10 questions with ‘Control Freaks’ author Terence P. Jeffrey

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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Terence P. Jeffrey is the author of Control Freaks: 7 Ways Liberals Plan to Ruin Your Life. The former campaign manager for Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign now writes a column for Creators Syndicate and serves as editor-in-chief of CNSNews.com and editor at large of Human Events.

Jeffrey recently agreed to answer 10 questions about his new book and other topics of interest for The Daily Caller:

1.)   Why did you decide to write this book?

I believe the liberal worldview and policies examined in “Control Freaks” threaten not only our prosperity but our freedom. Americans of my generation have a duty to give the Americans of my children’s generation a country both prosperous and free and we are at risk of failing in that mission.

2.)   Your book is subtitled ‘7 Ways Liberals Plan to Ruin Your Life.’ Give me the topic heads of the 7 ways and do you think that liberals are intentionally seeking to ruin people’s lives or doing so out of misguided ideology –and does the distinction even matter?

Liberals, I argue in the book, are seeking to increase the power of government over individuals to control 1) our movement, 2) our retirement income, 3) our health care, 4) our private property, 5) our speech, 6) whether we live or die, and 7) our consciences.

If there’s a distinction, it makes no difference to the victim. The city planners of New London may have thought they were constructing a better city by seizing and bull-dozing the homes of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, but they were nonetheless willfully ruining at least a part of the lives of the families whose homes they targeted. I have no doubt the government-protected abortionist knows he is ruining the life of the little girl he kills — even if he is the true-believing disciple of a political creed that holds that the world would be better if we killed more babies.

3.)   Is the “green” movement just another effort to try to give the government more control over Americans lives?

Some environmentalist politicians may be sincere, some may not be. But whether you sincerely, or opportunistically, adopt the assumption that human activity is causing potentially catastrophic global climate change, and that it is the responsibility of government to do something about it, then it naturally follows that you would advocate government controlling human activity.
4.)    What is the problem with the Fairness Doctrine and why are many liberals pushing it?

The opaque FCC ruling that became known as the “Fairness Doctrine” technically told broadcasters they had to air multiple sides of any controversial issue discussed on their air. The FCC imposed it in the 1940s, directly contradicting the intentions of Congress, which created the FCC to regulate the technical aspects of radio while denying it the power to censor radio speech. In practical terms, the Fairness Doctrine inhibited the development of programs like those of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. In the 1980s, an FCC dominated by Reagan appointees repealed the Fairness Doctrine. That is when the modern era of political talk radio began.

Liberal politicians used to being coddled by the liberal establishment would like to shut up Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin — and others. That is why, for example, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she supports re-imposing the Fairness Doctrine. Fortunately, she has never had the votes to do it legislatively. However, that does not mean an Obama-dominated FCC won’t find some new regulatory means to strike back at conservative talk radio — perhaps by forcing conservative broadcast licensees to surrender their licenses to new owners who will broadcast the type of speech the liberals like.

5.)    Tell me about how liberals want to control how many children Americans have?

During his 2009 Senate confirmation hearing to become director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, John P. Holdren was asked, “What would your number for the right population in the U.S. be today?” He said: “I no longer think it’s productive, senator, to focus on the optimum population for the United States.”

Back in 1973, however, Holdren co-authored “Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions” with Paul and Anne Ehrlich. In “Human Ecology,” Holdren and the Ehrlichs said: “Political pressure must be applied immediately to induce the United States government to assume its responsibility to halt the growth of the American population. Once growth is halted, the government should undertake to influence the birth rate so that the population is reduced to an optimum size and maintained there.” This conclusion was driven by their perception that increasing population was a threat to global ecology.

In a 1995 essay published by the World Bank, Holdren joined with Paul Ehrlich and Gretchen Daily of the Center for Conservation Biology in stating that one of the things they “know for certain” is: “No form of material growth (including population growth) other than asymptotic growth is sustainable.” Holdren, Ehrlich and Daily went on to say, “This is enough to say quite a lot about what needs to be faced up to eventually (a world of zero net physical growth), what should be done now (change unsustainable practices, reduce excessive material consumption, slow down population growth), and what the penalty will be for postponing attention to population limitation (lower well-being per person).”

Holdren, as he told the Senate at his confirmation hearing, may no longer believe it is “productive … to focus on the optimum population for the United States,” but committed environmentalists who accept the argument that increasing population is a threat to the planet may be more inclined to agree with his earlier statements.

6.)   You write that liberals want to even get control over what books you read. How so?

The First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” In “Control Freaks,” I point out that in the first round of oral arguments in the case of Citizens United v. FEC, the Obama administration argued that the Constitution allowed the government to ban a corporation from publishing a book that mentioned a candidate for federal office. In the second round of oral arguments, then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan retreated from that declaration a little bit, but stood her ground in telling the court that the Obama administration did believe it could prohibit a corporation from publishing a pamphlet — or other media — that mentioned a candidate for federal office. In his concurring opinion in Citizens United v. FEC, Chief Justice John Roberts accurately said: “The government urges us in this case to uphold a direct prohibition on political speech.”

Fortunately, the court did not — by a 5-4 margin.
7.)    Let’s talk a little about some events in the news. What do you think of the Ground Zero mosque debate?

Someone truly committed to building good feelings between Americans and the Islamic world would not insist on building a mosque next door to Ground Zero.

8.)    What do you think is going to happen in November? Are Democrats going to lose control of the House and/or Senate?

The Democrats will lose the House. I do not know about the Senate.

9.)   What are the three books you think have most influenced your thinking that you would recommend everyone read?

They are not books exactly, but plays. I think everyone should read Shakespeare. Shakespeare repeatedly demonstrated that when families break down states do, too, and freedom gives way to tyranny. He also demonstrated the reverse. See Hamlet and King Lear for the former; Henry V for the latter.

10.)    Any plans to write another book anytime soon? If so, what about?

Yes. Stay tuned.