The two sides of freedom

Socially, it's blossoming; politically, it's in peril

A letter to the editor in the Las Vegas Review-Journal intrigued us to the point where we thought you’d enjoy her point and our counter-point.

In a piece headlined “America more free than in past,” Sandra Mary Smith expresses wonderment at the fact she’s “seeing more and more letters to the editor (express) the perception that Americans are losing their freedoms, and I have seen the word ‘tyranny’ used more than once.”

In arguing that we’re actually getting more free, not less, she takes note of gay and multi-racial marriage, and her having seen “a man riding a motorcycle wearing a bathing suit, and he had a rifle slung across his shoulder.”

“We enjoy freedoms today that would’ve been unfathomable to prior generations,” Ms. Smith writes.

All good and valid points. And there are other examples of increased freedoms, to be sure – freedoms not just from government, but from stigma, dogma and the reproof of bygone mores.

Some of those freedoms, we would argue, lead folks to dubious behavior.

But mankind’s search for freedom has never been a straight line, and it isn’t now.

Fact is, most of the freedoms she refers to are easily spotted on the surface of today’s living. What concerns the concerned and worries the worried can be found largely under the surface, like a silent and undetected software program running in the background of your computer:

• the $17 trillion national debt and other federal liabilities, which are a burden to every American but a particular albatross for the young and unborn;

• the still-unknown implications on our health, finances and privacy from Obamacare, not to mention its effect on medical practices, businesses and other institutions;

• the rather obvious insidiousness of having our emails and phone records spied upon by the government;

• a government that is harassing groups and individuals based on their political beliefs;

• leading lawmakers in Washington who have no problem with the spying (Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.) and who think Congress should decide whom the First Amendment applies to (Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.);

• other government overreaches – at the EPA, in the “Common Core” curriculum and more.

There is a troubling number of stories emerging, too, of police actions of questionable constitutionality, especially where the war on drugs is concerned.

Obamacare alone may be the government’s biggest power grab in U.S. history, forcing us to buy insurance of the government’s liking, pay a fine if we don’t, and provide the bureaucracy with unprecedented and uncharted access to our medical and personal lives.

The IRS, which already polices your financial life, will soon be in charge of overseeing your medical life as well.

So, yes, we may have the freedom to marry whomever we like or ride “shotgun” down the highway dressed however we like, but our financial, medical and political freedoms have never been more threatened by a government that only grew more powerful as the private sector suffered through the Great Recession.

For us and our children, the freedoms we are losing will be much more consequential.

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