Let the world change you... and you can change the world

Give Me Some Of Those Freedom Fries

I’ve always been somewhat befuddled about exactly what “freedoms” conservatives are always so concerned about losing, a refrain you here pretty much every time someone proposes a law they don’t like.  Often it has to do with increased taxes that in no way affect them directly, and yet they scream about losing their “freedoms”.  So maybe to the conservative freedom equals money?  That seems kind of odd equivalence, but then again it does give them cover for looking like the greedy, selfish jerks that they are.  They say they oppose a single payer health care system because it “infringes on their freedoms”, but what they really mean is that they are afraid it’s going to mean higher taxes for them with all the benefits going to someone else.

Here’s what got me thinking about this — I live in a residential neighborhood that borders on a small commercial establishment.  That commercial operation generates a moderate amount of traffic due to customers coming and going, and some of that results in parking and traffic issues in the neighborhood.  But for the most part it’s tolerable, and the reality is that operation was there before most of us bought our houses in the neighborhood, so we knew what the issues would be before we moved in.

However, this commercial operation is now asking the city to re-zone the area so that they can triple in size!  Not only that, they are asking to re-align one of the side streets to make it easier for customers to access their building.  Net result for my residential neighborhood is that not only will traffic and parking problems triple, the effect of the street change is going to make my street pretty much a mini-highway.

Now it occurs to me that this is one major infringement on my “freedom” to live in a safe, residential neighborhood.  What right does a business have to infringe on that?  This is a perfect example of where it’s the responsibility of government to protect me from business interests.  And hopefully the end here will be “big government” telling “big business” what they can and can not do in order to protect “individual freedoms” of the people in the neighborhood.

Which is exactly as it should be.  It’s the role of government to make sure that the rich and the powerful do not harm citizens in their pursuit of more riches and more power. The rich can get as rich as they want and the mega-corporations can get as big as they want, but only as long as they don’t in the process trample on the quality of life for the average citizen.  And as we have growing income disparity in this country and as mega-corporations control more and more of the economy, it’s going to be up to the government to see that individual rights and freedoms are not trampled on.  Which is exactly why we must have government as big and strong as the richest Americans and most powerful corporations are.  Big government doesn’t take away your freedoms, it protects your freedoms.

Why is this no-brainer so hard to understand for so many people?