By L&T Publisher Earl Watt
As I was driving down the street, I noticed a woman driving an Escalade roll down her window and dust her cigarette, something we have all probably seen many times.
I don’t smoke, and I don’t quite understand why others do, but it is their choice to do so.
That freedom, however, will be changing in the future, and many others will go along with it if the current trends continue.
What makes it acceptable for anyone to smoke, or drink, or eat excessively, or indulge in any other vice they choose is taking personal responsibility for their choices.
As I watched the Escalade smoker, I thought, “This woman has every right to drive an expensive vehicle and smoke in it.” But that was followed with the thought, “But why should I pay taxes to treat her cancer?”
The guarantee of health care for everyone, which will be paid for with tax dollars, will mean that health is now the responsibility of Big Brother Government.
Because of that, bureaucrats will start financing studies and spread sheets on health care issues and the adverse effects of nicotine, caffeine, sugar and any other substance they deem to be responsible for rising health care taxes, and they will try to find a way to reduce costs by regulating those substances.
The health care benefits will remain. How can they take health care away from those who will need it most after making it a right?
So they will justify increased regulations by tying them to tax relief, and we will all buy that theory as we watch those things we choose for our personal enjoyment disappear.
Make no mistake, this will happen.
All the regulators will need is a doctor’s note saying caffeine causes health care issues, and coffee will be regulated, taxed and possibly banned.
Sugar will be found to be the cause of obesity rather than the person eating it, and it, too, will be regulated, taxed and possibly banned.
I have long been under the belief that whatever that squeeze-tube substance astronauts have to eat in the space shuttle will be the only food available in America one day.
Our grandchildren, or their grandchildren, will one day look back to how this all began, how they turned their own well-being over to the government, and if we are still holding on in a government-regulated, end-of-life facility, we can tell them exactly how the end of freedom started when we decided to take personal responsibility away and turn that job over to the government.
What we failed to realize is how seceding from personal responsibility has also led to the decay of society in general.
There used to be a time when someone who suffered from a catastrophic illness or accident saw the community rally behind the cause and raise money to help.
That is no longer needed since the government is guaranteeing health care, an income, food, cell phone service and anything else they decree is a right.
Since the government has a program for every need, we no longer feel the necessity to care about each other.
If our neighbor is out of work, he is probably in better financial condition than those of us working.
Either way, I don’t have to worry about it because my taxes are taking care of him.
We used to lean on each other, and because of that, we treated each other with more respect, even when we disagreed.
We don’t have to do that any more. I don’t have to be nice to you, just in case I need your help one day, because the government will take your money and give it to me through tax redistribution.
We care more concerned with the government’s ability to extract resources from the people than we are about our own people in our community.
We have become detached through government sanitization, and we see our taxes as our donation to the poor and needy.
Since we expect the government to help everyone else, we also expect them to tell us no when we do not practice personal responsibility.
We need the government to regulate our diets. Soon, there will be mandatory workouts, pre-approved foods, and risky activities like sports will be banned altogether.
If we didn’t come from single celled organisms, we might very well be turning into them now, unaware of those around us, uncaring, and not motivated to do any more than eat the basic food sustenance that the superorganism, the government, passes on to us.
Or, we can be a free people. We can re-establish the limits on government, and get them out of the compassion business and turn that back over to all of us.
We can care about our neighbor, and be willing to help in a pinch. We can enjoy that cup of coffee or candy bar, or even a smoke, and realize that if they do us harm, it is our job to pay the price, not society’s. We need to stop expecting other people’s taxes to be our source of income.
We can still be free to make choices that only affect ourselves, but only if we are willing to take personal responsibility.
I believe that woman, driving an Escalade and smoking, had every right to do so, but no right to ask me to pay for her oxygen bottles later. She has no right to demand to keep that Escalade while needing cancer treatments.
If her family, friends and those that know her at church (if she attends) want to contribute, that is their decision.
But having the government pay it means the government can also remove the right in the first place.