Now that election season is in full swing, we are again hearing the yelps from certain political parties about government regulations and how there shouldn’t be any. Between crying that regulations violate some made-up constitutional rights or are preventing businesses from making money, it’s hard to get a word in edge-wise with folks who complain about a government infringing on personal rights while they are holding signs opposing gay marriage laws.
Just for the record, let me state this: I too am against state or federal government regulations when they impose on people’s personal lives. I don’t want the state involved in every aspect of my life. But I am not against government regulations when they are for the common good or are beneficial to most everyone residing in a civilized society.
See, a lot of regulations are put in place solely because we as a human race can’t do the right thing on our own; we have to be told and forced to do it. This has been on my mind recently after reading about a device being developed that could jam the cellphone signal of a person driving a car but not that of any passengers. I think this is a wonderful idea and I mentioned it on Twitter, only to be told I was “destroying freedom” by supporting regulations limiting the use of a phone while driving.
I’m not kidding. This really happened.
Let’s talk about cellphones and texting while driving. Regulations, for the most part, are put in place to protect us, not to take away rights and “freedom.” If it’s made impossible to text while driving, that means that the next time I cross my road I won’t have to worry about some 21 year old kid nearly running me over because he was looking down at his phone. This happens almost daily in my neighborhood and I venture that if you live in a city it happens in yours too. Would taking away the “freedom” of texting while driving be such a bad thing if it saves the lives of others? I don’t think so.
If drivers can’t stop texting and running people over, then the government needs to step in and do it for them.
We used to be able to drive a car without talking on the phone or texting – remember those days? I know that may not be convenient in today’s world, and I myself sometimes use my phone while I am driving, but would I give it up if it meant everyone would have to pay more attention when they are driving? You bet.
Imagine living in a world without government regulation on anything, which many Republicans and tea-partiers dream of. No food safety laws. No airline safety checks. No banking rules. No environmental pollution laws. A giant free-for-all where everything and anything goes. Well, everything except for things like gay rights and a woman’s right to choose. Those should be regulated, according to the “no regulations” folks.
Sound like a good time to you? It doesn’t to me.
Does everything need to be regulated? Nope. Personal choices that affect no one other than the person making that choice don’t need the help of a government bureaucrat. Allowing marriage between same sex persons shouldn’t need regulation – but it does because some people don’t want those people to have the same rights they enjoy. Remember when African-Americans and women couldn’t vote? Seems absurd now, doesn’t it? That’s how absurd the anti-gay marriage bullshit is going to seem in a few years.
I would even venture to say that the ridiculous anti-soda laws in NYC didn’t need to happen, except for the fact that the way our healthcare system is set up the obesity-related diseases do end up costing everyone more in the long run. Somehow contain those costs to just the person drinking the soda and it comes down to a personal choice and personal responsibility; it wouldn’t bother me in the least if that’s what an individual chooses to do as long as it doesn’t impact me. Same goes for smoking; keep those lung cancer bills to just the smoking person with the cancer and I say smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
However, drivers texting while driving impacts me every time I leave the house.
Will I take some flack for this post? Probably. But government regulations are in place (and put in place) usually for the right reasons. Not always, but usually. Regulations governing our lives are in place to protect us from ourselves because we need protecting. Sad, but true. When we can’t trust people to do the right thing, some regulation is required – and I support that 100%.
Government regulations have been in place since the days of early Egyptian and Roman civilizations. We need them now even more than they needed them then. We don’t need or want a dictatorship where one man or woman makes wacky laws to control their serfs, but we do need laws and rules in order to live in a civilized society. To go without them would be our collective downfall, and I am afraid that those wishing for that to happen can’t see beyond their own awkward definition of “freedom.”
What are your thoughts on this matter? I had some interesting responses on Twitter to my mention of the cellphone jammer, with most people believing we do need regulations in order to function as a society. Would love to hear your thoughts on the cellphone issue as well as on government regulations.
Image Credit: Law of the land image from BigStock