John Doe: Property of the United States Government

January 2, 2011
Pose yourself this question: “who owns my body, me or the government?” You probably answered “me” correct? As stated in our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our very own Declaration of Independence states that by forming this new nation, its people are to be given the right to liberty, freedom, and independence. Unfortunately, with every page added to the national rule book, and every new regulation ratified, we begin to loose the freedom that our Founding Fathers strived so hard to achieve. It all comes down to free will, the question of who has the right to make your decisions, yourself or Big Brother?

Now don’t get me wrong, the people of the United States of America have among the most, if not the most free and independent lives in the world. However, with the expansion of our government, and the increased regulation that comes with it, we are beginning to loose that very freedom of which our nation was based on in the first place. Oxford English Dictionary defines freedom as, “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.” Following this definition, one would logically come to a great many conclusions regarding our freedom as Americans, far too many to include in this article. For the sake of brevity I will discuss the following, the legalization of recreational drugs, some examples of the insanity of our huge government, and the illegal sale of human organs.

If we as Americans own our bodies, how can the government simply say no to something that we as rational, thinking human beings should have the right to decide for ourselves? This is exactly what is happening with our current policy on drugs. The very basis of the War on Drugs is absurd. As free people, we should be allowed to decide what we will or will not do, even if others would choose differently. Please note that I am not encouraging the use of drugs, I have never had the need nor desire to use them, and I’ve never even seen a joint! But the fact that I wouldn’t use them is not an excuse to force my opinions on others. The government uses the excuse that even if they are not protecting the people that use them, they are still protecting the people that could be affected by their users. It is true that driving while under the influence would be just as, if not more dangerous than driving drunk. Therefore, drugs and alcohol should be regulated the same. It should be illegal to drive drunk or high. It should also be illegal for a minor to purchase drugs, on the basis that they are not yet mature. Even so, in all honesty it is not the drugs, but the laws against them cause the problems.

Anyone remember the Prohibition? Amendment 18 to our Constitution gave rise to an extremely lucrative trade. Prices of alcohol skyrocketed due to the very fact it was illegal, which allowed figures like Al Capone and Bill McCoy to come into play. These figures never would have existed if the Prohibition had simply not occurred. These people were hugely powerful, and were rich enough to bribe away government officials, not unlike what is happening today. How can state officials, namely police officers and judges, be expected to turn away from bribes worth more than what they make in a year? To outlaw drugs is ridiculous. According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Usage, at least 46 percent of Americans have tried drugs in their lifetime, and about 10 million are regular users. Proportionally, these numbers have stayed relatively flat even with the hugely increased spending on drug prevention. People will do what they wish, and that’s fine as long as they are not hurting innocent bystanders. It is time we stopped spending outrageous sums of money trying to restrict others free will.

Unfortunately, the government cannot help itself but increase regulation, insanely trying to make the world perfect. In the words of George Washington “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a handy servant and a fearful master.” He could not have been more right. Our government may have our best interests in mind, but too often those in power use that power to force their beliefs on others. For example, everyone has heard of loony laws, but have you ever thought about the reasoning behind them? In Denver, Colorado, it is unlawful to lend your vacuum cleaner to your next door neighbor. It is illegal for a pigeon to fly over Bellevue, Kentucky. These laws may be funny, but they do restrict freedom (even to pigeons), and it took someone to advocate for, and pass them. These laws will likely remain on the rule books forever, and more will just keep coming. I have no doubt that this is because absolute power truly does corrupt absolutely. When people are voted into office, they try to make the world perfect… their vision of perfect.

The purpose of our government as set by our Founding Fathers was to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” By promote the general welfare, the Founding Fathers certainly did not mean laws such as “It is illegal to drivel a camel on the highway” as dictated in Nevada. One of the most expensive and absurd examples of government officials forcing their views on the world is presented by John Stossel in “Are we scaring ourselves to death?” The story told of Aspen, Colorado, where after silver miners left town, they also left behind lead in the dirt. Lead is a dangerous poison, but left where it was it didn’t exactly pose a problem. The EPA said that the lead levels were, “a serious problem,” and that the children were in danger. The people of Aspen were all for getting rid of the danger, until they began to investigate. They realized that for years children had played in that same dirt, and that those children were now adults, healthy as could be. Finally, after three years of extensive testing and protests, the EPA finally removed Aspen from the Superfund list. Common sense seems to elude the government when they’re spending America’s tax dollars.

However, when it comes to this next regulation, it makes me sick to think that the government says it “promotes the general welfare.” On October 19, 1984, the National Organ Transplant Act was approved. This act completely outlawed the sale and purchase of human organs. It was a landslide too, the bill passed 396 to 6. But why? As of December 12, 2010, there are 72,600 active candidates waiting for an organ, and many of these people are in need of a kidney. While they wait for a stranger to die in a crash, or for a sympathetic friend or family member to donate, patients spend their days hooked up to a dialysis machine. Dialysis machines work, but not nearly as well as the organs nature has spent millions of years designing for us. According to Reason Magazine, on average 15 people die a day waiting for a transplant.

So why is organ sale outlawed? The Kidney Foundation says it’s because “the sale of bodies or body parts would undermine the fundamental values of our society. Payments would exploit the most vulnerable members of our society, with the degree of exploitation influenced by gender, ethnicity, and the social status of the vendor.” This is nonsense. Exploit the poor? There’s simply is no “exploit” to it. Everybody from the richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor has free will. Should someone poor choose to sell one of their two healthy kidneys, then it is their choice to make. They were not forced. And then there’s the “fundamental values of society.” Who are they to decide what the “fundamental values of our society” are? Maybe they’ll found the “National Department of Morality” next, a department that will simply tell us what’s right and wrong! Instead of the nonsense they feed us, the only reason organ sale is outlawed is because most people absolutely hate the idea. This is just another way our government is forcing their beliefs on us. This condescension, that the government can decide for us what is right and wrong is not only sickening, but its killing 15 people a day.

