Thursday - March 25, 2010

Category Image Does Anyone Even Remember What Freedom is Anymore?

Ayn Rand once commented that many young people seem to think that freedom means being able to drink either Pepsi or Coca Cola, dressing however they want, or listening to the style of music they prefer.  Even in their darkest days, she wrote, not even the Soviet Union dictated musical styles to people, or told them how to dress.  

I think her perspective is even more germane today.  Our civics discussions still claim that we are a free country, but I'm not seeing where all that freedom exists.

Yeah, you can choose between coke and pepsi, but can you start a business without government approval?  Can you hire people without onerous taxes and regulations?  Can you use salt on your food in the New York City?  My grandmother worked her entire life as a housekeeper, I don't think she ever asked anyone's permission, definitely not the government's, to conduct that business.  Just try doing that today.  Back in the early 90's on many military bases, you were not allowed to have the neighbor's kid babysit your children for the evening without her getting certified and licensed by the base.  The ostensible reason was to protect the children, but everyone knew the real reason was to grant the base day care center a monopoly.  Can you imagine the impact to business if this mentality is extended to the entire country?  It's coming if we're not careful.

What do we have that makes us free?  Surely there must be something.  Two hundred and thirty-five years ago we rebelled against the British for a long list of abuses listed in the Declaration of Independence. Most of their complaints seem quite tame by today's standards.

When the government controls your health, they control your life.  The government has in the past declared that firearms ownership is a health issue for the Center for Disease Control to monitor.  The government wants to wage war against obesity.   With the government controlling our access to medicine and doctors, they will have total control over our lives.  You want to get that MRI?  Well, you need to stop eating so much.  You need antibiotics?  Well, you should have kept a better log of your exercise regimen.  Controlling the health care industry gives the government the power to control your guns, your cigarettes, and your cheeseburgers, not to mention your life and death.  The government has gotten close to criminalizing the weather.

People wonder at the animosity and acrimony in politics today, and wonder why it's gotten so bad.  The more power the government wields, the more vigorous the disagreements on how to wield that power will be.  Our federal government has risen to nearly omnipotent power now and the debate has become quite vigorous.  

What makes a people free?  The word has been defined down to being almost meaningless.  

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