Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Senator Ben Allen: Civil Libertarian?

Conan Nolan (NBC Four)

I was watching NBC Four News Hour, with Conan Nolan this past Sunday, and recently elected State Senator Ben Allen was on the show, talking about the measles outbreak afflicting California residents, and what the state legislature proposes to do about it.

Allen, a former school board member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, informed the viewers that there are three exceptions which protect individuals from getting forced vaccinations:

1. Medical exemption

2. Personal beliefs

3. Religious exemption

Allen then commented:

We're looking to eliminate the personal beliefs exemption.

The inoculation debate is infecting LA politics like never before, pushing residents and lawmakers, as well as government officials, to decide at what point does the state's compelling interest to protect all residents from communicable diseases override individual liberty and privacy.

For the record, deeply conservative (or what ultra liberals would say "reactionary") Mississippi has a higher inoculation, vaccination rate that Santa Monica and upper-echelon regions of Los Angeles. Why?

Nolan asked another question, about the difference between personal beliefs and religious exemptions. Allen responded:

That's a great question. The interesting thing is, the religious exemption is not even on the books.  It was created by the governor as part of a signing message when he approved the bill a couple years ago. So, that's something that we are going to have to work out with the governor.

So, there really is no religious exemption? Or will a move to get rid of the "personal beliefs exemption really become a fight against religious liberty? There is a proper scope for pushing aside certain beliefs if the well-being of an entire city is at risk. Will this legislative agenda become an open door for further attacks on religious liberty?

Allen then explained that the legislature's goal would rest on tightening up the rules regarding vaccination exemptions, so that potentially diseased students would not be allowed to go to school and harm other kids. At this point, it's too late for Disneyland.

Regarding the lower inoculation rates in Santa Monica Unified, Allen admitted that the press had held them accountable for this disturbing development. This unique trend suggests that ultra-liberalism is simply not all that it's cracked up to be. Often, when the crisis of public health and safety read up, liberals tend to abandon their idealistic ideologies, and embrace pragmatic reforms and conservative consensus.

State Senator Ben Allen
Nolan then asked:

What is it with this. Santa Monica is one of the most liberal and educated cities in the state.

Well, actually, liberal and well-educated do not necessarily intersect. Outspoken advocacy for modern liberal, i.e. statist polices are fundamentally unwise, unintelligent, ignoring the research and data and embracing groupthink as opposed to Man Thinking.

Allen tried to explain:

I think what has happened is that people have forgotten the history. We have been a victim of our success.

Indeed, one of the deepest indictments against cultural liberals is there insistent disregard for the past, for the learning of the ancients, for the wisdom of the elders. Tradition and truth take a heavy hit with left-leaning liberals, and Santa Monica's illiberal policies demonstrate this fact.

The one statement that really threw me off, though:

I am a civil libertarian, like many of them.

No, he is not.

Any liberal Democrat from deeply left-leaning Santa Monica cannot call himself a libertarian. The same city which tried to ban plastic guns, and already banned plastic bags, the same city whose motto ties together "Happy people in a happy city" cannot stand and say that they respect every individual's right to live as they please. Allen endorses imposing a higher minimum wage, contrary to any fiscal restraint or discipline, or respect for small businesses. He opposes right-to-work reforms. He opposes litigation reform, which would diminish state intervention in trade disputes, and he even opposes school choice. Civil libertarian?

On an extended note, this conundrum of liberty and security confuses many liberals, who fail to understand that liberty is not divorced from security, or even reasoned restraints. Indeed, cities like Santa Monica have been victims of their own success, in that the ultra-liberal Democratic cohorts which have taken over in the city have made the environs susceptible to job-killing regulations, as well as exacerbating poverty and mental illness, and now even public health is at risk.

One other criticism of this debate which cannot be avoided: neither Nolan nor Allen asked the more probing question: why have California residents contracted communicable diseases like measles and whooping cough in the last year?

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