Welcome Mat Freedoms
An interesting moment in the vice-presidential debate occurred when Democrat Tim Kaine said the following:
“So let’s talk about abortion and choice. Let’s talk about them. We support Roe v. Wade. We support the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience, their own supportive partner, their own minister, but then make their own decision about pregnancy. That’s something we trust American women to do that.”
Like most pro-life Conservatives, I am always astounded when Progressives boast about allowing women to kill their unborn children, as it is one of the few choices they trust others to make. It is unfortunate that Progressives — well, politicians and government bureaucrats in general, but Progressives more so — trust American people do decide precious little else.
As someone who had a family business I learned this firsthand. My father owned a liquor store in the inner city, which he began himself and managed to keep the business successful for many decades. He sold beer, liquor, and cigarettes, of course; as well as anything else he felt people would buy, which included not just chips and candy, but also bread and canned goods — as no supermarket would open in such a bad neighborhood. Like many small business owners in the inner city, my father essentially lived at the business, in a small apartment he set up in the back of the store.
Sadly, our city elected a young, charismatic, well-educated Progressive mayor; and as is the pattern of this sort, our new mayor came into office with a sweeping change agenda. One major change was deciding that city businesses had to change how they did business to suit the new image he wanted for the city.
Suddenly city officials began harassing my family. Our business was closed repeatedly. Initially because it was deemed inappropriate for him to live in his store apartment, then later for seemingly minor infractions, such as how he was storing stock.
Officials would demand entry into the store then arrogantly decide we shouldn’t be selling bread, or canned soup, or other such goods, and throw such items into the garbage in front of us. Once we were forced to close the store when an inspector decided the store was too grim and demanded that we re-tile the floors, re-paint the walls, and add a welcome mat to the lobby. Each closing lasted a minimum of a week, sometimes months, and cumulatively cost us thousands.
Ultimately, my father, who was a healthy man in his late 60s — who had never drank or smoked despite selling booze and cigarettes for most of his adult life — suffered a stroke which eventually killed him. I have no doubt that had my father been allowed to make his own decisions regarding his life and his business, like whether he wanted a welcome mat in his lobby, rather than being forced to adhere to the vision of an ambitious mayor, my father would be alive today.
Ironically my father supported the candidacy of his mayor. Indeed, all of my family, and nearly all of my city, supported him, except for me of course. It is not uncommon for such figures — who make such promises to improve our dreary lives by unburdening us from the weight of choices — find themselves popular.
Are you struggling with the decision of whether to join a union, for example? Worry no more. Hillary Clinton has won thundering approval by declaring in a speech to the AFL-CIO that Right-To-Work, which allows certain workers to decide whether union membership works best for them, is “wrong for workers and wrong for America!”
Are you a veteran who is tempted to seek medical treatment from a private physician who accepts Medicare and would be willing to provide care to someone with a veteran ID card? Progressives want you freed from such temptations, and have decided that concerned that allowing such privatization is too “risky.” In the VA system you shall remain.
And if you are a parent who is afraid of being slapped with the choice of whether to send your child to a non- government, non-Common Core school, know that the many Democratic politicians and officials calling charter schools ‘taxpayer rapists’ or expressing their concern over the fate of homeschooled students will protect you to the best of their ability.
Even the much-vaunted freedom to choose in regard to abortion is overrated. As I write this, a pregnant woman still is not obligated to abort her child. She still has the right to choose to carry the child to term. But a pharmacist has no right to decide if he or she wants to sell abortifacients, even if she or he owns a private business and feels abortifacients violates his or her pro-life, or even religious, views. Nor does the unborn child have any rights in the matter.
One wonders how Progressives obtained such wisdom. How does someone behind a desk in Washington, DC, for example, know that the appropriate minimum at which an employer must pay his or her employees is $12 an hour, and that wage is appropriate for cities as diverse as Salt Lake City and Detroit? Given the countless variables present it seems an impossible task, as many — including economist Friedrich Hayek — have pointed out. Yet, Progressives express such confidence in their edicts, it is as if they were carrying them down from Mount Sinai on stone tablets.
Take the matter of Social Security, for example. Heard during the vice-presidential debate was Kaine repeating the Democratic mantra, “We will never, ever engage in a risky scheme to privatize Social Security.”
Yet the alternative is a system that demands we pay into it on the promise that we will get it back at a rate of return lower than most free market retirement accounts.
If we should die before the age of 62, or if we should be fortunate enough to retire with assets deemed by the State as “enough” (according to some Social Security proposals being touted), we will never see a cent of the money that was taken from us under force of law during our entire working lives. Nor will our spouses or heirs.
And this assumes that the system that was designed for people to die at the age of 65 can adapt to a populace now living well into their 90s.
So what then is the riskier system: the current one which we are compelled to obey or one that allows us a choice?
The Progressive argument is that allowing us the freedom to make our decisions would inevitably lead some of us to make wrong decisions. This is undoubtedly true. If left to our own devices, many of us would invest our retirement money poorly, or buy Big Gulps, or not put a welcome mat in the lobby of our business.
However, though the free market is largely influenced on both trial and error, it is also based on an incontrovertible truth: We are motivated about our individual self-interests, and the well-being of our families and loved ones. As Milton Friedman once put it, “The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests.”
Government does not share our concern for our separate interests. In fact, one argument against the semi-privatization of Social Security is that while it may be in the best interest of those who opt out of the government system in favor of market-based retirement accounts, it is not in the best interest of those who remain with the current system since withdrawals from it would make its default more likely.
We face similar obstacles when we argue that sending our children to non-government schools, or if we desire to take a job below the minimum wage as an alternative to being unemployed with no wage. We hear ‘It may be in your best interest to take this action, but it is not the best interest of The State.’
Judge Janice Rogers Brown stated, ”Where government advances – and it advances relentlessly – freedom is imperiled; community impoverished; religion marginalized and civilization itself jeopardized.” We see this in actions ranging from the more than 20,000 new regulations the Obama administration imposed — at a cost to our economy of more than $100 billion annually — to small business owners being told that they cannot open their doors without first placing a welcome mat down.
Like cancer, government continues to grow unabated, and to the detriment of the health of the body it inhabits.