Americans' affirmation of the "right to choose" is a feature of our national identity. No matter where you go or what you're doing, chances are you are confronted with a plethora of choices. Go to the supermarket and you are confronted with a dizzying array of options for each and every product you wish to buy. Seventeen brands of Greek style yogurt. Forty-five flavors of coffee creamer. Thirty-seven different kinds of peanut butter. The same may be said of cell phone carriers, automobiles, clothing brands... you name it.
The freedom of "choice" also figures prominently in the political realm, and is generally associated with the liberal or Democratic side of the aisle. Republicans are often painted as cantankerous old curmudgeons who cling blindly to guns, religion, and "the way things used to be done." Their rigidity, we are told, often comes at the expense of "choice." When the rhetoric is peeled away and the issues scrutinized, however, it turns out that conservatives are actually the true champions of choice while liberals tend to oppose it, unless of course the choice in question is the choice to kill your unborn child.
Last week America tuned in as swarms of Union workers stormed the Michigan state capitol to protest the passage of landmark "right to work" legislation. Reporters were punched and threats of "blood in the streets" were levied by union representatives outraged by the notion that free individuals should have the right to choose whether or not to join a union. You see, unions and their Democratic cohorts in the House and Senate (and the White House, for that matter) don't support that kind of choice. They believe that when it comes to your work and your money, the government and their favored allies should call the shots. They think you should only have a right to work if you first pay your dues to Big Labor, which in turn lines the coffers of Big Government in the form of generous campaign contributions.