08 May 2007

Letter to a champion of the Nanny-state

"My chief of police does not look like a nanny to me," she said, noting the chief said the bill would save lives. "One person's freedom can be another person's burden."[1]

Dear Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-Exeter):

I must say that I found the quotation from you above to be frighteningly similar to Orwell's famous "big brother" motto from 1984: "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength." No, Ms. Hassan, freedom is never a burden. What right does the state have to impose its will upon an individual when the issue at hand is the condition of that individual's body? No one has the right to reign over another's body, and you, as a freshman Senator, have crossed that line. I hope that your constituents see this for what it is: a betrayal of a long-standing New Hampshire tradition of liberty without a safety net; of freedom without excuses.

Do you truly believe that the community's wishes regarding an individual's life are more important than the desires of the individual? If so, you are effectively assuming a pro-slavery position, for slavery is just that: the sovereignty of an "owner" over another's body. Seatbelts are lifesaving, and I myself have been saved by wearing one in a serious collision that nonetheless left me in an ICU. I think it is intelligent and reasonable for an adult to secure himself thusly, and I cringe when I see people risking their lives by not wearing a seatbelt. It is pure tyranny, though, for the government to use physical force—which it must to enforce any policy that it passes—to bully people into "protecting" themselves from perceived peril.

Just remember, it is only a few steps beyond this sort of policy until we might find ourselves granting government control over other areas. After all, there are many who have in the past and would in the future advocate mandatory testing for congenital birth defects. Many have argued that the termination of "abnormal" fetuses and/or the euthanizing of the severely handicapped would strengthen the human gene pool. I would say, though, that no one else has the right to judge someone else's quality of life, someone else's potential happiness, or someone else's priorities in their life. It is easy to play the tyrant when the victim doesn't look like you or your loved ones. I hope that you will remember those that you love and how you would feel if someone else chose to bully them when you next have to decide whether or not to impose your will on peaceful people.

In Liberty,

Dick Clark

UPDATE: The New Hampshire Senate Transportation and Interstate Committee seem to have deep-sixed the mandatory seatbelt bill. [2]

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