The Free Market – Freedom (Part 1)
A friend of mine once brought up an interesting question concerning the government. He said it seems like a lot of people spend a lot of time complaining about the government, but he wanted to know how we are actually affected. Don’t most of us just go about our daily lives without a whole lot of interference? How do government policies actually affect us?
This was on Facebook, and he got quite a few comments. What I found so interesting was that Conservatives did list quite a few laws that directly impact us. The Liberals responded with, “Yeah, but…” They all thought those intrusive, limiting laws were good because in some instances they protect people from making bad choices. It illustrates a pretty fundamental difference. Conservatives, such as myself, put a lot of stock in individual freedom. I think I should be free to make my own choices. If I make a dumb choice, I think I should live with the consequences and not force others to pay for my mistakes. I think I am smart enough to make better choices for myself in my situation than bureaucrats and elected officials who know nothing of my choices and circumstances.
I thought this topic would make a good post. I’ve come up with a list of several examples by which the government controls or limits the choices I make. It’s important to note that in all these examples, my choices only affect me and my family. I’m not addressing the ‘freedom’ to make choices that will force or limit some one else’s freedom as a result.
I’ll start with some free market examples. Once, my husband and I bought a house. Our first house. It had two units, so we could rent out half of it, which covered a good chunk of the mortgage. We bought a house because we planned on living there for a few years and thought it would be great to own in a college town where there are always a huge supply of renters. Our plans changed and we ended up moving to Chicago instead after only a year. It was a lovely little house, and we would have liked to rent both units so we could continue owning the house. We thought it would be nice to have an income from the rent, let the house increase in value, let my younger sisters live there if they went to college there, and eventually our children. We owned the house. When you rent to someone it is a mutual contract; they agree that they want to live there. But, we couldn’t. It was illegal. The house wasn’t zoned as a duplex; it had to be owner occupied in order to rent. The left says, “Yeah, but…” It’s a good law, right? We wouldn’t want the house falling into disrepair, renters destroying it and driving down the cost of surrounding houses. You know what? I wouldn’t want my house falling into disrepair either. If I owned a house I would make sure it stayed in good shape. Because I would want to keep renting it to decent people who would also take care of it. Because I value the things that I own and don’t want them destroyed. Because I also care about property values and wouldn’t want my home negatively effecting surrounding homes. “Yeah, but… we need those laws, because some people wouldn’t take care of their rental property.” So? So??? Is this a free country, or not? In a free market, I would be able to rent out what I own, and others would be able to choose to rent from me if they wanted. The government limits those choices, and instead forced us to sell our home. Had we not been able to (it was 2009), we would have gone bankrupt. Potential forced bankruptcy, courtesy of intrusive government regulations.
My next few happened during pregnancy. The inconsistency in these policies is mind boggling. It started with my doctor giving me several state mandated blood tests for STDs. State mandated, the government has decided that every pregnant woman has to get these tests, regardless of circumstances. I also had to pay for them, of course. Now, my husband and I did not have sex before we got married. If you only ever have sex with one person, how are you supposed to get an STD? Maybe I would rather spend $200 on food or housing, and not unnecessary blood tests. “Yeah, but…” That’s a good law, right? Just in case? Most people aren’t virgins when they get married, and you never know if your spouse cheats on you. It’s for the baby, you wouldn’t want to have a sick baby and not know about it. Maybe that’s true, and maybe most people should get these tests. Not me. Don’t need them, and some random government official doesn’t know better than me what kind of STD testing I do or don’t need. This is almost exactly the same as the required chlamydia/ghonorrhea treatment they gave my daughter moments after she was born. I asked if I could opt out of it, but my nurse told me no, it’s required by law. As soon as my beautiful little girl was born, they put unnecessary chemicals in her eyes, because some politician thinks I’m too stupid to choose for myself whether or not my baby receives STD treatments.
One more pregnancy example. At one point, when I was about five months pregnant, I had a tooth that hurt. I called a dentist, set up an appointment, and went in. I had even paid while waiting. They called me back, then while going over my paperwork said that they couldn’t treat me because I was pregnant. Again, they cited state laws. They said if I got a note from my doctor allowing me to be treated, they would see me. The woman said it was because the X-rays they had to take were potentially dangerous to the fetus. Well, I minored in physics, and I am not worried about an X-ray taken of my face having enough stray rays get through a lead jacket to damage a five-month-old fetus. But, I don’t know as much as the politician who majored in Political Science and decided that pregnant women are too dumb to know what treatments would or wouldn’t be safe for them. Can I not choose for myself to take the risk? “Yeah, but…” A lot of pregnant women don’t know much about medical treatments, right? Better safe than sorry. So I decided to see if Illinois has any consistency when it comes to laws protecting the fetus. (You want to take a quick guess before I give you the answer?) They want to know if the fetus has any STDs, and they force babies to be treated for two STDs. They worry about the potential damage done by X-rays. How do you think damage to the fetus caused by X-rays compares to, oh, say, damage caused by drinking alcohol? Sorry, I have no idea, because there aren’t actually any statistics measuring the rate of defective babies born to women who got facial X-rays during pregnancy. On the other hand, the 100% preventable Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effects occur at rates of 1-2 per thousand and 3-5 per thousand births (respectively). I went to a grocery store and asked if I was allowed to buy alcohol while pregnant. The cashier said yes. Then I went to a bar and asked the same thing. They said yes, and offered to seat me.
So, thanks to the government I am not allowed to rent a house I own to willing renters. I have to put up a few hundred dollars every time I get pregnant to pay for tests I do not need. If I want to go to the dentist, I need to get written permission from my doctor first. Why am I conservative? I like my freedom.
Posted on July 15, 2011, in Freedom and tagged choices, free market, freedom, housing, individual choices, individual freedom, intrusive government, regulations, why I'm Conservative. Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.