Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Don't take it for granted.

A threat to freedom anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere. The loss of freedom comes slowly and slips into our lives in non-threatening ways. Smoking's bad for you- let's make it illegal to smoke anywhere outside of your home. Guns can be dangerous- let's make it harder to purchase them. Education is important- let's implement lots of testing and mandate that all children learn the same thing at the same time. Seat belts save lives- let's make it a crime not to wear one. Speaking out against the current administration is seditious- let's start wire tapping the phones of citizens who speak out against our elected officials.

It's easy to turn the other way when you see someone losing freedoms- as long as it's not your freedom that' being encroached upon. I'm allergic to cigarette smoke. Heck- I stand upwind when burning ditches in the spring because I simply hate smoke.  A smoking ban in restaurants sounds like good news to me! All that nasty smoke is bad for me. You shouldn't be able to smoke in my presence. In fact, why don't you just quit smoking? I think there should be a law dealing with that. 

Forget the right of a private property owner to choose how to use his own property. Forget my right to patronize a non-smoking business. It's just plain common sense to force people to quit smoking. I don't smoke. My friends don't smoke. Heaven knows my children should not ever smoke. That guy who lives down the road- it should be a crime for him to smoke.

Ok, maybe I don't really think it should be a crime to smoke cigarettes. They are really gross though. I don't smoke and neither do my friends or family members. So... if you want to pass laws criminalizing smoking I won't support them- but I won't oppose them either. Anti-smoking laws don't affect me.

A threat to freedom anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere. What happens when it's parental rights at stake? What if the mainstream media goes after homeschooling parents or private religious schools? When it's our turn to give up our freedom- who will stand for us? Who will stand with us? We are not a majority. If majority rule is what it's all about and the majority are apathetic towards our choice- will we retain the freedom to educate our children as we see fit?

Common sense is not something that should (or can) be legislated. Yes, it's good common sense to always know where your children are and keep them safe. Does that mean a parent is criminally negligent if they allow a child to climb a tree? Is it ok to climb the tree so long as the child doesn't fall out of the tree? Is it ok to fall out of the tree so long as no bones are broken? If the child falls and gets scratches and bruises should that be grounds to terminate parental rights? This may seem like a meaningless argument- but it's the direction we're headed.

When you try to legislate morality and good common sense you quickly criminalize many acts that aren't truly criminal. Government should not be so bulky and all encompassing that normal people live in fear of accidentally breaking the law. Laws should exist only for the most extreme situations (murder and assault being quite extreme). 

Next time you hear about proposed bans on certain activities or greater government oversight for anything, ask yourself, "what happens if this law isn't passed?" Fear of what might happen allows us to trample all over other people's rights. "What if my children see that man drinking a beer? They might grow up to be alcoholics?" Of course you could talk to your kids about the lemmings jumping off the cliff. "What if my kid grows up to be gay because we gave homosexuals equal rights?" Of course your kid could grow up to be suicidal when they realize the majority of the men like women and they are going to be shunned within their family and community. "What if that kid with cancer dies because his mother allowed him to refuse chemo?" What if that kid dies anyway and spends his last year in hell on Earth because he's forced to do chemo?

Life is hard. The answers aren't easy. There is no cheat sheet to refer to when working through the trials of life. Don't allow freedom to be stolen from a few individuals just because their issues aren't your issues. Some day your freedom will come under fire. Make sure you've worked to protect others and hopefully they'll stand with you when it's your turn to fight.


Amy said...

Where to begin? I just don't know Janet, me being the almost socialist I am there might just be too much to discuss in your comments.

I agree that we should be very conscious of all of our rights and I have a very hard time with people wanting to limit others rights, when it has no affect on their lives.

However you also know where I stand on stuff like:

1) gun control (I do not want just anyone to be able to go in and buy whatever weapon they wish)

I am glad for the smoking bans (there is too much info on second hand smoke and not good enough ventilation systems for me to want to share a restaurant with smokers. Now I wouldn't have a problem with restaurants etc, either being smoking of completely non smoking, I just think the half walls separating a restaurant are not practical.

3) I wouldn't care about the seat belt laws except that I don't want to be worried about an accident with someone who wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Now however when you brought up the parents of the boy with cancer I happen to agree with the government stepping in. Mostly because from what I've read his form of cancer is 90% curable with chemo and radiation, and the judge was practical enough to say that he wouldn't force chemo if the cancer had grown beyond the curable stage. Plus as a parent I can't imagine letting my child die of something that should be curable because I couldn't stand to see her suffer for a short time. I think I would do anything if it would give my child a future. I this case it sound like that one treatment of chemo had dramatically reduced the tumor size when they gave it up to pursue other treatment, and then when the court ordered a chest exray it was as big as or larger than before. Plus the 13 year old believed that chemo would kill him more surely than the cancer, that is just irresponsible on the parents part.

Okay enough comments from me, I'm sure none of my views were a surprise to you!

Oh where's your book review?

Carline said...

I like what you say, there are always two sides to any subject, but once the liberties are gone, they are gone. The latest is a bill wanting to tax carbon use. I remember buildings in Scotland with bricked up windows because hundreds of years ago, sunlight was taxed. Are we going in that direction? Perhaps.

Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room