I Wonder Why

When asked directly, most people will say they are opposed to giving up freedom. Their actions indicate otherwise.


Sometimes I wonder how people rank various issues that affect their lives. Many times it seems as if they become fixed on minor issues; issues that are better resolved by the individual instead of government.

Consider the various smoking bans enacted and being debated throughout Georgia. Many people say the individual smoker’s health is the critical issue. This would certainly be true for the smoker’s family or for those bearing the tax burden of subsidized health care. Some say the smoking ban protects non smokers from second hand smoke, while others say the most important issue is how the ban unfairly affects different businesses.

All these are important issues, but none of them can compare to individual liberty and the right to control our private property and body as we see fit. Each of us should be free to associate with smokers, non-smokers, or both. Each of us should be fee to patronize establishments that likewise prohibit smoking, allow smoking, or attempt to accommodate both.

Looking at another example, consider who has responsibility for security. This is being debated at the national level as part of the 9/11 Commission inquiries. I often wonder why the most insecure places in America are those that have the most government and police. Rural ranchers and farmers provide their own security with loaded weapons above the fireplace. Unlike many citizens in Gwinnett County, they don’t have a false sense of security when home invaders come-a-calling.

Too many Americans willingly give up their freedom and responsibility deferring instead to government officials and bureaucrats they don’t know. Individuals are more likely to make good decisions when feedback is immediate and the consequences are borne directly by the individual. This cause and effect feedback loop also applies to anti-social behavior. Constant improvement is less likely when we bear no responsibility for ourselves or our actions.

Expanding government oversight into more of our lives slowly destroys liberty and degrades society by uncoupling the incentives that make us morally responsible and strong. I recommend we explore different ways to organize ourselves. Perhaps society would work better if we had a free market in justice and competitive security services instead of relying on government monopolies. Giving incompetent and monopolistic politicians more of our money and responsibility feels like giving the hangman more rope and asking for tighter nooses.

To continue voting for the same old liars and criminals makes no sense. Now is the time to send them a message.