Advocating for Knowledge and Freedom of Choice

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As we know, 2012 was not the end of the world. But there are those who believe the year was meant to be a turning point in the collective human conscience. A re-awaking, so to speak; an enlightenment. It certainly was an awaking year for me. Some say that awakening had already started before 2012, and clearly that is true, but is it just me or was there something different about 2012? Like it was a catalyst for getting so many people motivated to be more active participants in society, in human rights, and in life in general. I also believe that there was, is, and will continue to be, a great deal of opposition to this enlightenment.

We’ve lost so much of our precious traditional wisdom over the last 100 years. Just for example, the United States as a whole does not know how to eat well or live simply. People have become so complacent in politics that they don’t even realize they are being robbed of freedoms at every turn. The public school system is problematic, yet many parents are unaware of how bad it’s become. People go about, being concerned with their own lives, not noticing how things are operating on a large scale. Living in blissful (or perhaps not so blissful) ignorance.

And yet, small groups are popping up all over who are ready to fight for their rights and are determined to spread truth and knowledge and inspire others to become proactive in the well-being of themselves, their family, and society as a whole. It’s very reassuring to me to see these groups of people standing up for what they believe is right. Like the parents who want meaningful schooling for their children. Like the small farmers committed to growing nourishing food and the people who support them. Like the medical doctor who is willing to go against the grain and get patients healthy with nutrition and alternative therapies instead of only relying on drugs that offer limited help. People like my stepdad who encourage young people to get educated and participate in politics. Anyone and everyone that believes in the power of knowledge and the value of free choice.

Everywhere I am seeing these valiant people doing seemingly noble things that should really be ordinary and commonplace in our world. Then there are those who will fight tooth and nail to be sure that these proponents of knowledge and freedom are hacked down to the ground. They do this sometimes for money, sometimes for power, and sometimes in the name of “protecting” the people. It’s that last one that is particularly beguiling. People are often fooled into giving up their rights in the name of safety. Sometimes people aren’t even given the choice–these rights are taken away right from under us, and we may not even know it until we accidentally do something that is absurdly illegal. Like having a lemonade stand. Or buying raw milk. Or breastfeeding at a public school. Or trying to homeschool your kids. Or having a midwife attended homebirth. Okay, so some of these things we wouldn’t “accidentally” do illegally, but we might be pretty shocked that such good and wholesome things are banned where we live (thankfully none of these are illegal where I live, or else I might be an outlaw).
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How do we protect ourselves in this kind of environment? The first step is to arm ourselves with knowledge. Thankfully, there are people working hard against the opposition to restore important traditional wisdom to the earth. But I find that even among the activists, one can still find adversaries of freedom and knowledge. They are too concerned about their own agenda, even if it is a worthy one, that they forget how important knowledge and choice are.

Remember the push to ban large sodas in New York City restaurants? That is but one example of how people’s rights are taken away in the name of “protecting” the people. Likewise, lemonade stands, raw milk sales, and homebirths are banned in the name of protection. There may be no doubt that soda is harmful to health, but I personally want my right to do things I believe are healthful, and how can I demand that right if I don’t allow others to choose for themselves as well? Citizens, apparently, are thought to be too dumb to make decisions for themselves.

I have a personal experience, too. Several months ago, I became quite perturbed when I tried to share what I thought was important and helpful breastfeeding information on a certain breastfeeding Facebook page, and it was not well-received by the page admin. The admin thought that the information–which I found empowering–would be too overwhelming for some mothers and she thought it might actually turn them away from breastfeeding (which I thought was crazy).  Too often, those in positions of authority feel the need to dumb things down, to over-simplify, to exclude information or even take rights away from people to keep them from making a bad decision. It’s herding them “safely” down the path they want them to go, instead of letting them choose for themselves.

When someone wants to hide information from you, that’s a red flag that they may be trying to control you.

This is only one little incident, but things like this happen on a much grander scale. I don’t believe there are so many evil people out there, but I do believe that people get caught up in agendas, that they get confused by misinformation, and that they themselves are tricked into believing that taking rights away from people is for the greater good. We cannot afford to be complacent. Everyone must enlighten themselves. I really do hope the tides are turning, and that more and more people will do just that.

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