Contributed by Eric Peters of Eric Peters Autos.
Eric Peters is an automotive columnist and author who has written for the Detroit News and Free Press, Investors Business Daily, The American Spectator, National Review, The Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal. His books include Road Hogs (2011) and Automotive Atrocities (2004). His next book, “The Politics of Driving,” is scheduled for release in 2012. Visit his web site at Eric Peters Autos.