During a discussion the other day, a gun control advocate was making her case for banning assault weapons.

“Why does anybody need an assault weapon anyway?”

As I started thinking about it, I realized proponents of the government doing this or that often use the “need” argument to brush aside those who oppose government action.

Nobody “needs” an assault weapon, so we should have no problem with the government banning them.

Nobody “needs” to fly, so we shouldn’t complain about a TSA agent groping us in the airport. Just take the bus!

Rich people don’t “need” all that money, so they shouldn’t protest a tax increase.

If you don’t have anything to hide, you don’t “need” to worry about government searching or prying into your private life.

If you’re not a terrorist, you don’t “need” to worry about NDAA indefinite detention.

Here’s a question: who are you to determine what I need or don’t need?

In fact, we actually “need” very little. Most of what we pursue in life falls into the category of “want.” Each of us determines our own priorities and we order our lives in such a way as to obtain what we find most important. We call the most important things in our lives “needs.” But in truth, we don’t “need” most of it.  We want it. We will keep right on living without.

The right to order our own lives and determine our own “needs” lies at the very center of what it means to be free.

So, before you decide “need” constitutes a good criteria to determine what the government should ban, or what actions it should take, perhaps you should look around your own home and and examine your own life, and then consider how many of the things you value you actually “need.”

Mike Maharrey

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