- Politics and Social Issues
Freedom Issues: Freedom and Parenting - Government Knows Best
Do you realize that others know what's best for you and your child? There are people you haven't even met who believe they know the best way to raise your child and have obvious issues with your freedom to decide. Some think that it's okay to direct what you are free to teach your child and when. Well, I have suspected for a long time that plenty of people would be more than happy to allow our government to guide their lives. They wouldn't mind being told what is appropriate to watch or read. Too many Americans currently are followers, and they are oblivious and happy. That's great for them. We are a free country with free citizens, we all have the right to pursue life the best way we can assuming our rights don't interfere with others.
I haven't written a hub in response to anyone on HubPages yet, but I felt this topic deserved a little exploration. I wanted to expand on my thoughts. There was a question asked about, “Should a ten-year-old be allowed to hunt with a gun?”. http://hubpages.com/question/25185/should-a-ten-year-old-be-allowed-to-hunt-with-a-gun The questioner was asking about a new law in WI which supposedly allows a child aged 10 or more to hunt. My response was, in effect, that parents should have the freedom to decide what is right for their children, and that government's job is not to protect us from ourselves. Obviously there are some who disagree with my idea of freedom since my response received some negative votes. That is okay. I'm not surprised, but frankly, it makes me a little sad.
The questioner responded with, “My way of thinking is that...” Isn't this always the start of issues regarding freedom or lack of it? We are subjected to and forced to abide someone else's way of thinking. As a parent could you fathom not only being told what to feed your child, but that it's additionally mandated you do so, since someone's way of thinking decided it's best for all children? I recognize that the reason my answer was voted down is likely due to the fact that guns and hunting are involved. For some reason, at least two people who voted negatively weren't able to look past those issues to the root of the question; parental freedom. If it's not that, then perhaps they believe that it is the government's job to protect us from ourselves. Of course it makes sense to force everyone to wear safety belts or not to smoke or any other number of things reasonable people know are risky because we are too dumb to recognize the danger. These people might counter with the argument that certain public safety hazards should be minimized for the “collective good”. That phrase, when uttered, means to me the will of others be imposed on the individual. In my way of thinking "for the collective good" means a reduction of freedom for everyone, including the responsible and sensible ones. This has been happening little by little for a long time, and one day we may wake up and wonder what it used to be like to make decisions for ourselves.
So, the point of this is what can parents decide for their children. Parents should be able to decide virtually everything for their children. So here is the complete response: “My way of thinking is that children are playing with video games. After killing millions of aliens, monsters, and terrorists, to have that same child not to do ta, ta, ta, ta, through the woods would be huge.” Is this a fear argument? I'm not sure what is being said here other than due to the prevalence of violent video games, our children shouldn't be taught a responsible sport. Regardless of your views on guns or hunting, the numbers show that both are largely done responsibly and safely, and there is a net benefit from both. I see no need to defend this in the context of this hub or in comments since we are currently free to do both.
So, here's my way of thinking: If a child is taught early the responsible and safe use of firearms, we've removed the taboo. If a child is taught early the concept of hunting, an activity as old as man itself, they will learn responsible methods, and actually grow their respect for life instead of seeing killing as it's portrayed in a video game. I think we can agree a parent knows their child, their capabilities, and their level of intelligence much better than an outsider. So why would we agree to taking their choice of what to teach their children and when they teach it away from parents? That is the most irresponsible thing of all. After all, things happen fast when we are talking about kids and their development. We may miss a golden opportunity to show them something good, and it will be difficult to turn back the clock once their interest is on to something else.
With Freedom and Parenting For All
What is forgotten is that it seems as though children these days are learning so much more about the world at an earlier age. In public schools they are confronted with much more negative influence than I was 25 years ago, and I was in a worse position than my parents before me. I know that, as a kid, I enjoyed nothing more than some target shooting and to have the opportunity to get into the woods when hunting season rolled around. As a result of that experience early in my life, I was able to avoid some of the bad influences that crossed my path, and I learned valuable lessons about safety, responsibility, and conservation that stuck with me. I remember shooting my first squirrel at 9 years old, and also hunted rabbit and dove with my dad using his old .410 single-shot shotgun. He was very firm in teaching me how to use it properly and most importantly safely. He also was firm in teaching respect for the animals and the woods. I consider these valuable lessons that I shall pass on to my children.
Most States have it right on this issue and have little or no restriction. We should all long for less restriction on any number of issues affecting our individual freedoms. I do not think that the majority of parents need to be told how to teach their kids since there is no one correct method and no model that could possibly apply to every child. There will always be people who do things wrong or incorrectly, and there will always be reasons to think it can be done better. When we begin to rely on the opinions of others to tell us what is right for us when no threat has been posed to another person's rights by our actions, any attempt to impose those opinions and restrictions on others who hold different values is wrong headed. Let us petition our lawmakers for allowing more rather than less, and we can live better, freer lives.