2012-03-30

Pick a Freedom, Any Freedom

Courtesy FreeMagicLive.com
A short while ago, I discussed the problem with our general attitude toward liberty and politics; namely, that when all is said and done, it works out to be that on average, we oppose everything.

How might life be different if we were each to select one matter of liberty and make it our "calling card?" There are hundreds - if not thousands - of bizarre, confusing, detrimental, and/or discriminatory laws on the books. Any one of them would do.

Many of us might choose something highly visible, such as the right to marry. Some of us might choose something that is only relevant to a comparatively small number of people, such as a bylaw in Smiths Falls, Ontario that reportedly restricts the number of mentally disabled persons in group homes to 36 individuals in the entire town. Some of us might choose to capture the momentum gained on the Ontario Appeals Court's recent decision to decriminalize brothels, and take on other victimless crimes, while others might go against the grain and fight anti-cell phone laws.

We would probably never agree with each other completely about exactly which of these laws ought to be repealed first - or at all - but the impact of choosing just one cause for liberty that is important to you personally would have a spill-over effect on society that would be sweeping.

Imagine a world in which political discussion begins with, "We ought to re-think this law," as opposed to "There ought to be a law." Imagine a world in which the common thread of discussion was the many different ways we are restricted in our lives, and how those restrictions might be dissolved and our lives improved.

Imagine what it would be like if, rather than seeking out a political justification for a law or policy we just heard about, our knee-jerk reaction was to become extremely critical of any new law or policy unless we felt we had received adequate justification.

It might just mean that, on average, we want to be free.

Okay, I'll get the ball rolling: My pet issue is going to be the abolition of tariffs, quotas, and other such international trade restrictions. What will yours be?