Thursday, June 4, 2009
Freedom & Liberty for all (?)
If you have read most of these posts you have seen quite a few rants about my concern over the societal changes in perspective and definitions of what to me seems to be common ideas. "Global Warming" and environmentalism are two (or two sides of the same coin) that come to mind. Like I have said - if you repeat a lie enough times, people start to believe it. I won't go off on that subject today, however - read some old posts if you don't know where I stand. I have some comments on freedom and liberty, especially as it concerns the free market economy. We, as Americans, are granted liberty and certain freedoms by our constitution. Our country was founded by people that were fed up with religious and political persecution. The original colonists in no small numbers were Christians from protestant sects that were not allowed to practice their beliefs due to state sponsored religion in the countries and/or regions they came from. Our country also was founded by people that were trying to escape oppressive and non-responsive government. "No taxation without representation" was the cry that fueled our forefathers in revolution. To be fair, our country was also populated early by people looking to make their fortune in the "New World". But I digress. We live in a "free society". We have a representative republic form of government. (one of my pet peeves is when people erroneously remark on our "democracy" - democracy is another word for "mob rule", but I digress) As stated above, we have rights and freedoms granted to us by law from the very documents that were used to found this country. It amazes me how those rights and freedoms have been bastardized to reflect ideas that I am sure our founding fathers never even considered. For example, the constitution guarantees freedom of religion. There is to be no establishment of a state supported religion. However, there is also a line about no one being able to inhibit or prohibit the practice of individual's religion. The no state supported religion has been the side of this equation that has been thrown around and built up by those that would have religion done away with in our country. The individual's freedom to practice their religion has been given a much lower importance. This is especially true if the religion being practiced is any normal, basic sect of Christianity. Smoking is another activity that, although not protected by the constitution specifically as is religion, has been vilified and condemned by society as to make a pariah out of anyone lighting up almost anywhere. Now, for those of you that do not know me, I am NOT a smoker. I find it a disgusting habit. I do not, nor have I ever smoked (except of a short period where I played with pipes and lots of different tobacco). However, tobacco is a legal product for adults to purchase and consume. The use of cigarettes and cigars, no matter how repulsive are no different than eating a purchased sandwich or applying a cologne. I may despise tuna and get nauseous smelling Charlie, but it is your "right" to eat and wear either. It amazes me that we have gotten to a point that a smoker cannot light up in a restaurant, bar, or other public place. (again, I will not eat next to a smoker - I have left restaurants when there was smoking I could smell) If the owner of the business wants to cater to people that smoke, and smokers want to frequent the establishment, more power to them. It should be incumbent upon the non-smoker or offended to LEAVE. Don't patronize the business if you disagree with their policies! This same concept is what I was reading and thinking about when I started this blog. GM is selling the Hummer brand. Hummer is a vehicle that has been demonized and vilified as to represent what is wrong with consumerism and society in the U.S. I saw where some yahoo representing some wonderful "consumer" organization (a separate blog if ever there was one - stay tuned) made comments about Hummer. He said that (and I paraphrase) "it is time that Hummer and their new owner builds smaller and more efficient products that people want. A more "green" Hummer is in order." I don't think this idiot has a clue. GM, like all companies is in business to make a profit. A company makes a profit by performing a service or selling a product THAT PEOPLE WANT TO PAY FOR!! The market should decide if it wants a smaller Hummer! Maybe the market wants a BIGGER Hummer?! To take the Hummer nameplate and past it on a Yugo would not be a good idea. The MARKET should decide what the owners of Hummer build and sell. I started this days ago, and cannot reclaim my enthusuasm and commitment to my original ideas. I guess I will close with my thoughts on reading what I have written above - The auto industry in the US has failed for a myriad of reasons. Paramount above them is government regulations. The auto companies have not been able to build cars that people want for years. They have had fleet gas mileage standards and safety regulations to meet that changed a lot of that. The 'evil" SUV would not have become the sales sucess it has unless people wanted to buy them. The media and "greenies" would have you believe that the car companies took all car buyers to a backroom and waterboarded them to force a SUV upon them! Small cars DON'T sell! People, for the most part, DON'T WANT ROLLERSKATES WITH RUBBER TIRES AND A SEAT!! Now, I know - the Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc models are perenial best sellers. But look at a Civic of today vs a Civic of ten or fifteen years ago. It is about half again bigger. It is the same with most small cars. We do not have the same roads or driving patterns as most of Europe or Asia. We are on multi-hundred mile interstate/freeway trips, NOT weaving through the cobblestone lanes of a village. We want to feel pampered and safe in our vehicles. We want the kids to have entertainment and picture windows to keep them occupied when we are barreling down the highway. (before I get blasted by someone that wants to talk about the success of the Prius or the Mini Cooper, etc. - I know there are always exceptions. I am talking about generalities. My point is made by sales figures every year.) The market should decide if a car the size of a house that gets three feet to the gallon of gas makes it. The market should decide if a restaurant that doubles as a cigarette testing lab is a success. The market should decide if the owner of a business can make a go of it by serving trans-fat laden fries. If people, when fully informed of what they are buying or consuming, decide to patronize the businesses - more power to them. When people that do not want to eat in a place that has smokers - they DON'T GO THERE! If people want a tiny car - THEY BUY ONE! To foist your ideas and ideals on another IS NOT FREEDOM OR LIBERTY!! Even when done with the best of intentions.