It’s for Your Own Good. Do it, or go to Jail

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

You may never have heard of John and Alicia Nash, but they were celebrities. The 2002 movie, A Beautiful Mind, told their story.

In brief, John Nash, a mathematician, devised a method of analyzing data in a way that helps lead to optimal decision making. It’s called the Nash Equilibrium. That may not sound very important at first, but it is one of those innovations that nobody notices, yet everyone depends upon. It is really a big deal.

Unfortunately, and perhaps with tragic irony, John and Alicia Nash made a decision that proved to be fatal to both. On May 23 of this year (the day before I wrote this), they were killed in the crash of the taxi in which they were riding. Riding in the back seat, according to reports, neither fastened their seat belts.

This was a terrible tragedy, and a great loss for the world. It was also possibly avoidable. Many people are alive today because they made the wise decision to buckle up before riding. That might have been the outcome had the Nashes made that choice.

This brings us, as a society, to a decision point, one which perhaps the Nash Equilibrium might help us to make correctly. It is this: should a federal law be passed, requiring people riding in the back seats of taxis, to wear seat belts?

That is what Joe Concha advocates at

http://www.mediaite.com/online/violent-death-of-john-and-alicia-nash-underscores-need-for-federal-law-mandating-rear-seat-restraints/

Many people will quickly agree with him. If the passage of a new federal law would save lives, then by all means, let’s do it right away. Who could possibly oppose such a law?

Oh. I could.

I always wear a seat belt when in a vehicle, and I always insist that all my passengers do also, front seat and back. Should they exercise their right to refuse, then I exercise my right not to start the engine. Such a dictator I am!

What I object to is not the wearing of the safety belt, but rather, the intrusion of the federal government. Those intrusions have, over the years, brought us to the point where disagreement with controversial government policies can cost one his livelihood, even when issues of safety are not at stake.

I happen to disagree with a law requiring Moslem bakers to bake cakes for same-sex weddings. Forgive me for clouding the issue, but if I say Christian instead of Moslem, the accusations of bigotry are instantaneous, whereas if I say Moslem bakers, then there is at least a moment of confusion and hesitation that at least delays the reflexive anti-Christian bigotry.

I also state, for the record, that Moslems who work in food establishments – and who refuse to handle pork – should be given the same protections afforded to Christians who work in pharmacies, and who wish not to dispense abortion-inducing drugs.

How we got from seatbelt freedoms to religious freedoms may seem convoluted, but the road of freedom does not twist and wind. It is straight and narrow. It is not the role of government to make good ideas mandatory. That’s what people are for. We decide for ourselves. It’s called liberty.

I’m not an absolutist on this. I recognize that there are necessary restrictions on our freedoms. Even those restrictions, however, should be the minimum necessary to bring about a compelling social need, and the greatest of all social needs is freedom itself.

Whereas seat belts are a good idea, making a law requiring their use is a bad idea, very bad. Making it a federal law is a terrible idea. There are other, less intrusive ways to encourage people to make wise decisions without imposing the threat of fines or perhaps even to impose jail time.

How about a federal law forbidding the passage of federal laws that unduly restrict personal freedoms to promote a good idea?

We will not go to war. War will come to us

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

Americans refuse to go to war, and with good reason.
 
Wars are deadly, tragic, and costly. The tragedy is on many levels. For example, I once worked closely over a long period of time with an adult orphan of war, where I learned that one of the most poignant heartbreaks of combat is the emptiness — which exists in the life of someone whose father died overseas while she was yet an infant. He never saw her. She never met him, never felt his loving embrace, never had any discussions with him.  Her only reference point for such things was to witness them in the lives of her childhood friends, whose fathers came home every day. In similar manner, hundreds of thousands of American children became unseen casualties of war.
 
The last time our nation went to war was in Afghanistan and Iraq . Or did we? We didn’t go.  We sent our young men instead, and even some of our daughters. We stayed home, enjoying the comfort and safety of a prosperous nation, while others suffered and died in our place. At home, there was no war. It had not come to us.
 
There was, however, a price. Thousands of Americans died, thousands came back permanently disabled. Many children will never know their father; many wives were widowed.
 
Shamefully, many more thousands of Americans — perhaps millions — have little or no knowledge of those overlapping, years long, wars. We spent blood and treasure in enormous amounts, but too many Americans are oblivious to that fact. Sadly, some do not even care.
 
It is good that we do not wish to go to war — but war will come to us. The enemy has a level of commitment we cannot fathom. They will arrive, and when they do, they intend to wreak as much havoc here, as they have in the villages of Iraq, where they have massacred thousands.
 
When war comes to America, what will it find? Will it find the fury and determination that the Japanese found in us, in 1941, when they brought war to us? Or will it find the complacency of an America that fawns over its sports heroes and rock stars, but knows little or nothing about the national heroes, our warriors, who kept us out of slavery?
 
Will war find America being led by such as a Winston Churchill, who promised “blood, toil, sweat and tears,” or by a Neville Chamberlain, who thought he could appease Hitler into peace? That appeasement only strengthened and emboldened the enemy. It made the war more costly, more painful, and more difficult to win.
 
In this dark, pre-war hour, we find that ours is a nation with weak leaders whose policies have continually failed. Yet these same leaders pompously assure us that we are safe and secure. We find a nation of college students— future leaders— who hold that same-sex marriage is a right, but who believe that personal self-defense should be criminalized.
 
Not all is bleak. There is some good news. There are still many Americans who see the danger that is rising, and who have the courage to stand for what is right, even when the price is high.
 
War will find us, both the weak and the strong alike. It will find those of us whose faith is in God, and those whose faith is in mammon. It will find those who uphold the Constitution, and those who trash it. It will find some of us standing to fight, and some hiding under beds, perhaps smoking a newly legalized intoxicant, unable to distinguish between good and evil.
 
Where will it find you?