Walter E. Williams
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"Live Free or Die" is the title of author and columnist Mark Steyn's speech at Hillsdale College, reproduced in Imprimis (April 2009), a Hillsdale publication that's free for the asking. Canadian born, now living in New Hampshire, Steyn has had firsthand experience with socialist tyranny in his home country that is rapidly becoming a part of America. Commenting on one of his run-ins with Canada's human rights commissions, Steyn points how it might seem bizarre to find the progressive left making common cause with radical Islam. One half of that alliance is pro-gay, pro-feminist secularists and the other half is homophobic, misogynist theocrats. Steyn argues what they have in common overrides their differences, namely, "Both the secular Big Government progressives and the political Islam recoil from the concept of the citizen, of the free individual entrusted to operate within his own societal space, assume his responsibilities, and exploit his potential."

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I doubt whether there are many Americans who think Congress has either the right or competency to choose where they live, what clothes they wear or what cars they drive. Yet many Americans stand ready to allow Congress to decide what doctors they go to and what treatments they receive. We forget that once we have government-sponsored health care, it can be used to justify almost any restraint on liberty. That's the justification behind helmet and seatbelt laws. Britain is well along the road toward totally controlling health care. Steyn says, "Under Britain's National Health Service, for example, smokers in Manchester have been denied treatment for heart disease, and the obese in Suffolk are refused hip and knee replacements. Patricia Hewitt, the British Health Secretary, says that it's appropriate to decline treatment on the basis of 'lifestyle choices.'" Steyn adds, "Smokers and the obese may look at their gay neighbor having unprotected sex with multiple partners, and wonder why his 'lifestyle choices' get a pass while theirs don't. But that's the point: Tyranny is always whimsical."

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Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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