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Tommy Kemp considers laws reaching into personal life
Writer asks: How far should we let laws reach into our personal lives
By Tommy Kemp
Living in a free society means accepting a certain amount of risk. In response to an article written, citing facts from the CDC and NCADD: There is no question that the irresponsible use of alcohol is something that should be taken seriously, it would take a cold-hearted person to scoff at the instances of harm caused by the abuse of alcohol.
However, I also feel that it would be disingenuous to look at the effects of alcohol abuse and not to look at the effects of other things that may cause harm when not used in a responsible way.
The CDC, while recommending that alcohol be used in moderation, also advises against eating too much red meat because of the risks it poses regarding heart disease, they recommend limiting intake of refined sugar, due to the risks it presents regarding diabetes.
The CDC gives statistics and recommendations on everything from the dangers of irresponsible use of caffeine to the dangers of spending too much time in the sun.
My point in bringing up these things, that would seem to have nothing to do with the issue at hand, is to bring up the often overlooked side effect of living in a free society, and that is, that citizens living in a free society accept a certain level of risk as a byproduct of allowing individuals to make their own decisions.
I suppose we could experiment with living in a not so free society, forfeiting our freedoms for the sake of universal safety. We could ask that there be a law forbidding people from driving after dark, since that is an inherently dangerous activity.
We could make a law limiting how many restaurants in Columbia can serve pork, since heart disease is a major killer in the U.S. and pork is known to play a role in causing heart disease.
We could make a law banning the sale of cigarettes in Adair County, since the dangers of smoking are well known to everyone.
But in all likelihood we won't be doing any of these things, because we have been brought up to believe that we have the freedom to make our own decisions.
In no way do I aim to make light of things like heart disease, car accidents or alcohol abuse, all of which deserve to be taken seriously.
I do want to end though, by asking the question, How far are you willing to go to guarantee the absolute safety of everyone at all times?
How many of your freedoms are you willing to give up?
How far should we let laws reach into our personal lives and dictate our actions?
How long should we allow ourselves to be treated like children, unable to make our own decisions because someone else has already decided what's best for us?
This story was posted on 2016-02-23 15:44:25
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