L. Neil Smith's
Number 309, March 6, 2005

"Free Walt Anderson"

Peace of Mind
by Ron Beatty

Exclusive to TLE

Inconvenience would seem to be a small price to pay for peace of mind.

I looked at this phrase at the end of an article on my news page, and almost vomited!

The article itself was about limiting driving 'privileges' for young drivers, for their own good, of course. Sadly, while the article was full of good ideas, the writer, and the editor , of that piece, don't seem to understand what freedom and responsibility are all about. Had the suggestions been intended for parents, as a guideline in teaching responsibility to a teen driver, the whole thing would have been quite acceptable in tone. However, the article was slanted at the state, and what the state should allow teens to do.

What the state should allow?

It is not the function of the state to allow anything! Once parents have decided that a teen is responsible enough to start driving, it is up to the parents to teach that child correct driving behavior. That is not the point of this article, however.

Inconvenience would seem to be a small price to pay for peace of mind

That one phrase sums up all the problems we are having with government in this country. It justifies the humiliating personal searches at airports. It justifies the police state tactics of 'sobriety checkpoints' or 'identification stops'. It justifies the Patriot Act, and the new Intelligence Reform Act, with all their draconian intrusions on personal privacy, including the repulsive, illegal and un-Constitutional parts, such as no warrant required searches, a national ID card, federal snooping into our reading habits at libraries and book stores. It justifies any intrusion into private, personal, or intimate matters. After all, if someone has more than one wife (or husband), doesn't your peace of mind require that that person be harassed, jailed, or otherwise punished for violation of your religious or moral code? It doesn't matter that the people involved are adults who freely and willingly consent to live in that situation. For that matter, if two men or women live together, doesn't your peace of mind require that their 'immoral and ungodly' lifestyle be exposed, and the people involved publicly pilloried?

Ladies and gentlemen, your 'peace of mind', in and of itself, is not a justification for any action against any person, group of people, or even an idea. In fact, the only thing your peace of mind can possibly justify is you improving yourself! If you live in a dangerous area, your peace of mind can justify you moving. It can justify you obtaining training in personal defense. It can even justify you imposing a safety zone, on your own property, in which any offensive action will bring a violent response, subject, of course, to the laws of the area you live in and your own personal moral or religious code, such as the Zero Aggression Principle. What your peace of mind can not justify is imposing restrictions on others in their private and personal lives.

No one has the right to impose any conditions or restrictions on the lives, property, or actions of another person, unless and until that particular person has harmed you in some way. At that point, you have every right to defend yourself, your life, your family, your property.

Peace of mind. Such a lovely phrase. The problem is that so many seem to want to apply it to others. In all my study of history, religion, sociology, law, and psychology, I've found not one case where imposing restrictions on others for your personal peace of mind has worked, in any substantial matter. The only times anything along this line have worked is when a group of people of substantially the same mindset have joined together to form a community, and then it only works as long as all the members of the group wish it to.

Peace of mind. We'd all like to have it. We all strive for it, in one form or another. But peace of mind is not a constitutionally guaranteed right, and it can never, under any circumstances, justify imposing your personal religious or moral code on others who have not to agreed to live by that code.

When you come right down to it, peace of mind is a totally personal and completely internal matter. If you feel confident of dealing with your everyday life and the stresses it brings, you will have peace of mind, to some degree at least.

If you can not deal with the stresses of everyday life, you will become neurotically insecure, and just might wind up becoming a lawyer, preacher, or perhaps even reach the ultimate heights (or depths) of insecurity, and become the occupant of the Oval Office!


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