Freedom can be gained or lost in an instant, for example when a new type of government takes over a country as happened in America in 1781 when General Washington defeated the British army at Yorktown or in Russia in 1917 when Lenin defeated the Czar.

Freedom can be lost gradually as has been happening in America. You need a permit from the government to have a garage sale on your property. As illustrated in the so-called dystopian novel “1984” and as Edward Snowden revealed, government is listening to your phone calls. You can be fined for not wearing a seat belt or if you are under 21 and buy a drink with alcohol. You cannot make wine or beer for sale without government permission. Permission means you are’t free to act.

Government regulates the size of the holes in Swiss cheese. You cannot re-sell a concert ticket. Government controls the amount of water the toilets are allowed to use to flush away human waste. The police can force you to urinate in a cup. The police can withdraw blood. You cannot bet on a poker game inside your home. If you want to cut someone’s hair you need a license from the government.

In addition America has a government full of politicians, bureaucrats, and regulators, and a society full of statists, authoritarians, and busybodies, all of whom want to use the force of government to impose their values, hinder personal freedom, remake society in their own image, restrict economic activity, compel people to associate with people they may not want to associate with, and limit the size of soft drinks you can purchase at a convenience store.

Freedom means a lot more than deciding what kind of car to drive or where to drive it to. And now that you know how far into your life government has inserted itself you need to decide if you have enough freedom and what to do about it.

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