Grown-ups can’t be left unsupervised

Last week, we were talking about the real purpose of the government schools, which is not so much reading, writing and ‘rithmetic as the concentration of the nation’s youth for purposes of uniform political indoctrination.

An observation confirmed by last week’s predictable wave of anguished screeds, lamenting my ignorance on subjects from “HIV” to childhood vaccinations.

One regular correspondent even asserted the HIV-causes-AIDS hypothesis is proven by the fact, “The current leader of South Africa has adopted the view of Mr. Suprynowicz, and that country is being decimated by the disease.”

Since “decimation” refers to the reduction of a nation’s population by 10 percent, presumably annually, that would mean that since 1980, when South Africa had a population of about 34 million, the place should have become pretty much a ghost ranch. In fact, the population of South Africa (where “HIV positives” had been routinely overcounted in flawed antenatal clinic studies) grew from 44.8 million in 2001 to an estimated 47.9 million in mid-2007.

UNAIDS has consistently insisted 5 million South Africans are “HIV-positive” and projected 450,000 people a year in South Africa should be dying of HIV/AIDS. But this comes close to the total number of deaths from all causes, while the South African government reports actual AIDS deaths collated from 2005 death certificates at 14,532 — despite financial and political incentives to report higher numbers.

That’s sad. People should avoid behaviors that compromise their immune systems. But the decimation seems to have been delayed.

Nor was I “able to find” only “a single report” debunking the supposed dangers of secondhand smoke. The Heartland Institute found the government was tossed out of federal court in 1993 for cherry-picking seven studies they liked while purposely concealing 41 such studies — 41 — and then offered the coup de grace, “The largest and most credible study ever conducted on spouses of smokers, by Enstrom and Kabat, published in the May 12, 2003 issue of the British Medical Journal. The authors found: ‘The results do not support a causal relationship between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco-related mortality.’ ” You can look it up.

Anyway, it would be bad enough if this American government policy of “concentration” ended when our citizens reached the age of 18 (already an absurd and artificial extension of dependent “childhood.”) But it doesn’t.

I’ve lived in Nevada for only 16 years. But those who grew up here tell me Lake Mead used to be considered quite a valuable recreational resource. Residents could drive state Route 167 — the back road from Henderson to Moapa and Logandale — which winds along the north and then the west shore of Lake Mead, allowing access into any number of dirt roads that follow old washes down to the lake.

“You had some elbow room,” explains Las Vegas native Harry Pappas. “You could go down there, you could swim or fish or drink some beers. Chances were you’d never see another soul. Well, they couldn’t have that. They couldn’t have us out there ‘unsupervised’. So what did they do? They blocked it all off.”

Posts were driven to block access to those dirt roads, tracks and washes — at the road-heads, often miles from the lake. “What they wanted to do was squeeze people into one or two fenced-in areas” — a bathing beach and a boat-launch area — “where you’re all crowded together and these rangers can keep an eye on you,” Pappas explains.

What really attracted Harry’s attention, though, was a piece in the Oct. 6 Review-Journal, explaining how overcrowded a popular picnic area along the Kyle Canyon Road on Mount Charleston has now become — so much so that the federals have announced plans to close it down so they can reduce the actual number of picnic tables while increasing the amount of parking.

“And why is that?” Harry asks. “They’re got hundreds and hundreds of thousands of acres up there, so why aren’t these people all spread out across that land, driving in to the old Indian sites, camping back there under the stars where they wouldn’t be crowded and you wouldn’t even see anybody else?

“I’ll tell you why. Because they’re blocking them all off; they’re shutting down the access till they’ve got us all squeezed into a couple of ‘authorized picnic sites.’ “

Our government masters now assume even adult peasant taxpayers can’t be trusted to behave properly if allowed to go unsupervised into the out-of-doors: We’ll drink, we’ll smoke, we’ll shoot; we’ll go anywhere we damned well please, crunching their beloved weeds and bugs and saying unflattering things about Rachel Carson.

The default setting in this country was supposed to be that men start out free, whereupon they agree to subject themselves only to certain limited laws and regulations by mutual consent.

But did anyone else notice something that happened during their little sham, their little political dog-and-pony show, when a standoff over the federal budget led to a few days of the government being supposedly “shut down” back in December 1995, during the Clinton administration?

Any persons who tried to go down to the limited “public access areas” at Lake Mead over those days found them “closed,” and were promptly ticketed if they “trespassed” there.

Think about the underlying assumption: If the federal government disappeared tomorrow, all federal parks, recreations areas, monuments and impoundments would be … what? Why, they’d be open, since the default setting in this country is that we’re free to go anywhere we want, unless some specific regulation to the contrary — to which we ourselves have given our consent — is in force.

But that’s not what our federal masters want us to believe. They want us to presume that we have no inherent right to go to any of these places, that they’re closed unless or until some federal official decides to open the gates, check our ID, run us through a metal detector, and “allow” us to enter, after “explaining the rules.”

That’s not the way America was supposed to work. That takes us right back to the day when Robin of Loxley could be arrested and trussed up in a stinking deerskin and hauled away to the castle for execution for the crime of shooting “the king’s deer” in “the king’s forest.”

Neither King Richard nor Prince John had ever laid eyes on that deer. They hadn’t helped its momma give it birth. Heck, they’d probably never even set foot in that particular forest. But the default setting in England after the Norman conquest was that everything started out belonging to the crown, and it was only if you got permission from the king — usually handed down through the chain of command, from the Duke to the Earl to the Marquess to the local guy who claimed the privilege of having sex with your new bride on your wedding night in exchange for “letting” you live in your hut — that you had a right to drink from your own well and farm your own field and sleep in your own bed … assuming you paid your rent.

Just like America today. Except that now we call them “federal regulations” and “property taxes” and we’re supposed to believe them when they tell us, “You made these laws yourselves; you are the government.”

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of the novel “The Black Arrow..”

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