The cost of freedom is behaving responsibly
By: Jared Milne
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 06:00 am
The success of the new Spider-Man movie proves just how timeless the original Spider-Man comics have been since they were first produced back in the 1960s. One of the core messages of these comics is that, with great power, there must also be great responsibility. What that means is that people can and should be able to use their powers responsibly, and not simply think of themselves. This applies just as much to the freedoms we enjoy as Canadians. It could be said that, with great freedom comes great responsibility, but unfortunately many Canadians don’t always use their freedoms responsibly.
Take speed limits, for example. Many people deliberately go over the speed limit and get caught by photo radar, after which they start whining about how the “nanny state” government is infringing on their freedom. They don’t seem to realize that, if they’d obeyed the speed limits, they wouldn’t have gotten a ticket. One of the major reasons we even have speed limits is because far too many people have been killed over the years, by drivers who were going too fast. If those drivers hadn’t been going so fast, many more people would still be alive today.
For a St. Albert example, consider the case of Dr. Jon Cooper, the would-be “snow angel” who was fined for snowplowing with a modified ATV. People have generally sided with Dr. Cooper, but I wonder if they would be as sympathetic if Dr. Cooper had lost control and damaged someone’s property, or hurt or even killed someone. What would Dr. Cooper have done then? The whole reason there’s a bylaw against driving ATVs in St. Albert is because of the risk of those types of incidents.
There’s also the issue of lifestyle choices like choosing to have sex, or choosing to drink or smoke. People who’ve had too much to drink sometimes get into vicious fights, suffer from medical problems and even kill others while driving drunk.
Smokers have also placed a tremendous strain on our health-care system because of cancer, emphysema and other smoking-related illnesses. People who’ve had unprotected sex can end up suffering from STDs and can have their lives turned upside-down by unexpected pregnancies. These issues have resulted in further government intervention and regulation through laws governing the sale and use of alcohol and tobacco, as well as higher taxes to pay for the higher medical care that these people need.
In all these cases, the government regulation has been prompted by people who used their freedoms irresponsibly and ended up hurting themselves or others.
Government regulation itself is not necessarily the problem, nor is the fact that people are free to drive or drink or smoke or do anything else. The real problem is that too many people use their freedoms irresponsibly, and often refuse to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
Unfortunately, there’s no real solution, and all we can do is hope that more people remember that with great freedom, there should also be great responsibility.