Howard Blitz

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Individual Liberty vs. Government Coercion

The failure of Edsel and the new Coke demonstrate that private individuals and companies cannot make the public do whatever it wants. The continued existence of the Post Office, foreign aid, and corporate welfare prove that government officials through all of the laws they pass can permanently force all individuals to put up with anything they desire is proper.

In a society where individuals are totally free to make any decision they choose, individuals and private companies that lie about their products and services do not get repeat business because the individual will use the product or service he or she buys and knows immediately whether it lives up to its promises. In government, however, elected and appointed officials who lie, most of the time get reelected and reappointed because no individual can possibly investigate and verify all of the statements elected and appointed government officials make.

Individual liberty and the free market is by far and away vastly superior to government coercion in solving any of today's situations whether it be job creation or providing health care. Individual liberty produced a polio vaccine before any government official got around to doing it. Fax machines, cellular phones, satellite dishes, and cable TV exist because of individual creativity not because of government coercion. Costs of computers and computer programs are now much less than what they were fifteen years ago because of the ingenuity of the individual to freely create. Government coercion cannot match these and many other achievements over the years because government coercion does not work on peaceful people with any meaningful results.

If private individuals and companies advertised the way politicians do, Coca-Cola would be claiming that drinking Pepsi causes brain damage. Of course in the private sector, Coca-Cola would have to back up its claim, but in government, elected officials are free to say anything they want with practically no liability. Free speech exists in the free society, but the individual is liable for his speech. Government officials with the force of law appear to have no such responsibility.

It makes one wonder why some individuals continue to believe that government officials can and will solve all of today's woes. Maybe it is because individuals do not want that responsibility. The rub with individual liberty is the individual responsibility that goes with it. The rub with government coercion is tyranny.
When one has cancer, the doctor does not remove the cancer in stages. Eliminating the tools government officials have to create tyranny, such as the income tax, a central bank, and government welfare of all sorts including foreign aid and restricting all government officials to the duties assigned to them under the Constitution is a great start to allow the individual his freedom to make his life as he chooses.

Many individuals also fear a free society because of the chaos that would develop. There is no chaos in the food distribution industry. With a relatively free market, a wide variety of food products still wind up on the shelves of grocery stores. However, an increased number of government edicts placed upon the distribution of food will result in the same chaos seen in other situations like health care and education.

Government laws restrict individuals thereby restrict the amount of goods and services available making those goods and services more expensive resulting in a greater number of impoverished people, not less. Government laws do not help the poor. Neither do they help the rich since they deter the rich from saving which creates capital, the driving force needed to grow an economy.

Today, government law (coercion) has become welfare for special segments of society (those supporting a particular law) and not the general welfare. Free individuals using their own creative minds in an attempt to solve every situation that is encountered by human beings, over time, allows more individuals to have access to the fruits of production. Individual liberty solves the human predicament much better than government coercion with much less strife and animosity.

Mr. Michael Badnarik, 2004 Libertarian Party presidential candidate and author of the book, "Good to be King," will be the keynote speaker at The Freedom Library annual awards ceremony to be held Tuesday, April 10 at 7 PM at the Booth Machinery conference hall located at Araby Road and 30th Street.

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