Monday, August 13, 2007

What Do These Things Have in Common? Choice.

Here is my list of modern movements:

Give up?

All of these things used to be normal:

Now, we talk about "natural" childbirth, when that used to be all there was, and midwifery is regulated or even prohibited in some states.
Now, we have La Leche League to teach mothers how to breastfeed, when they used to see their own mother, aunt, cousin or sister breastfeeding.
Now, we call it "organic" food, and even that's regulated.
Now, we call it home education, homeschooling, choice in education.

Are our collective memories so short? I am sure there are many other examples of beneficial activities and normal practices that used to be taken for granted, which were the common way of doing things. Are they now gone, or are they trying to make a come-back, and must be re-labeled so as not to confuse us with what has so quickly replaced them. I am not a Luddite, I'm not against progress, advances in medicine, technology and other fields. I am glad I live now, not 200 or 500 years ago. However, I do find it curious to see the similarities among the "movements" listed above.

I think that much of it comes down to personal choice and responsibility. These have been taken away from us, from underneath our noses, with many cheering as it happened, not recognizing what was being lost. So many people just don't want to be responsible for making informed choices. They're happy to let the government do their thinking for them. It's easier that way.
  • You can't choose to have a natural home birth in some states. [I had a hospital birth with all the drugs they'd give me, by way of disclosure, but I support every woman's choice in this matter.]
  • You can't choose to breastfeed your child in public without risking being kicked out of restaurants or stores, or being rudely stared at, or receiving unwelcome comments. Although Hathor has other thoughts.
  • You can't choose what you want to eat, because farmers can't sell naturally grown produce and other farm products and call it "organic." Not without paying lots of money to be properly registered, so there are fewer choices available to us (ok, you can buy it if you can find it, but it hurts the farmer if they want the organic label which would benefit them in some ways)--you can't even sell raw milk in many states, regardless of your willingness to pay fees or be registered. But funny how nobody's stopping you from eating mud. Yet.
  • You can't choose the education you want for your child, in many states, without jumping through hoops. (I wonder who taught, tested and certified George Washington to become a land surveyor by the age of 17.)
So what other choices are we allowing our government to take away from us? What other activities and endeavors are becoming illegal or difficult to continue, in the name of progress? Ones which harm nobody. I thought this was a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." Lincoln thought so. Some people still think it is. But maybe that's just my opinion.

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Dana said...

I fully agree with you! I must say I have never had a problem with the breats feeding, however. I read stuff that is rather shocking, but I never have experienced so much as a rude look. Yeah! I don't deal well with that sort of thing. I'd probably burst into tears.

Silvia said...

I never did either. I must have a look that says "Don't even think about it!" :) I don't get rude or nosy questions about homeschooling either. I must project an "aura" or something. LOL

Renae said...

Thank you for pointing out the obvious in such an interesting way. Isn't it funny that we scream for more choices yet let government make some of the most important ones for us?

Laura said...

You go grrrl, this was a great post! I, too, admit I haven't gotten much flack for making these sorts of choices, but I attribute it to living in the midwest where everyone is too nice to say anything. Or as my friend from out east would say, where no one says what they mean or means what they say. :)

Callista said...

Great post! Breastfeeding in public is legal here (Ontario, Canada) although that doesn't mean you won't be stared at or bugged, just that if you raise a fuss, they can't throw you out and if they do, you can sue) As for homeschooling, it's illegal in Germany!