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The Power of Choice

When has a choice ever been a bad thing?

In life, we have to make choices every day.  We choose where to get our hair cut, or which food to eat, but never do we consider what it would be like if our choices were made for us.  Would whomever made those choices be smart enough to know which hair stylist gave us the most for our money, or whom we just liked to use better?

The political issues at hand today, and every other day for that matter, stretching from geopolitical to local governments, are, however, just that.  We ‘choose’ every day to make less of a choice, through our elected officials.  We want them to ‘make us safer,’ by restricting ‘bad businesses’ who peddle ‘inferior products,’ as if a business selling junk would last long on its own two feet, regardless of a kindhearted ban.

What we never ask, however, is why can’t we just have the choice?  Bans and government monopolies of every breed and variety pale in comparison to the simple power to choose which is better.  There is a simple test we can use to prove my theory.

If heroin were legal today, who here would go shoot it up right now?  Nobody? You, scuzzball in the back, and you, modestly dressed midwestern farmkid who is just looking for something to try and will probably regret later, you would?  Okay that’s two, plus or minus a few.  Personally, I wouldn’t.  I’m sure most of the rest of you would not either.  Let’s put this little thought experiment to test.

Take the government school monopoly: we can’t end it (through vouches, tax credits, etc) because it’ll ‘destroy education.’  Well if education is so great now at a public school, I would beg the opportunity to prove it by having competition, allow the children and their parents to pay another company or individual the same money they would give to the school for their child, and see which draws more interest from the consumer, i.e. the family.  If the public school surpassed expectations and the private companies fell, then so be it, the school was right.  Choice wins!

If the public school attendance flounders and new private schools destroy ‘Public’s’ old failing reputation, then great!  Choice still wins!

Take an equally unfought area: the war on drugs.  Kids will pay attention!

Say the D.A.R.E. program was right and all I have to do is say no, and I will be perfectly happy. Well, instead of forcing us to believe them by punishing us with fines and imprisonment, present us a choice: agree and assess the consequences, or disagree and assess the pros and cons of using drugs.  Perhaps you’ll go broke and become addicted, dying in an alley somewhere alone, or maybe it’ll be some one-time ‘try it’ episode, you’ll hate it and never do it again.  Maybe you’ll do it for a year or so, realize you are ruining your life, turn yourself around and help others do the same, because you realized your choice(s) were the right ones.

Choice wins in every category.  Death, while unfortunate and (in this case, easily) avoidable, was all based on choice.  You had every available resource telling you that shooting heroin was bad, and you decided to do it anyway.  You made the (incredibly stupid) choice, and must accept the (easily avoidable) consequences.

While it sounds cold, it is truly quite compassionate, as it allows everyone to live how they see fit, and forces no one to pay to keep their choices within ‘acceptable parameters’ via the State.


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