Monday, March 02, 2009


Among all of the current political discourse and debate; whether this program or that expenditure is appropriate, or whether this new regulation, mandate or prescription is necessary, there exists a more fundamental set of questions. Specifically, given that the one attribute that the state has over private enterprise is that it may resort to force, what do we consider appropriate uses of force by the state? Obviously, most of us agree that the state may use force in our behalf to prevent bodily harm or breach of the peace. We agree generally that the state may protect property rights, such as when a sheriff evicts delinquent tenants from a home. But now it seems we are being presented with a menu of potential proscriptions and mandates that, if the average citizen does not comply, such compliance will be enforced by the authority of the state. So to get an idea of just where the acceptable boundaries of such enforcement lie, it may be useful to consider whether we think that laws should be passed and enforced that affect matters such as the following:

1.) Determining whether you have the right to educate your children according to your values, or must relinquish them to the priorities of the public education system;

2.) Determining how and when to discipline your children;

3.) Whether you may express an opinion that someone's religious beliefs seem nutty to you;

4.) Whether you may decide for yourself what life's activities justify risks to your health;

5.) Whether you should be legally liable in any way for expressions that hurt the subjective feelings of others;

6.) Determine what kind of car you drive, if you are allowed to drive it at all;

7.) Whether you can pay from your own resources for medical services that you want and can afford, but that are not favored in a managed system;

8.) Whether you can decide for yourself who you will and will not do business with, on whatever criteria you choose;

9.) Whether you can express opinions that make other people "uncomfortable;"

10.) Whether you may refuse to participate in or fund the voluntary activities of others that you find morally objectionable;

11.) Whether you can defend your life and family from mortal threats with appropriate levels of force, including lethal force;

12.) Whether you can tell a joke that some official somewhere thinks creates an undesirable "atmosphere;"

13.) Whether you can decide for yourself what altruistic causes are most deserving of your financial support;

14.) Whether you may charge whatever a willing buyer is willing to pay for your products or sevices;

15.) Whether you may decide for yourself what activities are meaningful and beneficial to you, regardless of what someone else thinks those activities should be.

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