Scrudato: Politics of revenge

As a nation, we find ourselves lost in a stormy sea of doubt. As our troubles grow, we search for a captain capable of taking the helm to lead us clear of our troubles, into the clear skies and promised glory of yesteryear.

But as we cast our gaze on a field of challengers to find this chosen one, we inevitably find that all of them fall short of the task. The real problem, however, is not that we cannot find someone talented enough to solve our problems; no, our real problem is that we, as a people, cling to the hope that such a person can be found at all.

Whereas once we proudly captained our own vessels, guided by the lighthouse beacons of self-determination and self-identification, we have been convinced to lash our ships to the proud ship of state.

With the most enticing visions of the future, our past captains bound us ever tighter to the state. We submitted to each successive loss of liberty, with hope of some material gain. The national income tax was instituted to supplement governmental income and provide more services. The Patriot Act and the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies were created merely for our own well-being and protection. Citizens are herded like cattle to be poked and prodded by Transportation Security Administration personnel in the name of airport security. The need for protest permits in the realm of free speech was naturally intended only to preserve the public tranquility.

Despite the Founding Fathers’ warnings, we regularly trade liberty for security and comfort, but rarely do we find it worth the expense. The income tax, once a 3 percent tax filed on a single sheet of paper, now requires taxpayers to reference an over 13,000 page tax code; the revenue is used to fund activities many taxpayers find morally repugnant. The intelligence community, so enabled by the Patriot Act, regularly spies on presumably innocent U.S. citizens.

Inevitably, we change leadership, as we have done three times in the past decade, after we see these encroachments. Sadly, each new regime finds new liberties to curtail in pursuit of the greater good and finds the increased power of its forerunners too convenient to part with. New regulations are introduced and the old outrages join the ranks of the status quo to serve as the masters and guardians of new generations.

Our current congressional leaders, once outraged by growing executive power the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan, warrantless wiretapping among others suddenly find themselves blind to those offenses which they so strongly opposed. Now our new captains have some regulations of their own to introduce.

For example, the health care “reform” bill recently approved by the House is akin to Pandora’s Box. The bill weighs in at over 2,000 pages, rife with cryptic mandates and regulations written in flowing legalese. It is so long and convoluted that even its backers admit that no one fully understands how it will be implemented.

One particularly lovely piece of the legislation criminalizes a citizen’s refusal to purchase health insurance. To complement this power grab, the Senate’s proposed Cap and Trade bill would vest the Environmental Protection Agency with the power to regulate greenhouse gases with all the fees, fines, and criminal charges already at its disposal.

Current poll numbers indicate that Americans are already tired of these heavy-handed tactics and our leadership may change hands once again in 2010. Unfortunately, history shows this will do nothing to restore our liberty. As the party of economic tyranny departs, the lazy stewards of civil liberties will return.

Even though we have seen the inability of our leaders to repeal failed policies and rule with regard to the rights of all men, some still insist on clinging ever tighter to the state, “knowing” that it was the other side that sabotaged their utopia. They hold fast to the hope that their group might again wrest control and set things right.

Each party, given its turn at the helm, is willing to cede certain rights of all citizens, usually rights it doesn’t much care for, on behalf of a partisan goal. Whether the issue is forcing universal health care upon the citizenry, controlling what children are taught in school or deciding the validity of same-sex marriages, it seems as if all of our leaders dearly wish to wield the power of the government against their opposition.

In the future, we must all resist the temptation to elect those willing to use the state to impose their will on others. It may seem advantageous in the short term to have the government cater to your vision of the world, especially when the only expense is unwanted liberties, but a just government must be a government by the people for all the people.

Leaders who crush the rights of the opposition only ensure the same, in turn, will be done to them.

John Scrudato is a junior in Morse College.


  • Yale 08

    that’s why Yale turned me into a libertarian.

