Ron Paul’s latest blog entry Personal Freedoms and the Internet addresses the concerns he, as well as most libertarians, have regarding legislation like the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Paul argues that this will lead to much more government regulation of the internet which would be bad for the internet. Paul states “The internet must remain a government-free zone to maintain its integrity and usefulness to modern society”.
Paul goes on the argue that on a larger scale if we as Americans are not free to make mistakes, we are not really free. The full quote is below…
“The most basic principle to being a free American is the notion that we as individuals are responsible for our own lives and decisions. We do not have the right to rob our neighbors to make up for our mistakes, neither does our neighbor have any right to tell us how to live, so long as we aren’t infringing on their rights. Freedom to make bad decisions is inherent in the freedom to make good ones. If we are only free to make good decisions, we are not really free.”
Of course, excessive online gambling (or state lotteries for that matter) is a problem, just like many other things can be considered irresponsible or not in a person’s best interest, but if someone is doing something that doesn’t hurt or defraud others, how is it that anyone has the right to get in their way? How can you say that you are truely free if you are not able to make those decisions for yourself?
The best way to help people overcome bad habits is through education, which unfortunately I believe is lacking in this country, particularly with in the financial area.
We could solve a lot of financial based problems we face as a country if people were better educated in personal finance before going out on their own. This could be helped dramatically if we had more competition in education instead of the public school monopolies that most communities are stuck with.
This could be achieved by a variety of ways such as school vouchers or a dollar for dollar tax credit for education expenses. Even with our current public school system, if a parent could at least decide to shift their funds to any school in the state, this should help foster changes as at least it would force the existing public schools to have accountability to the parents as the parents would be able to move their children to other schools that better serve their needs.