Not The NH Way To Take Away Rights

In the Union Leader's article about the articles being discussed from town to town regarding defining marriage there is an interesting quote buried at the bottom.

"It's not the New Hampshire way to take away rights from people," [Jim] Splaine said.

While I like the idea behind the quote and I do wish it were true, I found it interesting to see who said it.  Jim is the same state representative who bragged he was "proud" of the F rating given to him by the NH Liberty Alliance.

Originally I was going to write this article specifically about Jim's voting record but in looking deeper I think this is a chance to dive deeper into over all thinking on the part of both parties when it comes to individual rights.   It's not one specific individual who votes to take rights away from others nor is it one party or the other.  No it's much deeper in that it's our government representatives from all sides and they do so thinking that what they are doing is in our best interests.

If you'd like to dive in and take a closer look at Mr Splaine's voting record which can be found in full HERE, but as I said it's not about him.

Instead let us take a look at issues supported or not supported in recent months here in NH and explore each one by one.  While this does stem back to the issue of "Marriage" I'm going to skip over that as I feel it's worthy of an article in and of itself.

Freedom starts with ourselves.  We own ourselves otherwise we'd be slaves.  And since we are free we can make our own choices as long as those choices do not cause harm to others.

So if we're free and freedom starts with us then we should have the right to control what we choose to put into our bodies or what level of danger we place our own selves in.

Drugs are a perfect example.  If an adult chooses to smoke marijuana in the privacy of their home they are not causing anyone else harm but yet our state government including Gov Lynch, feels we should not have that right.  They also voted down the right for us to have the freedom to use such drugs even for medical reasons that could improve the standard of living of the sick.

Trans fats are another perfect example.  If I choose to eat foods with trans fats who am I harming other then myself?  I own myself and therefore I should be free to choose to eat trans fats if I so choose.

Seat-belts are another example.  If I crash my car and die or I get seriously injured, it's my life and body in danger.  An incorrect argument used to justify stripping away our rights and forcing safety on us against our will is that it increases costs on others.  This is only because of other government created problems in which they force the costs to be shifted to others.

Other rights are even easier to identify and understand because they are those rights clearly documented by the founding fathers, yet our government seeks to strip us of those too.  The right of the people to own guns is granted in the founding documents of our federal and state government yet as we've seen as recently as the ban on firearms in the state house, our government representatives continue to look for ways to limit and strip away even those rights.

In the case of this last example those seeking to take away the rights of others attempt to justify themselves by claiming guns are dangerous and can harm others but this is the same failing argument used to take away our rights over our own bodies.  If I were legally carrying a gun and I followed the law and used it only for my own defense am I causing you any harm?  Of course not.  But the fear of someone actually causing harm is what they use to strip away the rights of those who aren't.

There are however valid cases where what you do can cause me harm.  Driving recklessly places me and those who come in contact with you in direct harm for instance.

Even this though is a fuzzy line.  It is harm of others which was use to justify banning smoking in private business locations however the key here is "private".  If I own an establishment shouldn't I as the owner of that establishment have the right to determin which legal activities go on within it's doors?  If you dislike what I allow then you are free to avoid my business and even avoid working there if you so choose.

And as each bill is passed stripping away rights from one and all, each new bill becomes more and more justified.  If Jim wants to know why others feel they are justified in redefining marriage and "taking away rights" then he needs to look at the path he himself helped to create.

As each new bill comes up for discussion we need to step away from gut feelings and ask a few questions.

1) Does this bill prevent us from being able to do something we can now legally do?  Or does it give us the ability to do something we cannot currently legally do?

2) Would this action cause direct harm to others?

3) Does it take away a choice from others who may come in contact with the person impacted by the bill?

Those questions will help break nearly every bill into pro or anti liberty categories.

If a bill bans trans fat it takes away a choice of others who may wish to buy a product I make with trans fat in it.

If a bill outlaws marijuana it takes away a personal choice.

A bill preventing reckless or drunk driving is however a good bill because it would fall under #2, preventing harm to others.  But forcing me to wear a seatbelt does not and it takes away my individual choice.

There are a few exceptions and admittedly fuzzy areas.

In some cases choices involve multiple people.  I can for instance meet up with a woman in a bar and without even exchanging names or anything, we can agree to go someplace private and have sex.  That is a choice in which both parties must be consensual or it is causing harm to the other.  In this case since we both can make that choice then why is it then illegal for the same two adults to make that same choice of having sex but one agreeing with the other on a set price that will be given?  Outlawing such a thing makes no sense.

Smoking is another fuzzy area in that 2nd hand smoke does cause harm.  However if you smoke in your own home you aren't causing anyone else harm because that is a private area.  The same should be said for a business.  You are not forced to use a business that allows smoking.  If restaurant A allows smoking and I don't want to be in contact with second hand smoke I can take my business to restaurant B.  What it should boil down to is whether or not the location in question is public or private and a business is private.

Admittedly there are also areas in which there are no right or wrong sides because both sides can take the pro liberty argument.  Perfect example is abortion.  Abortion comes down to one thing and one thing only... when does life truly begin.  Once it is considered life then we are dealing with the very basic right, the right to life.  No one has the right to make a choice that would take away the life of another without the consent of the one who's life is being taken or that person doing something that places the others life in danger in which it becomes self defense in taking the other's life.  No one knows when life begins and thus there is validity to the side who feels women should have the right to their own bodies.  If what is inside them is not life and just tissue then discarding it is no different then choosing for oneself to clip a toe nail or cut your hair.  So because we don't know when life begins we do not know at which point abortion is acceptable if at all.

What it all comes down to though is that we all need to learn to respect each others rights more.  Whether its something that impacts 1 person or 1 million.  If we allow government to prevent anyone from doing what they wish without harming others then we've continued down the path of taking rights away from others.

I would like to issue a personal challenge to Jim Splaine since he's the one who sparked this in that I would like to see him push for a 100% pro liberty record in the upcoming year.  Vote in favor of every bill that supports individual's freedoms and vote against all bills that take away individuals personal freedoms and choices.  I would like to see him step up as the example in defending our rights...  ALL our rights, not just those he agrees with.