Individual Rights: Remember Those?

If an oil spill is proof that government should control the production and distribution of oil — then is a case of food poisoning proof that government should control the management of restaurants and grocery stores? If it’s ridiculous to suggest the one, then why is it acceptable to suggest the other? Government has already taken over the management of the auto industry, medical care and banking. Doesn’t this imply that government owned these properties all along? You cannot nationalize or take over what isn’t yours.

If government owns everything, then doesn’t it have the right to take over any aspect of your own private life that it deems necessary? If health care, banks and natural resources are all up for grabs — why not the television shows you watch, or the people you marry or with whom you have sex? Or the number of children you choose to have? Or what you choose to teach those children? Government ownership of the individual does not and cannot limit itself to one arbitrary area.

Much was made about Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul’s recent remarks regarding how the government has no right to tell people whom they can allow or not allow into their businesses, on their own private property. This is not racism; this is a valid argument. Certain hotels and resorts have “no child” policies, for example. Other businesses cater exclusively to families. Gays and lesbians have their own hotels and cruises. And even without government mandates in many states, you can be sure that a large number of restaurants and other establishments would not permit smoking. It’s called freedom of association.

Freedom of association refers to your right to associate, or not associate, with whomever you want, on your own property. Private property rights are the physical manifestation of the most basic right of all: individual rights. You might think it’s fine to say, “Go after those Wall Street rich guys,” or “Go after those medical doctors” because, in your opinion, they make too much money. You might think it’s fine for government to decide who should have greater freedom of association rights and who should have fewer. But the government you allow to violate the right of even one individual is, at that moment, empowered to violate the right of any individual — including yourself.