Some of our personal freedoms will be taken, not out through the front door by gun control, travel restrictions, restrictive laws, or police actions,
but out the back door by financial means.
Some time ago on ATS there were several threads about the persecution of smokers. Having been personally suspicious of the PTB ever since they took
away our cyclamates (best sweetener that ever was) to protect the sugar industry, I watched the shenanigans with suspicion from the very beginning.
First there was a multi-year campaign to convince us all that second-hand smoke isn’t just smelly and annoying , but also dangerous. It began with
the children: the effects of mother’s smoking on the unborn child, the effects of secondhand smoke on children in the home, and so on. By the end
of the campaign we were being asked to protect the servers and bartenders in the bars and restaurants from the consequences of their own career
choice ….. Yeah, stop and let that sink in for a few seconds.
Once the PTB were quite sure they had us convinced that secondhand smoke is nearly as dangerous as carbon monoxide or something, the restrictions
began. First health facilities and nonprofits who depended on state grants, then Federal and State buildings, then public buildings, then private
businesses … Somewhere along about the time legislation was proposed that would prevent smokers from smoking anywhere they could be publicly seen,
even in their own cars when alone, those of us paying attention noticed that it had gone far beyond protecting public health and was now unabashedly
(and without much public fuss) about penalizing – in other words PUNISHING - smokers for choosing to smoke. Throw in the excess taxes on cigarettes
and the insurance penalties, and the grimly determined smokers still hanging on are in a world of hurt. But that’s okay, right? It’s a nasty
habit, it makes people sick and all that. It’s cool.
Back when we were still having heated discussions about public smoking laws, smoke-free hotels, and smoke-free apartment complexes, I repeatedly stood
on my ATS soapbox and said “It’s the smokers now, but they’re just the first. When they’re done with the smokers, another group will be
targeted, and it might include you” (or something to that effect).
Guess what, folks? I don’t think they’re actually “done” with the smokers yet, but the new target group has been revealed. It’s fat people.
Never mind that by some counts well over half of America is overweight, and more than one third of us are “obese,” the fatties are next.
I think it probably took the PTB think tanks a little longer to figure out where to start the campaign against fat people than it did for the smokers.
After all, fat people don’t exude second hand calories or cholesterol or anything like that. They may be eyesores and take up more than their share
of the available space, but they’re hardly a public health hazard.
Oh wait .. didn’t they get that seat belt thing passed by convincing everyone that it would result in lower insurance premiums? Yeah, that worked.
Has anyone seen any lower insurance premiums
lately? I haven’t. But those pesky seat belt laws are still in place, protecting us from
ourselves. Isn’t that one less personal choice – i.e. one less personal freedom
– you have now?
Ok, so they’re going from that angle. How about starting with the welfare people? Everybody complains about the lazy good-for-nothings on welfare
anyway, and if they’re fat so much the worse. Let’s start there! Is it fair to fine fat
people for not dieting?
Then from welfare we can expand to other types of public assistance, then to Medicare and VA health benefits, and
finally we can get the employers and the health insurance companies on board.
Hey you – yes all of you – you will now do exactly
what your doctor wants or PAY the consequences. That is where this is going, just wait
and see. In a few years your doctor will be able to report you to your health insurance provider, who can then report you to your employer, who can
then charge you fees and penalties (or worse – DENY you insurance!) for not following your doctor’s recommendations. In other words on pain of
you will have to eat your prescribed diet, drink only what’s deemed healthy for you, follow your exercise routine, take
any drugs s/he thinks you should be on, and so on. After that the main reason they’ll be wanting to take away your guns is so you don’t shoot your
doctor. They’ve got you by the short hairs, pal, and that’s that.
The other angle on this is that we’ve now added on another group that it’s acceptable to target and punish for their personal choices – even
though technically it is a group that over half of us
belong to! First it became okay to kick the smokers where it hurts just because, you
know , they’re SMOKING for crying out loud (which, as most of you probably can’t remember, was considered hip, slick, cool, sophisticated, sexy,
and pretty much harmless not that long ago. If you don’t believe me watch a few old movies), and they’re costing us money! Now it will become
okay to kick the overweight and obese people in their lazy fat asses just because – they take up too much room, they’re disgusting, and besides,
they’re costing us money!
