Think You Live in a Free Society?

Introduction to Laurence M. Vance, The Free Society (Vance Publications, 2018), xii + 468 pgs., paperback, $19.95.

Most Americans think they live in a free society. They think that because they can find fifty varieties of salad dressing at the grocery store, choose from among a hundred types of wine at the liquor store, select a television channel from over 1,000 choices, download any movie or song they want from the Internet, and sit at home for hours playing the latest video game that they live in a free society. They are oblivious to the extent of government encroachment on their freedoms. They are complacent when it comes to government edicts. And they are ignorant as to what a free society really means.

Oh sure, Americans are free compared with the people of North Korea, Sudan, Myanmar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, but there are 190 other countries in the world. The truth is, Americans live in a relatively free society, not an absolutely free society. The American people are relatively free when compared with people in Thailand, Egypt, the Republic of the Congo, Turkmenistan, Cuba, Nepal, Vietnam, and Pakistan.

And on top of all that, Americans live in a nanny state. We have a government full of politicians, bureaucrats, and regulators, and a society full of statists, authoritarians, and busybodies, who all want to use the force of government to impose their values, hinder personal freedom, remake society in their own image, destroy personal and financial privacy, restrict economic activity, compel people to associate with people they may not want to associate with, define and enforce morality, tell you how to live your life, and limit the size of soft drinks you can purchase at a convenience store.

I much prefer a genuinely…

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