Who’s Really Trying to Restrict Your Freedom?
- 20 January 2008 by Author 0 Comments
Who’s Really Trying to Restrict Your Freedom?
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 01/20/08
There are certain phrases and appellations that are wantonly thrown around in political discussions that become common and accepted. By frequent repetition, such phrases become accepted as truisms, whether they are true or not. I heard one such phrase, “Republicans and conservatives are all Nazi’s” in a discussion this last week and started pondering the verity of that statement. The implication, of course, is that conservatives seek to restrict our freedom and liberties.
The contexts within which that reference is typically used are threefold: 1) The Patriot Act (with its flaws) which is designed to protect us from terrorists; 2) The defense of constitutionally unprotected life in the womb; and 3) enforcement of law. These policies have little impact on individual freedom for most of us.
However, for comparative purposes, let’s examine what freedoms and liberties the other side of the political spectrum seeks to curtail, that does affect all of us in one way or another.
Perhaps at the top of the list is economic freedom. Their perspective is that government has more right to our earnings than we do, and we’re just greedy to want to hold onto it for the economic well-being of our families. As the great Nobel Laureate and economist Milton Friedman said, “political freedom is inextricably linked with economic freedom. The more the government takes from me financially, the less freedom I have.”
They do everything they can to restrict 2nd Amendment rights. It appears to me that they would prefer that no citizens could own fire arms of any kind.
They seek to restrict our religious freedom by limiting public religious expression.
In an interesting dichotomy, they are pro-choice on infanticide up until the time the infant is partially delivered, but they are adamantly anti-choice when it comes to vouchers for education. They don’t want us to have freedom of choice for our children’s education.
They refuse some children the freedom of choice to serve their country in the military by preventing military recruiters from visiting school and university campuses. Ostensibly it’s because of some arcane notion of political correctness about homosexuals serving in the military (which “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was introduced by one of their own, Bill Clinton) but their disdain of the military predates that policy implementation.
They even disallow our children from playing some games at school, like dodge ball, because it may hurt some children’s feelings because they are “eliminated” from the game.
They think it’s the government’s role to tell us what we can and can’t eat. Just last year, New York City, following Europe’s lead, outlawed the use of trans fats in any restaurants in the city. They now have the Trans Fats Secret Police raiding poor unsuspecting restaurants to see if they’re using the contraband in their cooking practices. Herein lies another interesting dichotomy, for isn’t the argument “it’s my body and I can do what I want with it” part of their standard abortion argument?
They also restrict our collective freedom from dependency on foreign oil by preventing us from harnessing our own natural resources. It’s okay that China can drill for oil less than 30 miles from our Southern Coast, but we can’t. And somehow the sacrosanct wilderness of Anwar is more important to preserve than producing as much oil domestically as we buy from Saudi Arabia. I guess they think it’s better to be beholden to the price machinations and political control of those radical Middle Eastern and South American countries.
And speaking of energy, they even restrict our freedom of what light bulbs we can use. By 2012, the 100 watt incandescent light bulb will join trans fats as contraband. In it’s place, we are to use the mercury laden fluorescent bulb, which, if you break one in your home, will require a HAZMAT team to clean up (at your expense) because of all that mercury in it.
They also seek to restrict what kind of vehicles we drive. With Congress’ efforts to push CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) standards higher and higher, we’ll all be driving shoe boxes with Briggs & Stratton engines before long. But to be politically correct, we all should drive a Prius.
They think we have too much freedom with the temperature levels in our homes, so California is leading the way by incorporating into all new homes the ability of the government to control home thermostats.
They also seek to restrict our freedom of speech. If they have a pet subject which by universal acceptance would acquiesce much of our income and freedom to the government, they just declare that “the debate is over.” Once they say that, we’re to all surrender to the global warming alarmists that would have us believe that by continuing to use those outlawed 100 watt bulbs and by turning up our thermostats by two degrees that we may cause calamitous global warming eighty years from now.
They also seek to restrict freedom of speech by re-imposing the “Fairness Doctrine,” that would literally put a muzzle on talk radio. That’s very important to them because that’s the only media form they don’t dominate.
They also don’t think it’s enough to punish criminals, they think criminals must be punished even more if they had hate in their hearts or prejudice against their victims. Beware the thought police!
In their misguided efforts for government to create a completely sterile cultural climate, they outlaw the use of certain words on university campuses. So they have the “word police” watching for illegal use of potentially offensive utterances.
The only thing that is consistent in all this is the “nanny state” notion that the government knows better than we do about how to conduct our lives, and we’re all ignorant fools who can’t think for ourselves and make choices for ourselves. To them the government has all the solutions and should be given control over every aspect of our lives.
Perhaps their intentions are good, but their actions are more important than their intentions. And their actions are whittling away more and more at our individual freedoms.
Now, you be the judge. Which group is more “Nazi-like?” Which wants to deprive us of more individual liberty? And if you still say the conservatives you’re not paying attention.
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.