    Politicians and big government are evil

  • Mixed Metaphor

    YDN Editor: You really, really, really need to do a better job of catching mixed metaphors and making the authors remove them. This piece already rambles and is basically one big incomprehensible generality, so a mixed metaphor makes it completely absurd. The first paragraph has the following: “As a nation, we find ourselves lost in a stormy sea of doubt. As our troubles grow, we search for a captain capable of taking the helm to lead us clear of our troubles, into the clear skies and promised glory of yesteryear.” So a ship captain is leading us into the sky? What is this glory vehicle? A combination of a hovercraft and a Harrier jet? The paragraph is so ridiculous it made me laugh out loud and makes the writer lose all authorial credibility from the first few lines. Please, please EDIT these pieces before publishing them!

  • The Ship’s Captain

    I will help you climb the ladder of success across a sea of troubles, enabling you to leave your footprints in the sands of time while guiding the reader to calmer seas. FAIR WINDS AND FOLLOWING SEAS!

  • Anonymous


    And you blissfully ignore the point by attacking the semantics. How convenient it must be to ignore inconvenient ideas because their presentation does not live up to your standards.

  • Disappointed

    I’m sorry. This may come across as a troll post, but this article is very poorly written.

    The first 3 paragraphs are embarrassingly corny and contrived, and frankly, it detracts from your entire argument.

    Both the writer and the editor need to step up their performance. This is just unacceptable.

  • Mixed Metaphor

    Dear #4: Please re-read what I wrote. I am not “ignoring inconvenient ideas” because there pretty much aren’t ideas here. It rambles. It’s incoherent. I can’t debate the author or post something resembling a rebuttal of this piece because there is nothing to rebut! This piece is emblematic of why the YDN is heading downhill so far under this new board: poor editing and poor selection of pieces by the editors. I have no problem with conservative views, and I have no problem with liberal views. I do have a problem with very poorly expressed views or pieces that read like the first paragraph of “Their Eyes Were Watching God” on steroids. This isn’t a matter of semantics. It’s a matter of expression of ideas and intelligent debate, which is what YDN op-ed pages should be about.

    Finally, I don’t ask that YDN pieces comply with some special set of standards but rather that they comply with basic English standards and don’t make a mockery of themselves with stupid things like mixed metaphor and belabored conceits about ships. This piece could be boiled down to once sentence: laws should be simply written and liberties should not be taken away from people, yet both parties write ludicrously long laws and strip people of either economic or civil liberties. The rest of this article is fluff about boats.

  • anon

    This piece makes plenty of sense, IF you agree with the author’s premise: that liberty is a) the only value worth considering, b) defined as the ability to choose between private providers for all services and not government ones, with the proviso that c) having little money, though it does constrain the choices mentioned above, nevertheless does not limit your liberty because it’s your own damn fault.

    If you buy all of that, you’ll buy the rest of this nonsense as a matter of course. If you don’t, there’s really nothing in here that’s going to convince you differently.

  • HDT


    The first paragraph is not a mixed metaphor, and only seems that way if you are an unimaginative literalist. To guide a ship into clear skies does not mean you start flying; all it means is that you guide it through the storm.

    However, I do agree that the metaphor is rather maudlin.

  • Grammar

    Actually, you are wrong. Preposition was “into,” not to. The whole point of a mixed metaphor is that two metaphors are jumbled together to create a ridiculous effect. “Clear skies” is one metaphor. “Stormy sea of doubt” is another metaphor. When put together in this way (i.e. with the word “into”) they seem ridiculous. It could have been better expressed. Given that this entire piece is one extended nautical cliche, one would expect a little more effort in the opening. The YDN op-ed page is not a bulletin board for shoddy exercises in cliche regurgitation, which is sadly all this piece amounts to.

  • Highbrow Lefty

    Another hateful anti-Obama screed from Mr. Scrudato. So much for equality and open-mindedness at Yale…

    why don’t you just go to tea party protests with the other haters?

  • @#10

    uh… what?

    If anything, Mr. Scrudato was equally “hateful” towards both political parties. It strikes me as more anti-government than anti-Obama.

    And the posts on your Twitter account are ridiculous. It MUST to be a joke. “Just saw a flyer encouraging me to attend Episcopal services–theocrats trying to take my religious freedom. Sarah Palin behind this?” Seriously? Then again, you need a Yale education to say something THAT close-minded and stupid.

