Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Liberty; It’s a Matter of Choice


The world in which we live has become cluttered with some people trying to rule other people. This is done through passing law after law that restricts certain behaviors. It is done in the name of saving the children, or the helpless or in the name of the public safety; in some cases with religious fervor.  The problem is so many of these laws, rules, mandates or regulations prohibit behaviors which are victimless crimes.

If we define breaking the law as a crime then: not wearing a seat belt in a moving motor vehicle is now a crime. Buying too much of a certain cold remedy is now a crime. Carrying a certain weapon for self defense is a crime. Opening an eating establishment without government blessing is now a crime in Pike County, for example a sidewalk lemonade stand. In New York City selling certain drinks in excess of 16ozs is now a crime. Having an excess of lights on a running board of a vehicle is a crime. The list is essentially endless. How ‘bout someone willing to take a job for $6 per hour instead of $8.25, the so called government mandated amount.

Libertarians, on the other hand, attempt to make it clear that fiscal responsibility is imperative and essential to Liberty. “That government governs best which governs least,” being the rally cry. The most fuss from the so called mainstream is that, “those Libertarians are in favor of vice and drugs and all sorts socially unacceptable behaviors.” That really isn’t correct. What the Libertarian would prefer to say is we are in favor of choice. Choice is the difference between a free man and a slave. I personally would prefer that my kids choose not to sample alcohol, or mind altering substances or get entangled in the behaviors which I consider to be bad choices, but remain victimless crimes.

The slave has no choice, he is ruled by his master and must ask permission before he commits any act. In my opinion, while I personally would not condone poor choices for anyone, and especially for my family, I do not feel that once my child has reached an age where he should be able to make ‘right’ choices, that it is my business or “right” to able to pass a law against him or anyone making a poor choice. I consider it a poor choice to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, but my wife has made that choice 7 times. It is not my business to rule my wife or my neighbors via government decree, at least for victimless behaviors.

It cannot be the job of my neighbor to inflict his beliefs on me nor mine on him until, and unless, his bad choices affect me. At the point his poor choice affects me then I might have cause to pursue a remedy in law, but until then I have no call to rule my neighbor. For instance if my neighbor lies in his house in an intoxicated stupor then what is that to me. If he gets in his car and begins to drive it while not in control of his faculties and endanger me and mine, then things change. Till then it is none of my business.

There is no end to passing laws that prohibit behaviors of various types. Some of these behaviors are disgusting to any average person, however part of the price of Liberty is that if we are to be free then we must allow all to be free to make choices. Some of those choices may be repugnant to people who are of common social morals. Anything less leads to really bad crime. There was no “organized” crime until prohibition. Prohibited victimless behaviors lead to crime. Crime leads to injury and lack of safety, which requires more Law Enforcement Officers and more laws prohibiting more behaviors which need more monitoring of bank accounts, phone calls and texts and on and on.

So the Libertarian philosophy is not one that encourages poor social choices, rather it is a philosophy that says government must remain neutral on victimless issues because that is necessary to maintain Liberty. Where there is no choice, there is no Liberty.

If you would like to correspond with me on this contact me at: editorial@pike912.org or leave a message at 217-285-2134, or follow my blog at: pike912.blogspot.com.

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