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...but I wasn't drunk so...

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has done us all a great service. In this day when would-be oppressors of all stripes seek to hide their real motives, the TABC has sent us a clear and unambiguous message.
TABC officials said the sweep concerned saving lives, not individual rights

The chilling thing is not that they believe it. That's always been true, it's the core principle of government, even one supposedly guided by things like constitutions and bills of rights. No, what's scary is that they no longer feel that they have to hide it. They have enough confidence in your ability to rationalize it away that they aren't worried in the least about any complaints from the Peanut Gallery.

In my last article, V for Vendetta, I talked about losing your fear of your government. But for some of you, the next step is to start fearing your government. If you plan to see the movie, watch it with this in mind: How does a society get to that point? Watch V's broadcast speech in the first half, and compare his accusations against your reaction to the TABC quote.

That is where and how it starts. Don't worry about how everyone else is reacting to it - look at how you react to it. Is fear preventing you from understanding the meaning of something even this crystal clear? Is it fear of admitting that this country is no longer the free country it perhaps once was? Are you afraid that if you admit this fact into your conciousness that you will then be helpless to avoid the avalanche of such facts that you've been able to remain blissfully ignorant of all your life?

We are not yet the society of V, even in light of this. But there are many turning points along the road to it, and this is one of them. Your reaction to this is a very personal turning point. You don't have to take to the streets and protest - that kind of thing is of no significance whatsoever, and for reasons more complex than I'll get into now, does more harm than good. What you do have to do, what there is no way to avoid doing no matter how badly you might want to, is to make a personal choice.

Your choice may not prevent this country from becoming that of V. But it will determine whether you live in it with integrity or with fear. It will determine whether you remain free - now and in the future - even within a totalitarian society.

You won't have many chances left to make that decision. Understand this, or pretend you don't. Embrace its meaning or rationalize it away. There's plenty of rationalizations available: They're just drunks and they should be locked up... They might have gone out and driven a car, or gotten rowdy and hurt someone... The law says you can't be drunk in public, and we have to preserve the rule of law... I don't spend my time drunk in bars, so it doesn't affect me...

Go ahead, choose one of those, or make up one of your own. But don't you dare, decades from now, ask me "how did this happen?". Don't you dare pretend that it was some rogue scoundrel who took over your free country and made it into a true police state complete with curfews and gulags and roving rape squads. Don't you dare. It will have been your fault.

P.S You may want to read (or re-read) a previous article of mine that talks about the same kind of thing, from a different angle: On Being Made


The film adds nothing of value to the comic. It's only contributions are the kind of superfluous nods to main stream hollywood conventions that one would expect. The love story between V and Evey, the sub-matrix stylised fight sequences, and the truly awful monologuing that the Wachowski brothers seem to delight in.
Go and read the comic, and then have another look at the film.

Posted by robbie at Friday, March 24, 2006 07:46 AM

oops, had 2 tabs open, that one was meant to go in the other article

Posted by robbie at Friday, March 24, 2006 07:47 AM

So, where does the right to be drunk in public that you seem to imagine one has come from, exactly?

Posted by No thanks at Friday, March 24, 2006 07:38 PM

no thanks,

Wrong question. Try again.

Posted by kylben at Friday, March 24, 2006 10:41 PM

Where does the right to bake a pizza or cultivate roses come from, exactly?

Posted by Billy Beck at Monday, March 27, 2006 06:04 AM

When I start killing people with my roses they can take that right too. Next we will be told that we have taken away the right of the pedaphile to have sex with children. There have to be limits to so called rights.

Posted by Dr.John at Monday, March 27, 2006 01:04 PM

Dr John,

I hope you're not a real doctor.


Sorry, I'd like to make a reasoned argument here, but you're not even on the same planet.

But for the sake of you innocent bystanders reading this, take a look at the linked story and try to find any way in which it relates to the "Doctor's" comment.

He's right about one thing, they can be arrested *when they start* killing people, or even are about to start. "Doctor" John wants them *all* arrested just in case. We then have to wonder if there is any plausible way that John could kill somebody in the near future, should he decide to. I bet there is. Want to spend the rest of your life in jail, John, just in case?

Posted by kylben at Monday, March 27, 2006 04:48 PM

It sounds like the argument is backward. One doesn't have to argue that the individual has rights. One must prove that the government has the right to interfere. That argument must be stringent.

Posted by LibertyBob at Monday, April 03, 2006 04:35 AM

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