Imagine a world where people are told what to eat, what to drink, how to enjoy themselves, and how to behave in general. If they don’t do as they’re told, they’re vilified, fined, harassed, made to feel guilty, fired from their jobs, or even imprisoned. Ever expanding government ministries, acting for "the public good," issue ever increasing and constantly changing decrees concerning acceptable lifestyles. They ceaselessly pour billions of dollars into the funnels of an army of bureaucrats, "public policy" experts, "healthy living" researchers, and "public education campaigns." These "servants of the public" in turn torture dubious statistics into scientific studies asking for still more funding, in order to combat the "growing epidemic of [insert issue of choice: obesity, smoking, alcohol use, sedentary lifestyles, junk food, sports injuries, etc]." Politicians, pharmaceutical corporations, insurance companies, and manufacturers of various safety gear and devices all jump on the bandwagon to demand even more public funding and legislation, for "the good of all." Government at the municipal, provincial/state and federal level issues more and more bans, restrictions, and protocols, to the point that no single person can even know all the rules they must abide by. The state decides what is good for its flock, and the pet peeves of politicians and bureaucrats become tomorrow’s bans. In the end, respect of individuals and their preferences or choices is forgotten, replaced by the notion that the common person is an infant that should not be trusted to make the "right" choices. The principle that a person is sovereign over their own mind and body is lost, and most of society thinks that this is a good idea, for "health and safety reasons." The healthy slaves trudge on, and those who quibble with the new order are labeled "libertarian", "anarchist", or just plain deviant.
If you’ve seen signs that we’re well on our way towards this nightmare futuristic scenario, or that this future is already upon us, you’re not alone. The problem is not some kind of conspiracy, it’s just the natural result of vesting so much political and economic power into the hands of entities that want to make people’s choices for them – bureaucrats, politicians, and corporations. Unless average people with no financial and political agenda (other than protecting their own dignity and freedom) organize to resist this "nanny-state" trend, it will continue unchecked.
C.A.G.E. (Citizens Against Government Encroachment) is about average people organizing together to cry out "enough!" Our vision of the future is a much brighter one: We envision a world where the dignity, sovereignty, and liberty of individuals are treated with the utmost respect. Elected governments focus on what they were elected for – building and maintaining common infrastructure (roads, electricity, water supply, and similar things), public security (policing our streets against those who would harm others, mainly), protecting the natural environment (something that belongs to all of society), promoting education and an informed citizenry, and fostering a social context in which commerce and productive employment can thrive. Government refrains from getting involved in people’s personal choices and lifestyles, except to protect those that would otherwise be unwillingly harmed by someone else’s behavior. This limited focus on truly public priorities allows the state to accomplish a great many more worthy objectives. By remaining small and uninvolved in individuals’ personal lives, government also refrains from heavily taxing society, thereby allowing people to pursue more of their own preferences and dreams with their hard-earned money. Respecting individuals likewise teaches people to remain informed and responsible for their own choices and the consequences of those choices. The average person remains keenly aware that only by being free to make the "bad" choices can they be free in any meaningful way. Solely responsible for themselves, however, most people make healthy and productive choices in their lives. Those who do not make wise choices at least remain certain that there is no one else to blame, or sue, for their condition.
Some more specific examples of what such a future society could look like might include: 1) Although drugs are legal, only a small minority of people use them (around the same number of people who used them when they were illegal). Taxes are collected from the sale of drugs just like with other products, and with the proceeds of drug sales taken out of the hands of illegal gangs, thugs, and cartels, criminality rates drop. Since drug users are no longer criminalized, they typically remain productive members of society, people who don’t need to resort to crime to get a large amount of money to support an expensive and illicit habit; 2) Although driving while under the influence of alcohol remains a crime (due to the high likelihood of harming someone else), bars may offer free drinks, happy hours or opening and closing times as they see fit; 3) Public debates and legislation about smoking bans in bars and restaurants no longer divide people or waste public resources, as the new consensus becomes that establishment owners can decide the smoking policies for their businesses, and clients and employees remain free to choose which establishments to seek out; 4) Fewer lobby groups emerge to pressure government to adopt legislation on a range of issues, since things like the decision to wear a helmet while cycling or how to raise one’s children remain out of governments’ agenda; and 5) A government with a smaller agenda has the energy, time and funds to better maintain public security (more police officers focusing on a more narrow list of issues), enforce rules to protect the environment (more inspectors to make sure large corporations are not dumping toxic substances into the ground or rivers), and reduce poverty. These are just a few examples of what could be, if enough people come to share C.A.G.E.’s vision and speak up about it. We hope you’ll join us in fighting for a better future.