A column by Mike Myer, executive editor of The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register
WHEELING, W.Va. — What would Patrick Henry say today? “Give me liberty or give me death?”
Nah. More like, “Give me liberty or, heck, let me trade that for a government that promises to protect me from lemonade.”
Next weekend we’ll be celebrating Independence Day. It’s a safe bet most people lack a basic understanding of the Declaration of Independence and what it meant.
What it meant was that our ancestors were willing to go to war against the most fearsome military power on the planet in 1776. Their goal was to be free of burdensome taxes they had no voice in establishing, and to get the British off their backs in many other ways. They simply wanted to be free to live their lives as they chose.
So, how’d that work out?
For awhile, fine. But that was back when Americans believed in watching out for themselves and their neighbors and in using our own hard work and risk to get ahead. And they believed in common sense, too.
Now, we want protection from everything.
As we reported earlier this month, a couple of little girls in Overton, Texas, opened a sidewalk stand selling lemonade and “kettle corn.”
They were shut down quickly. No city permit. Municipal officials had the good sense to waive the $150 fee for one.
But then the local health department reminded the kids their operation needed to be inspected and approved as selling safe food and drink.
The girls have learned that in modern America, more of our behavior is regulated by the government than is not.
Think about it: What aspect of your life is not touched by the government, in the name of protecting you from something or safeguarding society in general from something. Not many years ago, incidentally, sweeping, expensive changes were demanded to prevent global cooling. No pun intended, but cooler heads prevailed.
What does the nanny state cost us financially and, perhaps, more important, in aggravation?
Long wait and perhaps a body scan at the airport? Keeping us safe from terrorists. Never mind that the security measures don’t work.
Forced to buy government-approved health insurance and told you can’t see your own doctor? Uncle Sam says it’s for your own good.
The list goes on and on and one.
Maybe we should rename July 4: Dependence Day.
Myer can be reached at: [email protected].