Webster Dictionary Definition of LIBERTY: 1. the quality or state of being free 2. the power to do as one pleases 3. freedom from arbitrary or despotic control 4. the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges 5. the power of choice
Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
I am truly alarmed and horrified at the erosion of liberty in our lives. I'll site some things that are really irking me later, but what's even worse is that it seems like we're just sitting on our haunches and watching our freedoms vanish one after another. Everyone is so content to just let our "nanny," the government, just make all our decisions. Is this a generational thing - that we're too lazy to make our own minds up? Too comfortable in our recliners? Unlike our founding fathers who weren't content with having arbitrary control forced upon them from the British church and government. Are we so caught up in the rat-race that we can't even see what is going on around us?
So what is it that's got me all fired up? Well, it will seem stupid at first, because it is rather trivial. It's more the additive effect of stealing freedom and choice over and over. I reached my tipping point on Sunday. We were out boating on a gorgeous afternoon, minding our own business and following all the rules of the lake...or so we thought. Until the rent-a-cop boat police decided to pull us over. "What's wrong sir?" "How old are the kids in the boat?" "Six, five-and-a half, eighteen months, and the one in the tube is eight." "Well, they don't have the right kind of life jackets on." "Excuse us, they're all wearing coast-guard approved vests, sir."
"Well, they need to have type 1 PFD's until they're six in a boat, and until 12 on a jet ski. The rule changed this spring."
If you're not a boating sort, this seems stupid and irrelevant, but have you worn one of these Type 1 PFD's for any length of time? Back when I was a kid, this was the only option and they were a monstrosity. (Luckily we had a really worn-out version that was tolerable, but probably wouldn't have held up my leg). Until the modern boating era designed the type 3 PFD that is more like a jacket. The most recent life-jackets are actually really nice and made out of materials that aren't too bad. Even C.J. doesn't fuss to put his on. Also back when I was a kid (hey, that's really not that long ago despite you wanting to tease me about being old), there were no age rules on when you had to wear a PFD, it was up to your parent's judgement. So now, we not only have an age restriction (that came a few years back), we have to revert to the proverbial stone-age of life-jackets. The claim is "they hold up your head better," but I seriously wonder what manufacturers lobbied for this change after the new, comfortable versions came on scene and the type 1 sales plummeted? Why must the government infringe on our liberty? Am I unable of making a decision (for some reason my parents were able to make that decision and many others over the years without massive death and destruction on the planet).
Here are some other instances that take away our liberty/choice:
- I can't decide which tpye, or how long my child will be restrained in vehicles
- You must ride a helmet on a motorcycle
- You can't smoke almost everywhere (even in your own home in San Francisco)
- You can't lead prayer in public school
I'll go on...but wait, we can let a 15 year old choose to terminate a pregnancy? That seems really ironic.
- Everyone in a car must wear a seatbelt
- We buy cars that have to meet a certain cafe standard
- Trans fat is bad, restaurants had to take it out
- Sugar is bad - lets tax it
- Many states don't allow private citizens to have certain types of guns
- We can't use normal light bulbs. We have to use ones with mercury in them - nice...isn't that one of the leading causes of autism.
- They tell third graders, if your parents spank you, report it because that's child abuse
- ...and now, my kid must wear a type 1 or 2 PFD at all times in a boat until he's 6
Some of you are reading this post thinking I'm nuts, these are all good rules, made to protect us. Maybe so. I'm not at all saying that there shouldn't be a rule of law and we can just have anarchy, but why, in a country founded on the principle of liberty, can't I choose for myself as long as the effects don't imfringe on someone else?
I just hate where I see this country going. We are willingly being led in the name of "protection"; and as we walk the leash is getting tighter and tighter. I'm scared that by the time we realize it's choking us, we'll be asphyxiated and unable to reverse the damage. Generation X, we are adults now. It really is ok to make your own choice without mommy, daddy, and the nanny. We don't need to be forced to take on government health care. We shouldn't have to drive a match-box car. It should be my choice if I choose to be so dumb as to get on a motorcycle without a helmet. If I want to eat french fries cooked with trans fat and die of a heart attack, the responsibility is on me, no one else. If I want to be able to boat with my child, in peace, without clammoring and fussing because he can't turn his head or even sit down, it's a risk I'll take (for pete's sake, he's still wearing a life jacket). Some kids need a good hard spanking (maybe that's half the problem, not enough of generation x got spanked?:)). I hate smoking, it's gross. But if someone wants to smoke and they are in my space, have at it. It's your lungs and don't blame the tobacco company.
This country is too great!! Our founders were too wise!! The Constitution is amazing!! People have brains - make them use them!! Why can't we rest on these factors and quit with all the trivial rules and regulations.
Now that I've irked off everyone. I'll quit and go to bed. I feel much better. I'll sleep much sounder. Hopefully you can grant me the liberty of this vent without holding it agains me.