The Right to Choose


It is the very essence of our being human. Its importance doesn’t rise or fall in correspondence with an action’s purported social or economic value. The right to choose is vital in arenas that are cool and uncool; politically correct and incorrect; moral and immoral; GDP additive and negative. So long as the right to choose is between one or more willing, consenting and mentally capable adults and involves no true coercion, it should be the value our polity protects.

The right to choose includes but is not limited to:

The right to choose whom one marries and engages in intimate activities with. Physical and emotional intimacy is not a legitimate matter for any other person to define or interfere with. If one believes that a deity inspires its edicts, religion may define marriage and bind its willing adherents to its definitions. But this will cannot be enforced, legitimately, by the state.

The right to choose to engage in mutually-agreeable labor contracts with an employee or employer.

The right to choose to carry a firearm and, if necessary, use it in defense against potentially mortal threats to oneself or other innocents. That criminals use firearms to perpetrate terrible acts is tragic; it is also an entirely unacceptable rationale for stripping law-abiding citizens of their right to use guns for personal defense and hobby.

The right to choose to use one’s talents to perform any duty for a willing customer without a government permission slip (license, regulatory approval, etc.).

The right to choose which substances to put in one’s body and in whichever quantities are so desired. Macro-level social ills are not the result of people having the freedom to take too many drugs. Even if they were, it would not matter.

The right to choose which god(s), if any, to worship.

The right to choose who not to provide goods or services to. Businesses may deny customers service for reasons that are considered hateful or bigoted, with the exception of rare situations wherein denial of service would result in serious physical harm and/or death, (e.g. not selling a man dying of thirst a bottle of water).

The right to choose which words to utter, when to utter them, and on what medium, even when these words are considered bigoted, factually incorrect, insensitive, offensive to a certain group, etc. The government’s failure to punish hateful speech constitutes not an endorsement of the hate but a recognition of the sacrosanct nature of unfettered speech.

The right to choose to make such speech effective with monetary backing and promotion. Incumbent politicians don’t like all of the money being spent on political speech because it is being spent against them. The American polity’s job is not to protect incumbent politicians.

The right to choose where and when to travel unimpeded and without interference or tracking from a government entity.

The right to choose whether or not to participate in the nation’s military and whether or not to serve in foreign wars.

The right to choose how to spend one’s money, regardless of how badly politicians want to take it and give it to other people so that they feel good about themselves.

The right to choose to engage in commercial activities with citizens from other countries free of any protective costs that exceed the tangible, physical costs of protecting ports, shipping lanes, etc.

The right to choose whether or not to let a police officer into one’s house, car, or other property in the absence of a properly-issued warrant.

The right to choose, broadly, how to live one’s life, make one’s own moral decisions and pursue one’s own interests free from any and all government interference should those actions not cause direct, physical harm to another human.

I would guess that most readers are comfortable with some of these statements and not comfortable with others; I can, quite accurately, I think, guess which statements fall into each category. What I would ask the reader is to think about the value of freedom in all circumstances.


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