Evelyn Pyburn

We are over the top, ridiculous, when freedom is so far lost that people are turned out into the cold to freeze in order to defend bureaucrats’ regulatory turf. That’s what happened in Montana when in the depth of winter, churches wanting to provide a warm place for homeless families were thwarted by fat and happy, taxpayer-kept code enforcers, because the churches did not meet fire codes.

It’s a case in which some people believe that their rules and their power are more important than human life. This incident, which required an act of the state legislature in order to instill some common sense, is actually a clear and stark example of what really stands in the way of things like affordable housing, as well as many other aspects of a free society.

Life is about risks and making choices in dealing with risk. It’s apparent that some people are pursuing the impossible – to remove all risk – not understanding that to remove risk is to remove life.  Such it is,  to insist that people endure sub-zero cold on a winter’s night just in case a church might burn down. It is to make pursuit of perfection a higher priority than human life. It is to conclude that the “ideal” square footage of a house is more important than actually sheltering human life.

To go on …. it is to eschew cheap and abundant energy in a quest to eliminate potential risk for future life, even if it means the death of current life. It is to conclude that the hypothetical rescue of a planet is more important than the people who live on it. Pursuit of such a value is not to know that a planet or any inanimate object does not hold values… life is required for values to exist. Sustaining life is the sole purpose of values. So how is one to explain the purpose of pursuing a “value” that destroys life?

Of course there is a benefit in reducing the likelihood of fire in a church or to make sure that a house is built as soundly as possible – -but not when the church stands empty because the people it was intended to serve froze to death, or that a house is not built because no one can afford to build it. It is profoundly true, as is being claimed, that there is a shortage of affordable housing because of regulations. There is no doubt that a free market would generate housing in unbelievable abundance if the market were only allowed to do so – if regulations didn’t stop people from building homes.

One of the beauties of a free – UNREGULATED – market is that it quickly and accurately balances risks and benefits – on multiple levels all at the same time – which then advances the ability of human beings to improve upon a situation, whether it’s coming in from the cold or creating more wealth (ie. wellbeing). Or to strive for those things with greater benefits and less risk in a manner of their choosing. Living and serving life is a fluid process not rigid mandates. Choosing what risks one wants to assume is a personal decision – one that requires the freedom to do so.

This is not a new idea.


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