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05/15/2004 Archived Entry: "A dream about petty tyranny"

IS IT SOMETHING IN THE AIR OR IN THE WATER? I've been having strange dreams lately. This morning I dreamed that Congress had passed the Patronizing Act. They got tired of messing around and simply passed one big law to tell everybody in the country every single thing we're compelled to do and every single thing we're forbidden to do. They left specific implementation up to the states, though, and I was in Las Vegas visiting Debra when Nevada published a cute, user-friendly little booklet listing all the rules. "You must wear rubber boots when it rains," one rule said. "No practicing the profession of psychiatry before 8:30 a.m.," said another.

I railed, "Well, what about practicing psychiatry like really, really late after midnight? Like 7:30 a.m.?" But I railed in vain. The rules were the rules. I was horrified for all the usual reasons, but perhaps most of all because neither I nor anybody else had ever even heard of the Patronizing Act until the booklet hit the streets.

But ho hum, even the relatively rowdy citizens of Las Vegas accepted the rules without so much as a shrug. It was just the government doing what government always does.

I became desperate to get to my home state where I could learn what set of ghastly rules it had adopted. But I couldn't get out of Las Vegas because suddenly everybody in every business and public place -- even vet clinics and hair salons, not to mention the gas stations and ticket offices I needed -- had become totally, suckaciously, grouchy and unhelpful. They were all just like that bureaucratic gorgon I encountered in real life at city hall the other day. Mean for the sake of meanness. Supercilious, surly, and superior. Totally without interest in helping anyone or making anything work. Finding their only personal power in dis-empowering other individuals. Everyone was everyone else's petty enemy.

And weird dream or no, I suspect that's very much what society will be like once government controls everything.

Posted by Claire @ 11:15 AM CST

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