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.