Freedom no longer applies in this country

Andy Milasincic

Did you know America used to be a free country?

If not, you’re forgiven. Freedom isn’t talked about much these days, unless it’s in the context of exporting it via air strikes to our fun-loving homeboys in the Middle East.

People were once free to do some silly things. They could drive without seat belts. They could smoke cigarettes in restaurants. They could even choose to retire without the luxurious benefits of mandatory Social Security.

Today, this freedom apparently comes at too high a cost. The silly little liberties that occupied the attention of some long-forgotten dead guys circa 1776 are nothing compared to the largesse of our federal government.

After all, didn’t those dead guys say our rights come from government, and that government’s role is to make us free from ourselves? (Maybe it was the other way around. I watched the latest episode of “Ally McBeal” instead of studying for that junior high history test back in ’97).

Instead of freedom, today’s government prides itself on delivering “fairness.” There used to be a saying that “life’s not fair,” but our politicians are working around the clock to fix that.

In 1979, they started a bureaucracy called FEMA to make life fair for people in disaster areas. That seemed to work pretty well, so I think they’re really on to something.

Right now, the government is making life fair for senior citizens by giving them free prescription drugs. Some seniors say it’s not fair that they have to choose among 30 free plans, while others say it’s not fair that ads for the plans interrupt “Price is Right” broadcasts. As the debate rages on, one thing is clear: We need more fairness all around.

Back in the dark days of freedom, senior citizens who hadn’t saved their money couldn’t afford health care. To the horror of all, freedom forced many seniors to spend their twilight years living with family instead of in the regal nursing homes our government subsidizes today.

This wasn’t fair to anyone, especially the poor family members who had to spend money on meals for Grandpa instead of necessities like XBox 360. Under fairness, the money for Grandpa’s food and medicine is automatically deducted from our paychecks, so we never miss it.

To extend this bounty even further, our government spends money it doesn’t have. Grandpa gets his meds, we get our XBox, and nobody foots the bill for a few decades. That sounds fair to me.

I’m glad President Bush and the Republicans finally got around to joining the fairness bandwagon. This prescription drug plan was their idea, after all. They’re finally catching up to the Democrats, who made life fair for poor people by starting the “War on Poverty” in 1964.

Four decades and billions of dollars later, poverty rates have plummeted from 10.5 percent to 10.1 percent. I’m very thankful that the government has achieved such success in leveling the playing field. That rate of return sure beats anything private charities could achieve in the heartless “free” system.

In light of all this evidence, perhaps the politicians should start a “War on Freedom” to get rid of the bad old days once and for all.

Maybe they could start by throwing out the Constitution, outlawing decisions like driving without a seat belt, and taxing a third of our income.

America used to be a free country. But our politicians corrected that and would be much happier if you would just stop thinking about it. In fact, it might be safer if they handled all the thinking.

Adam Milasincic is a senior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].