Freedom vs Autonomy
Freedom vs Autonomy
In his BOLD Series talk last week, Jason Williford noted a survey that documented the highest level ever of Americans leaving jobs without prospects of a new job. Most of those people were Millennials with mountains of college tuition debt, not middle-aged managers with funded pensions and savings accounts. Williford also cited a Fortune 500 client that had budgeted one million dollars for 2022 marketing to potential employees. Obviously, motivated and dependable individuals will be in great demand while a lot of others are trying to “find themselves”. Anybody foresee this widening the income gap between the swimmers and the floaters?
Add to all this the thousands of Central Americans pounding on our Southern door so they can escape the corruption, violence, and poverty of their homelands and the law of supply and demand is about to go nuclear in North America. But in the new economy, the “supply” will be an overabundance of people who need good paying jobs and the demand for those individuals will be on the downslope because, like everything else, economies run on a sinewave, not a straight line. Today’s lack of responsible employees will undoubtedly be replaced by tomorrow’s shortage of jobs because innovation and automation will always fill the gap.
Somehow, politicians have effectively propagated the message that we all have a “right” to a good paying job, a comfortable living space, low- or no-cost healthcare, and carbon-free, cost-free transportation. Not one of those things is mentioned in the constitution and despite what Comrade Karl would say, none of those things is a right.
In order to grant anything as a “right” to an individual or group, some other individual or group has to give up an equivalent right. Who do we force to fill healthcare jobs when they are no longer financially rewarding. It sure won’t be all those folks out trying to find themselves and it won’t be the ones living in mom and dad’s basement, playing video games all day.
What does all this have to do with “Freedom versus Autonomy”?
We cohabit with 300 million other North Americans on a landmass that can support only twice that many humans. At the current birthrate and increasing lifespans, we will outgrow our little island in another 100 years unless Mother Nature culls the herd again, possibly through an epidemic much worse than COVID or even the Spanish Flu. Yet we all keep demanding our personal rights and politicians succeed by convincing us that our “wants” are indeed our “rights” which they alone can guarantee.
With Democracy’s right of freedom, comes the responsibility to use that freedom in a self-supporting manner that does not usurp that which belongs to others. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Freedom is not the right to do as you please but the liberty to do as you should.” Rudyard Kipling (as quoted in Robert Hall’s latest blog) wrote, “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
The question is, “Are we doing a disservice to the younger generation (and thereby the future of our entire culture) by not instilling in them a serious work ethic?” Who will continue to fund their “right” to do only that which makes them happy? Will the government (i.e. the tax payers)? Should the kid who wasted twelve years of the tax-payers’ education funds by skipping school and raising hell have a “right” to the same wage, and by extension, the same standard of living as the valedictorian who spent evenings and weekends studying? Should the valedictorian subsequently be taxed to fund the healthcare of the slacker? Should there be no consequences for self-serving, anti-social behavior? Margaret Thatcher said it best, “The problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
“I am so old that I can remember when other people’s achievements were considered to be an inspiration rather than a grievance.”
— Thomas Sowell