As we enter an election time frame in which we are asked to contemplate the role of government, society and freedom, I believe that we need to consider what true freedom is.
Freedom is not only when society and government allow you to do something for your own good or someone else's, but freedom is also the ability to make decisions which the government and society consider bad; in other words, we need the freedom to make bad decisions. If it weren't for the freedom to make bad decisions, we as a nation would still be bottled up on the eastern seaboard, because according to the thought of the time, it was unsafe to move beyond the Appalachian Mountains. The trade west of the Mi ssissippi would not have occurred because of the dangers; early passenger travel on airplanes would have been hindered, if not banned entirely; the same applies to early train travel because the rails and equipment were unsafe. We as a society, if we want to continue to advance, must not require such conformity as to hinder one's right to take a risk that would be determined by most as a bad decision. The society can and maybe should provide information that will or will not be considered by individuals in their decision-making processes; but banning activities or products because some will make a bad decision is infringement that should not be done lightly.
Unfortunately, recent attempts by government and some individuals to control rather than simply inform the populace about health risks, such as salt intake in restaurants and use of chewing tobacco, for example, concern me as a growing trend toward socializing all risk-taking out of us. In the future, will our freedom to make a bad decision that might lead to growth and positive development be hampered?