The government has far out stepped the bounds of what the Founding Fathers designed it to be. It was designed to be a helping hand, not an omnipotent master. Government is a good thing in limited amounts. It should give us the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This means that it should control only a select few things, including national defense, keeping us from hurting and killing one another, protecting the environment, monopoly busting, and little else. Promoting the general welfare means keeping us safe from external threats, not strangling us to death with senseless amounts of regulation. I like to compare government to water. Water is necessary for life, but in too much of it people drown. The government used to be this way, it regulated what it needed to, but for the most part it left us to ourselves. It gave us liberty, independence, and free will. This has changed. We now have two options, we either return to a limited government… or watch as our freedom is slowly whittled away.

Join the Discussion

This article has 15 comments. Post your own now!

Fredwardness said...
May 15, 2011 at 11:22 pm

You're a very intelligent person...very stubborn, too.


This a very good article...I mostly agree with it. But...seeing as you're stubborn...I see no reason to argue about it. Good job. :)

DreamsAreBroken replied...
Aug. 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm
I agree with this one hundered percent, I myself have said these things multiple times
tdnarb said...
Feb. 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm
Very libertarianish (if thats a word).  I agree that for the most part, legislation needs to be cut way down.  However, I disagree with you about drugs.  Drugs are harmful not only to the user, but to those the user affects.  A person on meth is willing to do anything to get his next high, including murder.  This is not ok.  In addition, drugs are what fuel the so called drug cartels in Mexico.  In order to stop this violence, we need to stop the demand for dru... (more »)
TheKing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Thanks td!  Yes, very libertarianish (don't think thats a word, but its right).




Drug Legalization has been successfully tested in Holland, Spain, Italy and Luxebourg.  Canada has been quietly legalizing drugs, and in all these places, people are less likely to do them.  In America, 38% of teenagers have smoked pot, as opposed to 20% in Holland.  The Dutch Prime Minister of Health is quoted as saying, "We've succeded in m... (more »)

tdnarb replied...
Feb. 22, 2011 at 6:50 pm
Amersterdam is not exactly the ideal city, but I get your point.  Maybe I'm letting my personal experiences get in the way.  My school has an extremely high drug rate and I have seen bad things happen as a result.  I just have a hard time believing legalizing something so destructive would help in the end.
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Jul. 10, 2011 at 10:18 pm

"Canada has been quietly legalizing drugs..."  What?!

No, I live in Canada and this is not true.  Methamphetamine, marijuana and cocaine are all still highly illegal here.  True, there is medical marijuana, but that is a definite exception and it's very hard to obtain.

Treefiddy said...
Jan. 17, 2011 at 9:10 am

"The rich would still have an advantage and that is ethicly wrong."

You become rich by providing goods and services more efficiently and/or more cheaply to a larger number of people. If you truely want to do the best thing to help your fellow man, use your skills and your occupations to sell to them. To entise your fellow man is hardly exploitation. Should you become rich in the process, it is the signal that you have provided essentially services to your fellow man which they need.more »)

Ryan W. said...
Jan. 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm
If you could buy organs what chance would the lower and middle class have in getting a transplant?
TheKing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 15, 2011 at 12:34 am
Supply and demand my friend, the reason organs are so expensive right now is the exact same reason drugs are so expensive... their sale is illegal. In the philippines, where sale is not illegal, men have sold one of their kidneys for as little as 1000$, a price the vast majority of people can afford. As for the dirt poor, I'm sure a charity could be founded to solve this.
Ryan W. replied...
Jan. 15, 2011 at 6:30 am
The rich would still have a advantage and that is ethicly wrong.
TheKing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 15, 2011 at 9:38 pm

No, that is life. The rich are rich because they worked for it, that or got extremely lucky. The rich have an advantage in nearly everything, they don't have to worry about food or shelter, they have better healthcare, why should this be any different? The world does not run on ethics, as much a you or I may want it too.


Besides, the simple fact of the mater is that if organ sale was legalized, more lives would be saved. Tell me, what's ethically wrong about that

Ryan W. replied...
Jan. 16, 2011 at 5:36 pm
more lives would not be saved, different lives would be saved. The rich do not have an advantage in healthcare. The poor cannot be denied medicine or any other kind of healthcare. To allow organ sales is to deny all poor the chance.
TheKing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 16, 2011 at 7:22 pm
On the first point, you are simply wrong, more lives would be saved. The simple fact of a market is that when a demand is created, someone will supply. 1000 dollars is a price nearly anyone can afford. And besides, organ doners will still be lost, by car crashes or some other accident. This can supply those who cannot afford
Treefiddy said...
Jan. 9, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I agree with the sentiment except you got one thing horribly wrong. You said that government gave us liberty, independence, and free will. If you read the Declaration of Independence, it says that man's rights come from God, and that they are unalienable and inherant to nature.

If man is to remain soverign in his own flesh, government must once again become innocuous. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."

<... (more »)
TheKing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I completely agree with you.  I meant that in very literal terms, since God cant come down and say "give these people liberty, independence and free will," what I meant was that government should on the most part leave its citizens alone.  But I did state later in the essay the purpose of government was to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty ... (more »)

Site Feedback