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by Joseph Branco


June 01, 2004

Kody, I m so proud of you for finally responding to my letter. No doubt you had to think about it for a few weeks and craft exactly what you wanted to say. I have so much to share. Unfortunately, I have the strange new requirement on my letters to be positive; I have a professional job that, even when writing a personal letter, demands that I hold true to the core values and mission of my organization.

So here it goes: I love America. I grew up for the first 18 years of my life on military bases (my father was in the United States Navy). I remember waving to my father s ship, as it would pull out of port when I was young. My family was and still remains the most patriotic family I have ever met. I play baseball, eat apple pie, and love fireworks on the fourth of July. I still stop dead in my tracks with pride when I see a bald eagle. I believe that Reagan was the best President we ever had. It is funny to hear you speak of libertarianism as though it is so far from my beliefs it is not. I believe in a free market. Adam Smith talked about the invisible hand in the free market explaining that when people make decisions to improve themselves, the community prospers as well. I believe that too. The desire and ability to make our own way , is what makes America worth fighting for. Businesses and farms should operate without govt. subsidies. People are better off with free trade than with tariffs. Minimum wage laws cause unemployment. Repeal them. All foreign aid should be privately funded.

I believe people should pay for their own life s choices. This is where I begin to draw the line between what should or should not be a freedom. The topic we have been arguing about, the smoke free workplace debate is probably the only issue I find myself at odds with libertarian thought. I simply believe that is imposes on the right to breathe. In the privately owned business, many regulations (for better or worse) exist. You may not agree with them, but a legislative body elected by the people has passed them. Maybe you think that some of these passed laws are bogus and infringe on the freedoms that libertarians believe should be preserved. However, if you are not willing to draw a line on what should or should not be a freedom, you are truly an anarchist. But it is drawing this line that defines who we are politically. I do not wish to pay another dollar towards people who get sick and go on Medicaid/Medicare from smoking a health issue that is entirely preventable.

We could both go on forever on this I m sure. One thing that troubles me in this town is this (and this may or may not have anything to do with you): I have a son. By your letter I am assuming you do not have children yet? I am frustrated by the mixed messages we send our children in Ketchikan. On one hand, we teach them about the dangers of smoking and the slavery of tobacco addiction. On the other hand, certain groups in Ketchikan use smoking as their symbol of freedom.

Have a wonderful summer. It was delightful debating what you consider a moot point. Ask yourself: Where do I draw the line between what is or what is not freedom? Does your answer only suit your specific interests, or the interests of our great nation?


Joseph Branco
Ketchikan, AK - USA



Related Viewpoint:

"Beating a dead horse" or "arguing a moot point" by Kody Ansharr - Ketchikan, AK - USA



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