Jason’s Ranting & Raving

Those who don’t read have no advantage over those who can’t.

CHOOSE FREEDOM! Happy 4th of July!

Posted by jaystile on July 4, 2009

I am a citizen of the United States of America. If you ask my fellow citizens if we are free, they might respond with, “AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!“. We do have many freedoms in this country, and for those I am thankful, but those freedoms are slowly being eroded, given away, or taken away from us. I think most Americans need a refresher course on what freedom means and I am hear to provide that refresher. Happy 4th of July. My general definition of freedom is that everyone should be able to do what they want as long as they are not hurting anyone else. Or you can read dictionary.com’s definition.

What should I be able to do?
Let’s start with an example. I would like to have a cigarette. Should I be allowed to smoke? I know it is bad for me. It is addictive, hurts your lungs, and contains carcinogens. A free society says, yes, I should be allowed to smoke because it is only hurting me. Should I be allowed to drink alcohol? It is bad for me. It impairs my motor skills and damages my liver. Yes, I should be allowed to drink alcohol. Should I be able to use other currently illegal drugs? Real freedom means, yes, I should be allowed to abuse drugs because they would only hurt me. (FYI, this is all hypothetical, I don’t smoke or use illegal drugs.)

Choosing Freedom also means Choosing Responsibility
Should I be allowed to smoke by my children? As a parent, I would not smoke around my children. But should you be able to smoke around your children? Again, I say choose freedom, but by choosing freedom you are also choosing responsibility and that means you still don’t get to hurt others. There is damage caused by second hand smoke. Then, should I be allowed to drink alcohol by my children? Ingesting alcohol only hurts the person who is doing it. So yes, I should be able to drink by my children. However, having freedom also means using responsibility. If I’m prone to violence while drinking should I do it? The answer is an obvious no, and we have laws on the books criminalizing assault and battery. Should I drive after drinking? Again, impaired driving causes accidents hurting others. That’s why laws criminalizing driving under the influence make sense.

Personal Safety
We have laws in this country that make it illegal to NOT wear a helmet, to NOT wear a seatbelt, to NOT use a child safety seat, and to NOT have automatic rifles and hand guns. These laws are meant to save lives. Let’s look at it through the freedom lens again. Does it hurt anyone beside myself to not wear a helmet? If I crash it’s my brains being splattered on the asphalt not yours. This law should be stricken down. Should I have to wear a seatbelt? Again, it would be me thrown out of my vehicle or thrown through the windshield not anyone else. This type of law should be stricken down. I do see some gray area here though if by wearing a seatbelt you are able to keep your vehicle in control to limit further property/personal damage. But what are the statistics on people who are not wearing a seatbelt causing further damage than just damage to themselves? If it is huge then I think a law is important to protect others. If it is small, then it just doesn’t make sense. Should I have my child in a booster seat until they are 12 years old in the back seat even though most of the protection comes from just being in the back seat with a seatbelt on? (see Freakonomics for most statistics on child safety (Here is my Review) ) Again, choosing freedom means choosing responsibility: it is important to put your infant and toddler in child safety seats, apply sunblock, and read to them every day. But be pragmatic, what are the real chances of your child being stolen away by a stranger if they are playing in the front yard by themselves. Oh! Oh! I have an answer 1:1.5 million. Don’t let CNN scare you into keeping your kids inside. In fact you shouldn’t even be watching T.V. unless you want to waste time (but that is a rant for another time). So let kids have age appropriate freedoms too. As for weapons, I am of the opinion that any arms that could be brought to bear against me I should have the right to own myself. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But it is my responsibility to make sure that I know how to operate those weapons safely and that I secure them from theft and misuse.

What You Can Do
There is something you can do to help this country maintain its freedom. Use your authority of as a member of the jury. This is the one time you are above the law. When someone is prosecuted for breaking the law, you get to not only judge whether the defendant is guilty/innocent of the law but whether the law is correct. Vote for like minded individuals in every level of government. Know your candidates and support those who cherish freedom (not control). Use your right to protest peacefully, when is the last time your protested for freedom? I’m still appalled by the most of the provisions in the ‘Patriot Act’. A real patriot does not give up freedoms for anyone!

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