Where There Is Risk There Must Be Choice?
Where there is a risk there must be a choice?
Sorry but no. No. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
I am so frustrated by all the well-meaning activists and their signs emblazoned with that message.
What I do with my body has nothing to do with the degree of risk involved. What I do with my body is strictly my choice, period. This is not negotiable. I am a sovereign human being with natural rights no person or government may infringe.
And I would die defending those rights.
No, I’m not being sensational. I simply refuse to live as a slave and do not want that future for my husband, my son, or all the other people on the planet enduring this dystopian present.
This is a line I will not, and we must not, concede.
Have we forgotten what our founders declared in the Declaration of Independence? Those prescient, revolutionary masterminds proclaimed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” [Emphasis mine.]
Have we forgotten why they wrote those words and what they truly mean?
Those who came before us wrote these words because they endured firsthand the hardship, suffering, indignity, and torment attendant to a system of government devoid of basic human rights and self-determination. They wrote them as they understood that our rights derive from something larger than any human being or human source - not from government, a person, or any manmade construct.
We possess natural rights due to the very fact of being born human. Our rights come from the source of all things and therefore cannot be removed.
This notion is unique to the United States. No other country’s founding documents proclaim such a fundamental and profound concept as this, an ideal millions of Americans hold dear, even sacred.
Our founders understood all too well the primacy of the individual and the fundamental rights which accompany each individual.
They grasped that if I yield the power and authority over my body to another who can force me to undergo a medical procedure as long as it’s deemed safe, then I am not free and may be compelled to submit to all manner of bodily intrusions.
That many politicians, thought leaders, and even judges defend a utilitarian ethos does not make it moral, ethical, or constitutional.
It is never right to harm one individual in service to the greater good and violating one individual’s fundamental right to bodily autonomy cannot be construed as anything other than harm.
As enlightenment philosopher John Locke explained so well, a society consists of individuals and cannot take precedence over the individual without sacrificing itself. Indeed, the individual is everything. If the greater good takes priority over the individual, we are a faceless mass.
If the greater good rules, may I be forced to eat only food deemed healthy and appropriate by the government? Does that mean I may eat no red meat, no butter and eggs, no raw foods – all foods I consider nutrient-dense health foods but which government has wrongly denigrated for decades?
May I be forced to eat bugs and synthetic meat, GMO salmon, corn, or soy? Before you laugh, search it up for yourself – lately, articles about the wonders of bug-eating abound. Restaurants serving ants, locusts, mealworms, and more are popping up nationwide.
What if I have allergic reactions or sensitivities to foods? Who decides how severe my reaction must be? What if my research on GMOs concludes they are harmful? Must I submit simply because some bureaucrat or potentially vested individual says so?
Can the amount of sugar I eat be restricted? Sugar undermines the immune system after all, so wouldn’t that benefit the greater good? What about potato chips, alcohol, cookies, crackers, and chips, all of which undermine my health and vitality, and therefore that of my community?
May I be coerced to donate blood to help my neighbor in need? What about one of my kidneys? May I be forced to take antidepressants to boost my mood or ADHD meds so I am more productive? May I be required to have brain and other implants installed in my body to monitor my moods and bodily functions and assure compliance with my medical treatment? May I be obliged to carry a baby for a woman who desperately wants to be a mother but can’t bear her own children?
Where do I the individual end and where does my community begin? If I as an individual can be harmed in service to the greater good, is my society a moral and ethical community?
With respect to what is deemed safe, who decides this? Have we completely forgotten history and all the mistakes science and scientists have made ranging from Vioxx to thalidomide and opioids?
Science is not absolute - it shifts and advances constantly. We once believed it was wise to x-ray pregnant women’s pelvises, we once believed handwashing was nonsense, we once believed mercury was a useful medicine. Ignoring these lessons of history is pure folly.
Who decides what is healthy or what research is valid? Why should someone I don’t know, who knows nothing about me, who is not me, who may have ulterior profit, political, or social motives, have ANY voice in how I keep myself well, how I care for myself when ill, or how I use my body?
When did we all vote and decide that the good of the community trumps the value of the individual? Western civilization, the US in particular, was built on the foundational principle of individual rights and freedoms. The Nazis reminded us that utilitarianism, the misguided belief that individuals may be sacrificed in service to the many, is evil. How did we so profoundly lose our way in 75 years?
The greater good is a glorified slide into a dark and endless black hole. A black hole I cannot and will not abide.
My body and my choices in relation to my body are not conditional on anything. Period.
Love this well stated truth: “It is never right to harm one individual in service to the greater good and violating one individual’s fundamental right to bodily autonomy cannot be construed as anything other than harm.”
Thank you for the write up. It’s so important to think through the phrases that we bandy around, thinking we are helping a righteous cause. We may in fact be hurting the cause!
Well said Leslie,
Truths straight from the heart.