2014: The Year of Limited Liberty

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Traditionally, conservatives have always taken a certain amount of pride in declaring the United States a place where the rule of law is held to a high standard. Unfortunately, 2014 has seen a number of laws added to the books that add little to our safety while stealing much from our freedoms. Sure, many of these laws have good intentions at their heart, but you know what they say about good intentions.

ObamaCare: The Unprecedented Expansion of Government
Of all the laws that went into effect at the beginning of the year, the Affordable Healthcare Act is probably the most egregious. While liberals will stick by the law until they have no choice but to admit defeat, those of us who believe in quality healthcare and decreased socialism will continue to point out the evils of the Act.

The Lemon Pet Law
Illinois has added a couple of new laws to the books. One of them prevents those under the age of 18 from using tanning beds. The other, far more ridiculous law gives pet buyers the right to return pets if there are undisclosed health issues. While the industry behind pet breeding is one fraught with questionable moral issues, to enact a law that holds private breeders to the same standards as an auto manufacturer is beyond the pale.

California’s Gender Inclusion
Always at the forefront of the country’s most pressing issues, California introduced a new law allowing students to choose sports that are consistent with their chosen gender identity rather than their birth sex. Of course, this freedom extends to the student’s choice of bathrooms as well. As small an issue as this is, it’s another obvious middle finger to the traditional family values that the rest of the country still care about.

Of course, not all of America’s new laws come in the spirit of limiting freedom. Colorado legalized the sale and possession of marijuana at the beginning of the year. However you feel about the issue, it is at least encouraging to see that some people don’t hate the idea of personal liberty. Why is it that so many do? Is it because freedom comes with responsibility? Why do we feel the need to force bikers to wear helmets and grown adults to wear a seatbelt? These are wise personal choices, to be sure, but should we fine and jail those who opt out?

This encroaching belief that we should start with a list of things that are illegal and then go back and figure out which ones we can un-ban is entirely backwards. As Americans, we believe in freedom. We believe in personal responsibility and self-reliance. Laws that limit those traits should be regarded with suspicion and scorn until a damn good argument has been made in their favor. Start with total liberty and go from there. We’ll get a lot closer to an ideal America.