Control – Freedom (Part 5)
I have gone through several examples of how the government limits our freedoms, infringes on our choices, forces us to act in a certain way, for apparently no reason at all. But, there has to be a reason, right? So, what is the reason? Why can’t I decide what is or isn’t safe for my children? Why can’t I choose whether or not to wear a seatbelt? Why can’t I decide when and how to invest money I work for? Why can’t a group of people just live their lives, choosing what to do and how to interact, with the government only there to resolve disputes and protect the country from external threats?
I have heard estimates that in the entire history of the Earth, fewer than 5 percent of all people who have ever lived have lived under conditions that we could consider free. That would make it seem like it is human nature to enslave those they have power over. But, how do you get power over a free people? You just start making laws, instituting regulations, limiting choices. There are thousands upon thousands of laws on our books. My husband and I try very hard to be law abiding, but the fact is that you can’t. You can’t live your life reasonably, work hard, interact with others, and you are inevitably breaking laws. I watched this video from a former Police Officer, who said if he wanted to pull someone over, all he had to do was follow them, and eventually they would break a law. Always. That really scares me. In a free country, citizens should not be afraid of their government. In a free country, people should be able to make reasonable choices, and not be in danger of breaking some random, unknown law. The fact is, you can’t control a law abiding person. You can control those who break the law, and you do that by making everyone into law breakers.
Liberal policies literally make slaves out of those dependent on the government. I’ve mentioned a woman I help on occasion. She receives disability (because has a low stress tolerance and ‘can’t’ work), free medical care, food stamps, and transportation. She had destroyed her apartment, and is fighting her landlord’s attempts to evict her. She literally can not afford anything in Chicago, and is desperate for section 8 housing to open up. When I’ve recommended leaving Chicago to find a cheaper apartment she says, “I can’t, I would lose PACE benefits.” When I recommend getting a job she says, “I don’t think I can have an income and keep my benefits.” Is that freedom? She is literally a slave to the government programs she depends on. She can not function without the government. Not because she can’t work, but because she has convinced herself (and her government appointed psychologist has assured her) that she can’t work, and she can’t survive without the benefits she receives. What kind of life is that? Not being able to choose where you live, what you do with your time?
This is a great article on how government creates poverty. The problem, the overarching problem, is that those who have been elected into positions of power sincerely believe that they know what is best for individuals, and implement policies to control us. I highly recommend Thomas Sowell’s ‘Intellectual’s and Society’. He explains, much better than I could, how intelligence is distributed. A congressman might believe that he has an abundance of knowledge on a particular topic, but the fact is that a mass of millions of people have more collective knowledge; and while they all know and understand their individual needs, desires and circumstances, they are also in the best position to choose for themselves how to interact and live their lives.
I was recently reported to the police for leaving my kids in the car while I ran into a post office to drop off a package. I was inside for four minutes. The police woman told me I hadn’t done anything illegal, (I can legally leave my kids unattended for ten minutes) but warned me about the various dangers; people breaking into my car, the car overheating, etc. All of which I’m perfectly aware of. She talked about the importance of leaving my window cracked. She doesn’t know anything about my car. I know that my car has good AC, and that it remained cooler in my car for the four minutes because the air inside was cold, than it would have if I had cracked the windows. She talked about not being able to see my children. The post office was empty, and I was able to park right in front of a window so I could see my car the entire time I was inside. She talked about how little time it takes to break a window and steal a child. She doesn’t know that my son knows where the pepper spray is, and he has been instructed to spray anyone who tries to get into our car. I want my children to be safe. I know how to keep them safe. I would never, say, park my car and then go onto the other side of a brick wall for ten minutes. Which is legal. I might stand on the sidewalk talking to a friend for 11 minutes after I’ve strapped my kids in, which is illegal.
The question was, why? Why all these laws and regulations? I would love some other theories. All the reasons I can think of reflect negatively on our government. I mentioned not being able to day-trade, unless we had $25,000 dollars in our stock account. Day trading is a simple way to try to make money. It’s risky, but a lot less risky than buying a lottery ticket. Do many people have $25,000 they can just keep in an account for the privilege of being able to purchase and sell stocks as they please? It’s an interesting requirement. Like, a way to make it easier for the wealthy to make money, while limiting those with less disposable cash. I’ve lived in Chicago for two years. I have seen police run red lights about five times. Not police cars with their lights and sirens on, obviously they have the right-of-way. But police cars meandering along (at slightly above the speed limit), who stop at red lights, then go when they see no one is coming. Are traffic laws in place for our safety? If so, police should follow them. If they are not necessary, they are just another means of control. As a conservative, I believe that laws should only exist to prevent others from infringing on our rights. I can’t kill someone else because it infringes on their right to life. Most laws have nothing to do with protecting our rights. Why can’t I sell baklava to my friends? That infringes on my rights and my friend’s rights. It’s control. The government controls interactions, controls the ‘free market’, controls who can or can’t get licenses to practice their desired career. The government controls who receives benefits, makes a list of requirements that people then try to fall within in order to stay eligible. A free people should not have so many facets of their lives controlled.
I believe in freedom. I believe the government exists to protect me from others infringing on my rights. I believe the government should not be involved in my life on a daily basis. I believe I can make the best choices for myself and my family. This is why I’m conservative.