Chew on that for a bit (but don’t swallow, it’ll give you indigestion) while I digress. In the early days of America our society was basically
“each man for himself and devil take the hindmost” or something like that. If you birthed a disabled child, better be able to take care of it
yourself, or kill it while no one’s looking. If Dad got hurt in an accident and couldn’t work any more, the oldest kids had to quit school and do
what they could, and Mom had to start taking in either laundry or late-night “paying guests.” Taxes, after they got started, paid only for roads
and law enforcement and stuff like that that benefitted everyone.
Somewhere in the last hundred years or so, we have collectively, as a society and a civilization, decided to step away from that and take
responsibility for those less fortunate. The disabled, the victims of accidents and circumstances, and especially the children – no matter whose
children they are – are taken care of. In spite of having made this collective decision to take care of everybody, however, we continue to try to
be a “free” society where everyone has personal choices and the freedom to live their own lives the way they want. Unfortunately, the two put
together create a problem sometimes: some people are going to make choices you don’t agree with, and due to the way public assistance programs are
funded, you perceive that you’re paying for their poor choices with your money.
There’s no way around that, though. It’s something we need to just buck up and deal with unless we’re going back to the “everyone for
himself” and total personal responsibility model. We can’t decide that everyone should have a minimum quality of life and then decide FOR them
what that life is allowed to include, or not. If we collectively agree that everyone gets fed, that doesn’t give us the right to tell them what to
eat. Not unless we want to go all fascist and let the government control every facet of all our lives.
Okay, back to the main topic now. The PTB have first convinced us that it’s okay to target smokers because they’re ugly and they – no wait,
that’s the fatties – smokers because they’re a public health hazard and they’re taking money right out of your pocket to fuel their nasty
habit! Now, pretty soon, it’s going to be okay to target the fat people because umm .. they’re ugly and besides, they’re taking money right out
of your pocket and using it to stuff their fat faces . Then, who’s next?
The people who have AIDS and HIV? If they got it from their Mom or a transfusion (although I doubt many of those people are still alive) they’re
exempt. Otherwise they made a pretty bad choice (unprotected sex or illegal drug use) to GET that virus, now didn’t they? Let 'em pay!
People who indulge in dangerous sports and get hurt often? (Not the pro sports players, they get hurt for our entertainment so they’re exempt.) But
those stupid crazy people who bungee jump and cave dive and climb steep cliffs or do snowboarding stunts … Hey, and what about the horseback riding
people? That’s not safe, look what happened to Superman! Yep, they’re all deliberately placing themselves at risk, and when they get hurt it’s
you and me paying with our tax dollars or insurance premiums just so they could be reckless and crazy.
Then what about people who aren’t FAT because they have those good genes but they don’t exercise and and they don’t eat a healthy diet? Sooner
or later, fat or thin, that’s going to catch up with them and start costing us money, right? I don’t want to have to pay higher health insurance
premiums just because Joe over there wants to eat double cheeseburgers for lunch every day and thinks walking the dog around the block is strenuous
So you see, my friends, before it is all said and done, they will not only have nearly complete control over all our lives by way of our pocketbooks,
they will have us all turned against each other and pointing fingers at anyone who doesn’t live the way we think they should. And they didn’t have
to confiscate a single gun or pass a single law to do it.
The only escape from this dismal future that I see is this: We must all take a deep breath and reconsider our society. Do we want to go back to total
personal responsibility and every man for himself, or will we renew our collective decision that every human being shall receive the necessities and
have a minimum standard of living? If the latter, we must then realize that the only way to do that and remain a free society is to allow each and
every person to make their own personal choices, take the risks they
feel comfortable with, and live their lives the way they want to, even if
it means that sometimes our “hard-earned dollars” get spent for things we don’t personally approve of. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of
for everyone, whether we like their idea of happiness or not.
Ultimately we must
come to understand that every choice and freedom we are willing to take away from anyone
, no matter who they are or
how they live, is a freedom we are simultaneously giving up for ourselves.
If you are willing to decide for others what they should or shouldn’t be able to put in their own bodies (other than illegal substances), then
don’t be surprised when next year, or the year after, it comes around to the PTB being able to tell YOU just exactly how you have to live your life
and raise your kids, down to the smallest detail, and the “or else” is financial punishment. And if it happens, it will be because YOU, each and
every one of you, let it happen when they were targeting people you agreed deserved to be targeted because they’re, you know, public health hazards
and smelly, or disgusting and ugly, or just stupid crazy .. or whatever.