February 2017

One of the great challenges of helping people understand the value of personal liberty over having their lives dictated to them by others is trying to view the role of government as they do.

Part of the difficulty here is the fact that few of us spend time thinking deeply about the nature of the institution we call government. We tend to be far more focused on symptoms like certain policies or programs, but hardly anyone ever questions how the institution of government impacts our freedoms.

For instance, when the St. George City Council voted to revoke the business license of a local smoke shop and its online headshop, it justified its actions by saying that the store’s retailing of an arbitrarily illegal substance was a matter of public safety. That sounds awfully noble but it could be more accurately described as an oligarchy of do-gooders forcibly imposing their will upon others.

It’s about denying others the ability to make their own peaceful choices without outside interference
In this case, so-called “spice” regulations are simply nanny state domineering that has to invent crimes in order to expand its control over the populace. It’s about denying others the ability to make their own peaceful choices without outside interference.

This condescending embrace of Big Mother can also be felt in the grudging manner in which the state of Utah finally gave its blessing to potential users of cannabis oil for the treatment of certain medical conditions. Permits are strictly limited and require certification from a neurologist and a physician’s approval as well as a $400 tax which is described as a “fee.” Imagine spending that much on a bong you use to smoke the marijuana. You will likely find cheap bongs a better fit as they tend to get dirty pretty quickly and can start adding up.

Somewhere, state legislators are deeply concerned that those suffering from a debilitating form of epilepsy might experience something more recreational than politicians are willing to allow.

Unfamiliar with Utah’s new law? Read more: New cannabis law provides hope for epilepsy sufferers

Taking this benevolent tyranny to the next level are officials in Iowa who recently sentenced a terminally ill cancer patient to prison for growing his own marijuana as part of his disease management. Like Utah, Iowa grudgingly recognizes the legally permissible use of cannabis oil for children with a rare type of epilepsy.

The common thread in each of these stories is that decent people are being denied the freedom to make their own peaceable choices
The common thread in each of these stories is that decent people are being denied the freedom to make their own peaceable choices. Good people, who have never thoughtfully examined the proper role of government, are among the staunchest defenders of these policies. Even if they are not outspoken supporters of such policies, their silence suggests assent.