Sometimes it's the little things that can make you crazy. Those little innocuous events, that taken by themselves mean little, but when looked at in combination with a series of other "little" things, push that button that you don't like to have pushed. This is what happened to me yesterday.
I decided to go to Costco to get a carton of cigarettes. I am not advocating smoking here, it is just a fact that I am a smoker. When I went to go into the cage where they keep tobacco products, I was told that they now have to have somebody get them for me. Okay, no problem. The store associate, who's station is now cigarette runner, comes back with my carton and asks which register I am going to. If you've ever been in Costco, with their seemingly unending line of registers, usually backed up five to ten deep, this is not an easy decision to make. I said, "I don't know. I an going to have to go find what I think is the shortest line". I told here, "If you would hand me my cigarettes, I can find my checkout line just fine, but thanks for the customer service". She said I didn't understand. She has to walk them to the cashier personally. I cannot touch the carton until after I have paid for it. I asked if they had been getting a rash of theft, or had been caught selling to underage buyers. She then told me that a new Federal law had been put into effect stating what she had told me earlier, that I can't even touch the carton until paid for. Now some are going to say, "Well, you shouldn't be smoking anyway". I know that smoking is this generation's Scarlet Letter. I'm reminded constantly. Especially when a politician wants to or group wants to push some new legislation with money we don't have. One of the first things they want to fund it with is an increase in cigarette taxes (which just went up again recently). This also works well with alcohol, and the evil stuff we use to power industry - oil and gasoline.
If this were only an isolated intrusion into our way of life, it probably would not have bothered me. But this really bothered me. It is so easy to make life for our fellow citizens a little less comfortable. All the government and the media have to do is find something, anything that they can demonize, constantly pound it into news stories (actually opinion or propaganda pieces) until enough people are convinced that their belief on something is morally superior to the people on the other side of the issue. By doing this the media and the government can now start to control behavior. Think about it. When new laws and regulations are passed regarding smoking, most people (you may be one) just say, "Serves them right. They shouldn't smoke anyway. It's a nasty habit". Even things such as SUV's and Pickup trucks have been demonized. Most the time it is subtle. A headline that read, "SUV Jumps Curb, Kills 4". It's as if the SUV has a mind of its own. No mention of a driver falling asleep, swerving to miss another car, or anything else. You usually have to get to the last paragraph to find out that there even was a driver, unless the driver was drunk. Then the driver and SUV get equal billing. Meanwhile, people drive around in their Prius's and Smart Cars, convinced of their moral superiority in saving the planet. Never mind the fact that if a driver in one of those Smart Cars was to hit a child riding a Big Wheel, it would probably kill the guy in the Smart Car. The kid would be fine. If I were to hit one of those things in my Titan, I might not even realize it. I would probably think I'd hit a speed bump.
My point in all of this is that little by little, our lives are becoming more and more controlled by an out-of-control government. We may see something that doesn't seem right, but because it doesn't affect "Me", then we don't care about it. It may also be something relatively minor so we just go along with it. "After all, if that's the worst thing they do, I can live with that". The problem is, all of those little freedoms that we give up add up to a lot of freedom. And we gave them up willingly.