We’ve lost our freedomBy Peter Wallace
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Christmas is upon us. A time, perhaps, to reflect on the past. Not the 2000 years past, although that’s an inevitability as we approach Christmas, but “in our lifetime” past.
I have long been disturbed by how law has been corrupted over time to make normal day-to-day living ever more difficult, how government bureaucracies have made it even worse, and, sadly, how little we are outraged by the ever-increasing restrictions on our freedom to act as intelligent (well, semi-intelligent in some cases, it must be admitted) individuals.
The freedom we enjoyed in the ’60s and the responsibility for our own actions have been eroded to what I consider an alarming degree. It’s time we, the people, started to object. Give us back the freedom to make mistakes, the freedom to decide how we want to live our lives.
Someone sent me this lovely collection of anecdotes of how it used to be and, ever so sadly, how it is today in this “modern” world (modern in technology, certainly, but backward in sociology).
Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
1960—Crowd gathers. Johnny wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best mates for life.
2010—Police called, arrest Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Mark started it. Both children go to anger management programs for three months. School board holds meeting to implement bullying prevention programs
Scenario: Robbie won’t keep still in class, disrupts other students.
1960—Robbie sent to office and given six of the best by the headmaster. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2010—Robbie given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. Robbie’s parents get fortnightly disability payments and school gets extra funding from state because Robbie has a disability.
Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1960—Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2010—Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. Billy’s sister tells government psychologist that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison.
Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin in school.
1960—Mark gets glass of water from teacher to take aspirin with.
2010—Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.
Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from Guy Fawkes, puts them in a model airfix paint bottle, blows up an ant nest.
2010—Police, Armed Forces, and antiterrorism squad called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, MI5 investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated. Johnny’s dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.
Scenario: Johnny falls while running during break and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1960—In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2010—Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy.
Is this really what we want our world to be? We’ve gone backward in the last 50 years.
Even farther back, an extremely prescient forecaster, Buddha, forecast 2,800 years ago that in 5,000 years all mankind will look the same. That’s certainly what we need now. Ethnic and racial wars have no place in this world. Globalization, and the intermarriage it is creating, is moving us to one world, one race. It’s hard to fight your brother. But that’s still 2,200 years away, we’re not likely to be around to see if he’ll be right. But what may still divide us is the religious wars. Why can’t religions accept the existence of others in a tolerant fashion?
There’s an annual competition for the silliest way to kill yourself, unintentionally. It’s called the Darwin Awards.
One of the award contenders was a man who shot himself in the head when he answered the phone from his bed in the dark, picked up a pistol instead, and pulled the trigger as he put it to his ear. Or the man on death row in South Carolina due for the electric chair who electrocuted himself while sitting on a metal jail toilet trying to repair a radio. Or the angry man who grabbed a shotgun and smashed it into his girlfriend’s car windshield. The gun went off and shot him through the gut.
The winner was an exception (he didn’t die) because his case was so stupid it just had to be considered. A driver had a car headlight fuse blow while driving. Having no spare fuse, he used a .22-caliber bullet because it fitted the socket. It heated up with the current, exploded, and the bullet shot his testicles off.
The list goes on. Man’s ability to be stupid should never be underestimated. But don’t pass a law to stop his stupidity, let him be.
My best wishes to those lawmakers who voted to save lives this Christmas by passing the reproductive health and sin tax reform bills. They deserve our praise.
Our mixed-marriage family wishes you all a great Christmas! And we extend our sympathies to the ever so many families in Mindanao who lost loved ones at what should be a joyous time. We must all send a little something to them to ease their suffering at least a little. Let’s all have some joy at Christmas.
Don’t be stupid this Christmas, just have a great one.
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