  • Highbrow Lefty @ @#10

    Well, I don’t think you need me to remind you how often “anti-government” is just a tricky euphemism for “anti-black.”

  • @ #s 10 & 12

    Really? Either these posts are bad jokes or the poster must be about 13. No mature person can make such half-witted generalizations while smugly ridiculing others’ level of intelligence. But then again, the poster is posturing himself as a flaming liberal…

  • Ron Wilner

    Sighting our current and past presidential leadership or lack thereof for guiding the ship of state to calmer waters misses the real point of our collective inability to protect of freedoms. It is not the President that is the almighty protector of our liberties. We are. All of us have failed in that endeavor bestowed upon us by our Founding Fathers.

    We have constantly reelected the most scurrilous cads to the most honored position of authority in the land. The Founding Fathers never intended that public service would become a life’s pursuit. For them it was a calling and civic duty and retired to private life after a short term. Now, our government is controlled by the Career Politicians who interest in fostering the rights of its citizens they allegedly represent to lesser importance.

    Our citizenry is incensed and rightly so. Many people in all walks of life are watching our liberties that have traditionally made this country great slowly and almost imperceptively diminish. High unemployment, escalating cost of living, higher taxes, reduced retirement and health care benefits and rising college tuition costs all contribute to a reduced enthusiasm for our future prospects. No matter what obstacles confront Americans, nothing has deterred us from banning together and correcting the difficulties we, as a united people, face.

    At a time in our history when dark clouds are casting shadows on our freedom, we must continually take action to avert the damage of the pending storm. One way is to hunker down and fight the onslaught from the trenches. Attending Tea Parties, Town Hall meetings and writing our Congressmen are proven methods on how to give voice to our frustrations. Giving voice to our frustrations alone may not deter the Congress from taking inappropriate actions against the best interest of their current and future constituents. Congressmen who don’t heed the warnings about their irresponsible spending and demonstrate the flagrant disregard for the Constitution should join the unemployment lines.

    Our vote is the most precious tool in our arsenal to thwart government abuse and trampling of our freedoms. The Taboo Party supports turnover at all levels of government and advocates supporting all Challengers to Incumbents. Taboo is an acronym for Throw All Bums Out of Office. The Bums are Career Politicians. Career Politicians comprise three categories:

    1. Freeloaders (those in office more than 36 years),
    2. Wannabees (aspiring Freeloaders with 20+ years in office), and
    3. Anti-Termers (those who refuse to vote for Term Limits).

    Visit the Taboo Party website at and learn how you can help to restore this country to its former Greatness as the Founding Fathers envisioned.


    Ron Wilner, Founder and Creator of The Taboo Party

  • Ugh

    Methinks someone just read Walden.

    As a citizen of this country, you benefit from all of the services a government provides: roads, communications, power, justice, defense, etc. In return, your unadulaterated liberty is circumscribed by the government, whose employees are supposed to be acting out the will of their constituents. Thus, there is an inherent balance between individual liberty and representative government. That the government enacts programs that you consider an infringement of your liberty is the result of living in a civil society. If you don’t like the will of the people, which admittedly tends lean more towards safety than liberty, you can always move to Alaska, build a hut, and enoy your liberty in America’s frontier.

    I am a fan of limited government involvement in the private sphere, I find modern politics to be nothing more than a lie, and I think that America’s democracy is becoming increasing illusory…but I find this kind of reactionary libertarian writing to be nothing more than a petulant reaction of someone who doesn’t get everything he wants.

  • wow

    Highbrow Lefty, where was Obama mentioned in this article? Who is the one who needs an open mind? Every post I read from you attacks the writer personally. Usually one who attacks the messenger is afraid of the reality of the message. It saddens me that you are at Yale one of our most prestigious university with such hate and anger. I thought this was an institution of learning and dialogue. Obviously Mr. Scrudato bothers you for some reason. You made that clear. Now try and stick to the point and add something constructive or do us a favor and shut up.

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