Personal liberty

from: Oxsan

“The liberty of the individual, which is rightfully one of the proudest possessions of the American people. Is largely a freedom from arbitrary action by those possessed of the power of government”---City of St Paul vs Morris, 258, Minn. 467 104 N.W. 2d 902, Minnesota Supreme Court, July 22, 1960

Over the past fifty years there has been an unprecedented erosion of personal liberty in the US. We have literally lost many facets of the personal liberty that we possessed before World War II. Most people will not recognize this fact because they are not old enough to remember when the liberties they have lost were exercised. The odd thing about this is that nearly all of these lost liberties were lost because some government official, board, panel or agency determined that we needed “protection” from ourselves and from our irresponsible actions. In the days when we could exercise these freedoms there was a general assumption by society and by the law that adult humans could exercise judgment and were responsible for their own welfare. Sometime about 1960 or so the government and society began to think that it was necessary for the government to do our thinking for us, and so they started to enact one regulation, law or ruling after another.

Below I have listed just a few of the liberties, choices, options, freedoms, and rights that we use to have in my memory and that have been taken away from us in the name of saving us from ourselves mostly.

Anyone could walk into a pharmacy or drug store and buy potassium cyanide, arsenic or any other poison you might need without prescription or without even signing that you had bought it.

Anyone could buy opium, morphine or cocaine at the pharmacy without prescription or permit – opium in the form of paregoric that is camphorated tincture of opium, morphine, in the form of Auralgan, which is tincture of morphine, and cocaine in various codeine forms.

You could ride a bicycle or motorcycle anywhere without a helmet or other safety equipment.

One could ride in a car without a seat belt or an airbag. As a child I could ride in any seat in the car, or on the fender, or on the running board.

I could attend as a child any movie if I had the twelve cents admission (Sat. matinee). There was no G, PG, R or X rating system.

Any pet was permissible in the city or any number of pets of any kind as long as they did not damage the neighbors or their property.

Insurance was not required on vehicles of any kind.

Safety inspection was not required on vehicles.

Zoning restrictions and deed covenants were almost unknown until the 1960s. If you owned a piece of property you owned it as my father said “From Heaven to Hell” and could do anything you wanted to with it.

Ownership of any kind of gun was permissible, after all it is a constitutionally protected right. Most of the farmers and ranchers in the area where I grew up carried two rifles in a rack in the rear window of their trucks. Useful for varmints both two legged and four legged. It was perfectly all right to transport these guns from state to state.

Farmers could plant any crops on their land that they wished. They did not have to have a government “allotment”.

No license was required for a dog and no shots.

There was no such thing as a credit check for most citizens. One might ask around to see if the person had a good reputation, but there were no credit rating agencies.

Everyone wanted indoor plumbing but it was not a law that you had to have it. Now it is illegal in most areas to have a privy or a septic tank.

Building permits to construct residences were unheard of until about 1955. If you wanted a house you just built it.

There were no “neighborhood integrity” boards. If you wanted to erect a fence, let the weeds grow or repair the car on your front porch that was between you and your neighbors, but it wasn’t against the law.

You could buy dynamite, Primacord, and other construction explosives at most any hardware store and some lumberyards.

Fireworks in town? Sure, why not?

No one could attach my homestead, my car (the law says “horse” but it means car or so the courts say) or the tools of my trade for debt.

Milk, you got from your neighbor or from your own cow, and no inspection, pasteurization, or homogenization were required by law as they are now.

We normally swam in creeks or lakes with no chlorine in the water and with no lifeguards. It was just us and the water moccasins.

No matter what crime I committed the government could not seize my private property unless they had a lien on the property prior to the crime.

There were no parking meters.

Drinking water was usually from a well and there was no government inspection, treatment or certification of the water.

There was no taxation on gasoline. As a result gasoline was 13 cents per gallon.

No one could tap my phone without a Federal Court order.

No one could garnish my wages.

Now those are just the things that I can jot down off the top of my head. There are thousands and thousands more. Can you name a few?

I suppose that you think that I grew up in this very dangerous period and that I am probably a hopeless physical wreck. Please be informed that I have never broken a bone, have never been in a car wreck, have never been seriously ill (except for the malaria I got in Bangui, Central Africa),until I was well into my seventies and that I intend to live to 104 and be shot by a jealous husband---maybe 105.

Love Dad,granpa,ami



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