Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

April 13, 2012

In the House of Wood

You're not stupid

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Knoxville —  

I don't think you're too stupid to be able to make your own decisions. Nor did America's founders. It just seems today that we are all in the minority.

This week, I spent entirely too much time with the Board of Supervisors. That's nothing against them and the issues they discussed were necessary to discuss. However, it was during these meetings that I heard the term “regionalization” many times. This concerns me. 

The locals are not smart enough to be able to administer services to the people of their county on their own, it seems some at the state level believe, so everything needs to be collected from the counties and redistributed to the people of those counties as this new and improved think tank sees fit. 

Granted, there are probably counties in which this is true. They either do not have the resources or ability to elect competent people to lead and have created financial hardships for themselves or their residents. They need bailed out by more successful, financially prudent counties, such as Marion.

But that's not socialism. That's “being a good neighbor.” The problem is that when you do that, the successful counties suffer. Instead of bringing the others up, I think it is more likely that you will bring the better counties down to a subpar level of mediocrity. It will fail. 

The sad part is that this will not be a decision made by Boards of Supervisors, or even better, we the people. Those decisions will be made for us at the state or even the federal level, because, after all, if you don't hold an elected office or appointed position at those levels, you're an idiot (in their eyes). According to them, you're not capable of taking care of yourself or charting a course for your county, though you live there and know your neighbors. 

This constant erosion of freedom and liberty should not stand. It cannot if we want America to be the land of the free. 

The “regionalization” discussion is just the latest in a series of cases in which others are trying to erode your freedom of choice. 

• Iowa banned smoking in public, except for those government revenue-generating casinos.

• New York banned trans fats, because they're bad for you. 

• The federal government invests and loses billions in solar energy because it is “better” than using fossil fuels. They need to choose how your electricity is created for you to protect your environment, after all. That's the same reason there is no coal-fired plant being built near Marshalltown and why nuclear plants have to jump through hoop after bureaucratic hoop to get off the ground. 

• A school official took a little girl's lunch, prepared by her mother, away from her a couple months ago because the school deemed it unhealthy. They gave her chicken nuggets instead. 

• In Wednesday's Des Moines Register, it was reported that an outfit called Corporate Accountability International is asking Mercy Medical Center to force McDonald's from its lower level because McDonald's serves unhealthy food. Yes, I'll admit that it seems silly for a leading heart treatment center to have a McDonald's on site, but guess what? It's the hospital's choice to have it there. Just like it's the choice of the people who work at, or have other business at Mercy, to eat there. Nobody's forcing them. As someone who has spent too much time at Mercy the past couple years due to family health issues, I can say that I'm thankful it's there for a quick bite or beverage. 

The bottom line is that you are more than capable of being able to make the best decisions for you. Letting others have that kind of dominion over you, or even allowing local governments, such as counties, to become nothing more than instruments of an overreaching state or federal government is  not the American way. Beyond that, it is not in our nature to let others think for us. God gave us all a mind of our own and the free will to utilize it the best way we know how. 

That does not mean that we are perfect, nor will we ever be. If there is a path to perfection, it definitely does not take a left turn into the valley of dictatorship. 

Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.