Sunday, August 7, 2005

Forgetting That You is Part of We

There's been a big push in America to strengthen certain INDIVIDUAL rights. Far too many voters seem to favor policies that grant each of us the right to do what we want with our own property, money, children, spouses and lives. If some of these "personal" decisions bring harm to other people or whole communities, their basic reaction is "Tough. That's not my concern."

Yet, for all this drive to accentuate the individual and their rights, too many of the people who want the right to do whatever they want don't necessarily want YOU to have the right to do whatever YOU want. Such people seem to forget that what's good for the goose should also be good for the gander.

It's a very selfish attitude and one that seems to permeate contemporary western society.

A great example of this type of mentality can be seen in land use issues. In Oregon, voters recently gave property owners strong rights to overturn or negate land use laws and zoning ordinances. If these individuals want to build a subdivision in the middle of farm land or a wood chip plant on the edge of a residential neighborhood, local government now has little muscle to stand in their way.

Their neighbors can object loudly, but who the hell cares? This is what they want to do with their property. To deny them their "God-given" right to decide what is best for themselves and their families is now viewed as creating an economic impediment to their livelihood.

But here's the kicker. Many of the same people who worked night and day to pass this anti-community legislation come unglued if YOU want to build a subdivision in the middle of THEIR farm land or YOU want to build a wood chip plant on the edge of THEIR neighborhood.

Then, all of a sudden, they become champions of community standards. They stomp around and gnash their teeth. They moan that YOUR actions will devalue THEIR property. They demand that something must be done to stop YOU from doing what YOU want.

You see, their belief in the individual is very shallow. Individual rights ONLY matter when THEY (or their buddies) are the individuals in question. When YOU become the focal point of the situation, then they don't care one iota about individual rights.

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