Thomas Jefferson warned about the dangers of a bloated and arrogant government when he wrote:
If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, and give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and expenses;
And, the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they do now, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains around the necks of our fellow sufferers;
And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second, that second for a third, and so on 'til the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering.
Indeed. And it has gotten worse as time goes on. Witness this:
Woman Arrested for Eating Candy in a Subway Station
AP. Washington. A government scientist finishing a candy bar on her way into a subway station where eating is prohibited was arrested, handcuffed and detained for three hours by transit police.
Stephanie Willett said she was eating a PayDay bar on an escalator descending into a station on 16 July when an officer warned her to finish it before entering the station. Both Willett and police agree that she nodded and put the last bit into her mouth before throwing the wrapper into a trash can.
Willett, a 45-year-old Environmental Protection Agency scientist, told radio station WTOP that the officer then followed her into the station, one of several in downtown Washington.
"Don't you have some other crimes you have to take care of?" Willett said she told the officer.
Washington has been under heightened security because of the continuing threat of terrorism. And last week, police declared a city-wide crime emergency over rising juvenile crime.
The transit police officer asked for Willett's identification, but Willett kept walking. She said she was then frisked and handcuffed.
"If she had stopped eating, it would have been the end of it, and if she had just stopped for the issuance of a citation, she never would have been locked up," Transit Police Chief Polly Hanson said yesterday.
Metrorail has been criticized in the past for heavy-handed enforcement of the eating ban. In 2000, a police officer handcuffed a 12-year-old girl for eating a French fry on a subway platform.
In 2002, one of their officers ticketed a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy patient for cursing when he was unable to find a working elevator to leave a station. Unflattering publicity eventually led the police to void the ticket.
Willet is not the only person arrested this year for eating or drinking in the subway. Source. The Star Ledger. 30 July '04. p. 4.
[Edited 2004-11-12 07:57:04]