American Fear

Just saw this in today’s Daily Reckoning and wanted to pass it on.  It’s called American Fear and it makes you think.  Here’s an excerpt:

I challenge everyone to ask themselves: when was the last time you even thought about the possibility you might be robbed, your house broken into or shot at? Can you even remember? Now ask yourself when was the last time you were afraid of doing something that could be deemed “illegal” by the government and for which you could be fined, detained or arrested?

Something like not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, making a U-turn, going through a yellow light, not crossing the street at the cross-walk, riding a bike on a sidewalk, forgetting your license at home, taking too many deductions on your taxes, talking on your phone while driving, not allowing strangers to touch you or your children at the airport, cutting down a tree on your own property, owning and transporting a gun, collecting rain water and the list goes on.

I would wager the answer is: daily! The first word out of everybody’s mouth when asked a normal, completely benign question these days is: “Well legally…” It’s first and foremost on our minds, and why wouldn’t it be, there are 76,000 pages to just the federal register alone. Some argue that everyone commits at least three felonies every day!

It continues….

At the end of the day, all government mandates are enforced at the end of the barrel of a gun, and that scares the hell out of everyone, as it should. But if we truly believe we are free then we have to start acting like it. It’s time we cared about something bigger than ourselves. It’s time we stopped living our lives in fear.

Having said all that, I’m not holding my breath. It’s proven to be difficult to convince people that freedom is more important than the real housewives of New Jersey.

And that’s why I drink!

gk

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2 Responses

  1. Um, I happen to very much LIKE that the following things are illegal:

    speeding,
    making a U-turn,
    going through a yellow light,
    not crossing the street at the cross-walk,
    talking on your phone while driving…

    These are all about protecting citizens (ie me) from bad drivers who do not think of safety (ie you). And there is nothing wrong with making requirements for use on government property.

    And several of them would be extremely context dependent:

    not wearing a seatbelt: Is it wrong to require children be seat belted?

    taking too many deductions on your taxes: Too many, or false deductions?

    riding a bike on a sidewalk: Are sidewalks for pedestrians? If so, bicycles are a danger to the intended users, and cities have responsibilities to police them.

    cutting down a tree on your own property: When you bought your house it came with a deed, there are probably restrictions there. These are legal. Other cases might be silly (the EPA should probably not fine you for cutting down a tree in the ‘burbs), others might be fine (cutting down a grove of trees could drastically alter the water flow which affects everyone around you and water quality of a nearby stream, etc).

    It’s great to talk about “freedom”, but what you do affects other people in ways that sometimes need regulating. Are there too many regulations? Probably, but not all of them are useless and wouldn’t be sorted out in by the almighty free market.

  2. You missed the point – no one said these things should be legal, just that we’re innately afraid of offending the government authorities. Way more afraid of a cop than of someone robbing our house.

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