Friday, May 22, 2020

Intrusive Freedom

Here is another letter that I sent to the editor a couple of years ago in response to several other letters commenting on the proposed (at the time) bicycle helmet law. No, the Spectator didn't print this one either.

It is perhaps a little unfair to post my response without giving you the opportunity to read the letters to which I am responding. For this I apologise.

Let me say, however, that Jason Brooks wrote a fine letter in opposition to the intolerable limit on personal freedom represented by the helmet law. Linda Lamb and Morgan Krantz both supported the law.

A while back a poll was taken asking Canadians what they thought was the best way of funding new government programs:

  1. taxes,
  2. borrowing or
  3. the government should use it's own money.

A significant number of respondents picked (c).

In her rebuttal to Mr. Jason Brooks Linda Lamb states the following, "The one sentence in his letter about 'the government using my tax dollars for the whole abominable scheme' is the one I wish to address because, simply speaking, it is sadly uninformed."

Then how has the scheme been financed? Ms. Lamb doesn't bother to say.

But since she refutes Mr. Brooks claim that tax money was used... and since borrowed funds are merely deferred taxes...
reference to the above noted poll leaves the happily informed Ms. Lamb with the uncomfortable claim that the one remaining source of financing, (c), was used. Interesting.

Instead of explaining why Mr. Brooks is uninformed she goes on to explain some of the horrors that befall brain injured people and that when a person receives a brain injury the taxpayer ends up picking up the tab.

Welcome to Ontario Ms. Lamb. That's called socialized medicine.

The truth is that when you embrace socialism you renounce freedom. The two are absolutely incompatible.

In a free society Mr. Brooks might well purchase long term personal insurance or he might not. He might even get a discount if he agrees to wear a bicycle helmet. Either way, his decision does not put the taxpayer at risk.

In a system where the financing of health care has been coercively monopolized by the government is it any surprise that the peaceful activities of our neighbours become a matter for legislative compulsion?

When it comes to the point where the government decides to mandate the use of condoms or other birth control to alleviate pressures on the welfare state we can expect another letter from Mr. Brooks decrying the tyranny.

Surely we can expect also a rebuttal from Ms. Lamb happily informing us of the costs associated with a laissez-faire sexual regime (all of the BILLIONS of dollars associated with welfare, the treatment of venereal diseases, government run daycare etc.).

Is it time to license sex and romance?

A word also on the letter from Morgan Kranstz. It was titled, "Momma, why wasn't Uncle Jason wearing a bicycle helmet like I do?"

This is a very convenient title since it can be used over and over again as the nanny state becomes ever more happily informed and new laws proliferate restricting and regulating all kinds of activities, from taking a shower to maneuvering a wheelchair.

All you have to do is replace the word 'bicycle helmet' with the relevant safety device.

Examples, "Momma, why wasn't Jason wearing a (life jacket, ear plugs, safety goggles, Scott air pack, steel toed boots, shoulder pads, jock strap, condom etc.) like I do?"

Mr. Kranstz says that he would rather lose some 'personal freedom' than have to explain to a child that Jason might not have been hurt if he'd been wearing a bike helmet. It never ceases to amaze me at how easily some people will forgo their 'personal freedom'.

How much 'personal freedom' is Mr. Kranstz willing to lose in order to avoid the necessity of explaining other unpleasant facts to young children?

Perhaps a law mandating that everyone wear helmets all of the time would eliminate the need for Mr. Kranstz to explain anything to children.

Mr. Kranstz most interesting statement has to be that, "Personal freedom is essential in our society, but when I have to pay for someone else making a mistake while exercising that freedom, it becomes intrusive."

Well Mr. Kranstz, so long as you live under a system of socialized medicine you are forced to pay for the mistakes of others. That is, after all, the essence of socialism.

If you do not wish to pay for the mistakes of others then it is socialized medicine which you must oppose... not 'personal freedom'.... unless you really think that at some point there will be sufficient restrictions on behavior to prevent anyone from making a mistake... ever.

Of course, you can not support such a regime since you have clearly stated that 'freedom is essential'.

If Mr. Kranstz finds the repair of bicycle head injuries intrusive then one can only wonder at his reaction to the fact that over 40% (U.S. figures 1987) of all accidents happen in the home where 'personal freedom' still predominately reigns. As long as this situation is allowed to continue Mr. Kranstz must feel that he is living under the gravest form of intrusive tyranny.

But really now, Mr. Kranstz, don't you think you're stretching it a bit when you say that someone's decision not to wear a bicycle helmet is intrusive? Since everything we do involves a degree of risk, Mr. Kranstz, is there anything at all that a person could do without being 'intrusive'?

According to a recent Spec Article, "The risks of obsession with risk" (Aug 23) your chances of injuring yourself in a chair or in bed are 1 in 400. So, even though I may sustain injuries when I go to bed tonight I won't lose any sleep knowing that Mr. Kranstz considers my 'personal freedom' to do so 'intrusive'.

A much earlier version of this essay was published here.

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