To Have Freedom, You Have to Accept People Getting Hurt

Freedom is dangerous.

In order to have freedom, you have to have a small government that does not do much more than enforce property rights and contracts. Most people are uncomfortable with that. Everyone says they want freedom but few actually do. People want freedom until there is a drug epidemic. Then some well intended person suggests that that drug be made illegal. For the good of the children. Most restrictions on freedom are done for the children. Almost all actually. People want freedom until there is a mass shooting. Then someone, with the best of intentions, suggests banning guns... or at least a particular type of gun. For the children. People say they want freedom until we learn that an agreed to wage between a boss and an employee is too low to live a good life. How can you raise kids on $8/hour? We need to limit freedom (of two adults agreeing on a wage) for the good of the children. We say we want freedom but then some poor motorcycle rider bashes his head in on the highway because he did not have a helmet. For the good of his kids, we should force motorcycle riders to wear helmets. People say they want freedom but so many young kids are smoking these days. For the good of the children, let's make cigarettes super hard to get. And vaping for that matter.

 Every time freedom is restricted, it is done for the best of intentions. But if we truly want freedom, we need to protect it even when people are being hurt by freedom. This is not to say that we have no laws. If you violate someone else's property rights (including their own body) or break a contract, the government has to act (to protect freedom). A free society must be a law abiding society. But the laws should be limited. Everyone should mind their own business.

And we should all embrace danger. Legal drugs are dangerous. Legal alcohol is dangerous. Cigarettes are dangerous. Teeter totters are dangerous. Guns are dangerous. Swimming pools are dangerous. Life is dangerous.

If you want to live in a world where no one ever gets hurt, freedom is not for you. A free society is a dangerous society. Freedom means letting people make stupid and dangerous decisions.

But I will remind you of something. Hemmingway once wrote that every story, if told long enough, ends in death. Put all the government safety nets you want in place and we all still die. But why not live free? Why not follow the Patrick Henry and say, "Give me liberty or give me death?"

To have freedom, you have to accept people will be hurt.


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