Friday, February 19, 2016
Surrendering Our Freedom
At least fifteen times over the past 5 years I have made the point about the link between responsibility and freedom. In July of last year I wrote that experts often believe: “when people are not taking responsibility, the responsibility should be taken away from them.” Later that month I wrote: “We surrender our freedom for the convenience of not having to deal with [problems]. Many Americans are letting the government, marketing machines, politicians, advocacy groups, and celebrities do their thinking for them.”
Almost one year ago I wrote about health insurance: “in turning the responsibility of paying your doctor over to others results in having to follow their rules and sometimes fighting with insurance companies or Medicare to receive what you think is due.” Two years before that I warned of a coming of the “fat tax” on sugary drinks and other items.
Now I find out that I was only partially right. It’s not just government, marketing machines, politicians, advocacy groups, and celebrities. We must also add in schools.
I’m not just talking about high schools banning certain foods from vending machines and the cafeteria. According to the Newser website (with the story later picked up by major news agencies), one university in Oklahoma has been taking it a step further. As of this year, “freshmen and transfer students at Oklahoma's Oral Roberts University have been told that Fitbits are now mandatory—and failure to log at least 10,000 steps per day will affect their grades.” Previously, the university set physical fitness requirements for students requiring them to keep a journal to track their fitness points, but now they will use the “fitness-tracking device, which will send data directly to a university computer.” Data collected will be used as part of their grade in a health and fitness class. They claim the journal system was “inaccurate and time consuming.” Apparently no one is protesting about a right to privacy because this is for the students’ health and wellbeing.
From bans or taxes on soft drinks to automatic data collection at college, how far away are we from automatic locks on freezer display doors when someone deemed too large tries to buy ice cream at the grocery store? Whenever we don’t take responsibility for ourselves, there is no shortage of people ready to step in and make rules and restrictions for our own good. And as technology advances it just becomes easier.