Wisconsin Welcomes the Wild West

Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson has carried his philosophy of individual choice to its logical conclusion. A long-time proponent of religious school vouchers and marketplace solutions to social problems, the Republican governor and vice presidential wannabe signed legislation this fall that prohibits local governments from enacting gun control ordinances that are stronger than state regulations.

In signing the bill, Thompson argued that it’s “more important to empower individuals than government.” With the stroke of a pen, Thompson did away with 35 local gun-control which, for instance, made it a crime to carry a loaded gun in public places such as shopping malls or city streets, or banned assault weapons and armor-piercing bullets. Next on the pro-gun agenda: legislation that would allow people to carry concealed weapons in public.

Thompson apparently had no trouble signing the legislation despite his rhetorical allegiance to the right-wing mantra of “local control” when it comes to issues such as education and welfare. One might just chalk this up to the usual double-speak of a politician. But it’s intolerable that conservatives so consistently mis-use the rhetoric of individual rights and local control — when their actual agenda leads to the average individual’s decreased control over government, the selling of government to the highest-paid lobbyist, and the government’s abdication of responsibility to protect the well-being of all its citizens.