When you see a “no shirt, no service” or “no pets allowed” sign, or when you wait at a red light though no one is coming, do you feel that your freedom has been taken away? If you’re an extreme libertarian you might feel so, but most of us realize that to have a reasonably just, productive and stable society, we need rules and laws that both restrict and encourage certain behavior. The intent is to benefit society as a whole. Much individual freedom remains, but many deciding roles are yielded to groups rather than to the individual. As the concerns range more and more broadly, decision-making may fall to a family, then to a town, then to the state, and finally, when something effects the cohesion of the nation itself and everyone’s mutual involvement, to our national governing bodies.

Here in Maine, recall the outcry about the bottle bill, car inspection and the requirement that all drivers hold liability insurance. In some sense, these restricted individual freedom and cost you time and money, but would you want to repeal these today? Would you want the freedom to dump trash into our streams and rivers, as was the case when I was young?

Nationally there was tremendous resistance to abolishing slavery, giving women the vote and curtailing child labor. Where would we, be had these not happened?

Obamacare is a first step toward a fair national health plan, the lack of which causes immense injustice and financial drain in our society. It is flawed and incomplete, but when you go to the polls in November, I hope you will vote for candidates who are committed to working to improve it, rather than to repeal, negate and confound all the good intentions behind it.

 

Abbott Meader

Oakland

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