In my own experience, people don’t value freedom until they suddenly encounter an adverse situation where they suddenly learn what a lack of freedom means to them!
Some of these situations are more common than others. For example, a woman has an abusive ex-husband who won’t take “no” for answer. Who threatens violence if she won’t take him back. A court order of protection may not be enough, especially if the individual in question is of a sort that drinks or uses drugs. Such a person simply is beyond being deterred by a “piece of paper”. And often, when you need police protection, it is not “available” when you need it. So the woman decides to buy a gun, but she finds out that she must apply for a purchase permit, endure a waiting period of some length before she will be allowed to purchase protection for herself. In some states and localities it is difficult to legally purchase a handgun, or even a long gun in a few places such as Washington, D.C. The ex-husband may kill his former wife and go to prison for the rest of his life, or even suffer the death penalty depending upon the state, but this doesn’t give the woman back her life… So here is an example where the “state” has deprived someone of their freedom and indirectly caused their violent death because of it. Of course in a libertarian society such laws wouldn’t exist. Only in a “statist” society (run by Democrats or Republicans) can such things happen. In “statist” societies neither your life or freedom are the deciding factor. Something to think about next time you vote. Both of our major political parties do not put personal freedom “first”. Democrats don’t believe you are competent to make such decisions for yourself. And while Republicans oppose “gun control”, they have their very own prejudices where they feel justified in taking away your freedom “for your own good”.
It is in cases like this that you suddenly realize what a lack of personal freedom means. It is not just something that libertarians talk about, but something that can be very real to you. For another example, lets say that you have a medical condition which can be treated (on an affordable basis) by a drug that your physician doesn’t want to prescribe because it has adverse side effects. However, this is the only drug that resolves the issue. So who decides? Is the decision up to you or up to your doctor? I’m assuming that you are willing to accept the adverse side effects in order to treat the condition you are suffering from. In a case like this, whose decision decides the issue? Because of the tyranny of prescription laws, your doctor can deny you the medicine you want. In a libertarian society which would not permit such laws, the decision would be up to you. That is the way it should be, but yet today, given the way our laws read, the decision may not be yours to make. This is why we have people dying in pain in nursing homes as my stepfather did when he was dying of cancer and due to the “rules”, he wasn’t given enough drugs to keep him pain free.
It has been known for decades that marijuana has medical properties, but only in the last few years has there been any relaxation of the drug laws so that people suffering from disease can find relief by using marijuana. Again, we see the consequences of life in a statist society where such decisions are made by an “elite” (elected or otherwise), but whose own decisions end up destroying the right of others to seek relief from disease. As for medical prescription laws, it appears that the health care industry is happy with things the way that they are. I do wonder however what the reaction would be if such issues came under consideration as being “medical malpractice”. Perhaps we need to have more malpractice suits just to take the medical profession down a peg or two. Not that the legal profession is morally superior, but it does appear that the lawyers may be successful where political means fail. There have been quite a few cases where the legal profession was able to obtain a level of freedom that was impossible to obtain by political means. The issue of abortion for one was decided this way as was the issue of contraception further on back. In any case it does appear that the legal profession has been more successful than the political process in obtaining things like “shall issue” for concealed weapon permits along with Supreme Court decisions regarding issues involving the Second Amendment. One current issue is that there are medical drugs already OK’d in Europe that are being held up by our FDA. Putting the welfare of people “first” if by necessary by lawsuits may be the only option. This is especially true given the current makeup of Congress, since many of our so-called Representatives are hardly representative of the House districts from which they come. There be little doubt that in many of these issues “government is the problem” as Ronald Reagan pointed out. We would be much better off with “less” government than with more.
Take the issue of Obamacare: Here is a prime example of “too much government”. Many people had health insurance that while not perfect, still covered what they considered to be important. And what they could afford. Then Obamacare was passed and suddenly people were forced to give up the insurance they had for insurance that cost more, often caused by the requirement of coverage for medical services that they would never likely ever use. Granted, some people were obtain affordable insurance, but only because the insurance was subsidized by the federal government. Which means the taxpayers were picking up part of the cost. What has been ignored in the discussions on Obamacare is that it doesn’t reduce the cost of health care, it merely transfers part of the cost to other people who now have to pay more for their health insurance so that others can obtain cheaper insurance. It would have made far more sense to do as I advocate, that is, deregulate the US health care system, make it so that it is controlled by the patients, not by the professional providers. That way it would cost far less than it does, as much as a third less in theory. Freeing up hundreds of billions of dollars to be spent upon something else than our overpriced health care!
Jerome Bigge, writting as “muskegonlibertarian.wordpress.com