Free to Be

“There is a growing trend across the country to turn to the government and trust regulators, politicians, and bureaucrats before trusting our neighbor, and honestly, even before trusting ourselves.” In this Op-Ed Free to Be, millennial author Allen Thomas challenges us to have a healthy skepticism of government and to rely on ourselves to make the decisions for our lives.

As we reflect on 2020, to say that there is room for improvement is what we would all likely call an understatement. But there is one area that not only has room for improvement, but room for a complete paradigm reversal. There is a growing trend across the country to turn to the government and trust regulators, politicians, and bureaucrats before trusting our neighbor, and honestly, even before trusting ourselves. Regulators, politicians and bureaucrats purport they know best and they in turn have been encouraging and proclaiming that we no longer trust other citizens, only government. This has been evident by emergency orders to report fellow citizens who are “endangering the public” by gathering with friends, family and colleagues or perhaps calls to shame others into wearing masks or getting a vaccine. It is no wonder that our country is divided as passionately as it is now.

To put it bluntly, we need to flip this narrative so that we trust the regulators, politicians and bureaucrats (government) less and trust ourselves and our neighbors more. After all there are numerous examples of regulators, politicians and bureaucrats violating the very orders they decree. Yet we are to treat our fellow neighbors with inquisitorial scrutiny? Why?  Why are we asked to treat our neighbors or random strangers in the supermarket like this, yet not once question those who have the literal power of force behind their words and actions? Is it not healthy to have a skepticism towards those in power? When did it become unnecessary to question force? Just because those in power want to do good, does not mean that their ideas will. Especially when those ideas continue to be founded in control, not choice.

I do believe that most regulators and bureaucrats have good intentions in their hearts or that they intend to do good by the citizens in this country. In fact, a vast majority of those in government likely do. They do believe that they can help your life and make it better. Unfortunately, most of these bureaucrats do not suffer the consequences of their actions and ideas. They lack the omniscience to know the minutia of sweeping government regulations on the lives and livelihoods of everyone the regulations apply to. It is not their fault that they lack this omniscience, but they are to blame when these ideas are forced on us to detrimental effect. It is the citizen’s responsibility to hold these government bureaucrats accountable. We must question the government even more so when regulators, politicians and bureaucrats opine that they are generous and compassionate.

Take a minute and think about it. Which government experts can really know about the daily livings of your life? There is not a single government expert that can know which friendships will benefit my life and which will be draining. There isn’t one expert who can know which diet should be mandated for me, my wife or my child considering how vastly different our dietary systems are. Not one “expert” can mandate which career will be the most satisfying for me or the education needed for such a career. And not one expert is responsible for the health and well-being of my family. That is, and always will be, my responsibility. The government cannot guarantee safety, but they can and should guarantee the safety to choose, the safety of individual freedom and to protect property rights. Government can only deal in generalities, not specifics. Government cannot know every aspect of my life and what goes into each decision I make, which is why I believe in the only form of governance that can: self-governance. I must trust in the culmination of my life and the self-preservation reflex that has been a part of human nature for thousands of years.

So, to my neighbors and fellow citizens I say this: I trust you! I trust you to keep your family alive, safe and healthy. I trust, despite me not knowing your situation, that you are doing what you believe is best. I trust that the gathering you are having, you believe is in the best interest of your families’ long-term health. I merely ask that you give me the same trust. I ask that you not violate my ability to choose by using the force of government. I encourage you to trust yourselves and your ability to self- actualize. I encourage you to trust locally before nationally. Because life is far too complicated to be mandated and far too confusing to be controlled from afar, on Capitol Hill.




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