Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided to print out all 20,000 pages of ObamaCare regulations, stack them in a single pile, and photograph the result using a chair for reference. It came out looking like this:
That's a good seven feet of regulations. The top 828 pages, by the way, were released in a single day. The draft application to apply for benefits under ObamaCare runs 15 pages for a family of three, and according to a report from the Associated Press, "at least three major federal agencies, including the IRS, will scrutinize your application."
That pile of ObamaCare paperwork is a pretty good visual metaphor for the increasingly large State towering over its diminished citizens. The government can, by definition, only grow larger at the expense of individual liberty and private commerce. Looming next to Sen. McConnell's empty chair - further visual irony! - are 20,000 pages of things you cannot do, or must do, that remained within the bounds of individual decision-making as recently as 2008. Those pages are brimming with hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes, fines, subsidies, and debt.
So the American people grow smaller, and increasingly come to resemble children in the eyes of their betters. How else to explain New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's judicially-thwarted Big Gulp ban? It didn't even make a shred of rational sense - it was an arbitrary set of laws that forbid some "unhealthy" beverages, sold by certain vendors, but permitted others. "Because I said so!" is a common response to the child's demand to know why he can't have something he wants.
"If a Mayor can't do things to make his city's populace healthier, what's the point of his job?" wailed CNN host Piers Morgan, as he contemplated the swift demise of the soda ban. Few among the earlier, hardier, more adult generations of American would have considered this part of a Mayor's job. They might have had trouble stifling their laughter long enough to give Morgan a list of the hundred other vital duties that form the "point" of a Mayor's job, particularly the Mayor of an immense modern city.
But today's smaller, more dependent American is willing to accept the basic premise that average people cannot be trusted to make various life decisions - or, as the dominant liberal culture would put it, they have little hope of making good decisions against the hypnotic power of sinister soda-brewing corporate interests. Children expect their parents, and wise old Uncle Sam, to protect them from all manner of hobgoblins. They don't mourn the loss of rights that were fearsome and difficult to exercise.
The gun control debate is routinely conducted from the perspective of government nannies taking dangerous toys away from child-citizens, rather than humble public servants bowing before the inalienable rights of sovereign citizens. There isn't even much pretense that specific measures would address the sensational crimes which inspired them. "I make no assertion that this bill will either increase or reduce violent crime," confessed a Colorado legislator, whose bill would have disarmed law-abiding women on college campuses. "That is not the premise of the bill."
Mommy, why can't I...? BECAUSE I SAID SO!
Big Government finds small citizens much easier to push around. They're fond of advancing the argument that various corrupt features of "progressivism" are impossible to overturn - an argument now advanced with respect to ObamaCare, which is only four years old. In other words, you Little People have diminished so much that you can never dismantle what the acolytes of the Total State have built, no matter how badly the edifice crumbles. You will never again be as large as the people who thrashed the Axis, built the modern American economy, or walked on the Moon. Misbehave, and you will be punished. Decades of deficit-funded dependency have given the State many ways it can punish you - look at all they threatened to take away when a mere 2 percent of federal spending was threatened. Wait until they have full control of your health care. On that day, seven feet of ObamaCare regulations will seem like freedom by comparison.