Where is your hypocrisy line?

Like many things in life, liberty is a simple idea that becomes much more complex when put into practice. The freedom to do as you see fit without encumbrance from others sounds awesome and many gladly proclaim themselves to be all for individual rights and smaller government.

However... those champions of freedom sometimes falter when they see someone else doing something that offends or frightens them. And those clamoring for reduced government regulation backpedal defensively when you bring up the prospect of reduced government benefit.

"Hypocrisy" is a harsh word but it's also part of the human condition. How can we expect others to respect our freedom to make our own decisions if we don't extend the same right to them? We all - all of us - suffer from it to one extent or another. So, the day before Election Day, I'd like to invite you to join me in a little introspection.

Where is your hypocrisy point?

At what point do you mutter, "There ought to be a law against that?" What do you need to witness before asking for government to force your will or values on others? What threat is great enough for you to exchange your - and others' - privacy for some perception of security? When is it okay for government to take from someone else without their consent in order to make your life easier? When should your neighbor be deprived of their earnings to support someone you think "deserves help," even if that neighbor might not agree? When should they be deprived of their freedom, even if their actions harm no one but possibly themselves?

Think about the most egregious cases, according to your values. Using racial or ethnic slurs? Refusing to serve someone because of the color of their skin or their religion? Allowing gay marriage, or refusing to provide service for a gay wedding? Openly carrying a firearm or refusing to do business with opponents of gun control? Intelligence services collecting data on and from domestic citizens without consent or cause? Simpler things like medicare and medicaid payments, or the way your neighbor tends their lawn or stores their trash? Choosing to smoke pot or not wearing a seat belt? Speeding? Playing loud music at night? Distilling their own alcohol?

Being honest with yourself, where is your line? Where do you start to think it's okay to force another to change or comply? And can you move that line - not approving of what offends you but tolerating it - to ensure greater liberty for all?