I Don’t Care, It Doesn’t Affect Me

IRSAlmost a decade ago I received an e-mail from a relative asking me to sign a petition voicing opposition to an adult entertainment club slated to open in an industrial corridor not far from my home. The relative assumed, due to my unwavering Christian faith, that I would sign the petition in a heartbeat. I refused. I expected the subsequent questioning of my character but took the opportunity to educate, rather than react in defiance.

At the heart of the matter was an attempt by the city government to prevent this business from opening using zoning laws. As I see it, zoning laws themselves are an abridgment of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of private property rights. But that’s another topic for another day. The reason I refused to sign the petition was as follows:

The city government, along with the supporters of the petition, was attempting to prevent a legal business from opening through manipulation of zoning laws. Whether or not local residents like it,

a) the business was completely legal, and
b) industrial zoning allowed for it to be located where it was.

Manipulating zoning laws to deny this businessman the opportunity to operate a legal enterprise is completely outside the realm of liberty and freedom.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am not in favor of adult entertainment establishments. In fact, I loathe such dens of wickedness. But the solution is to either make such activity illegal across-the-board, or change the hearts and minds of American citizens so that there’s no longer a market for such filth. The solution is not to manipulate zoning laws to keep out businesses we don’t like. If they can zone out on adult establishment, they can also zone out a church, crisis pregnancy center, etc. And in fact, that’s already going on where I live.

It Doesn’t Affect Me

When I first explained my position, some agreed; others disagreed. But what I found most alarming was a common sentiment among those who disagreed: “I’m not worried about zoning laws because it doesn’t affect me.”

In other words, these individuals didn’t own their own businesses or belong to groups with any plan to relocate in the near future. Therefore, they didn’t much care about manipulation of the zoning laws because they believed their daily activities would never be affected. Unfortunately, this thinking is all too common in the United States.

There are plenty of people who have turned a deaf ear to the Benghazi scandal because it doesn’t affect them directly. There are far too many who have no concern about the IRS targeting conservative groups and Romney supporters during last year’s election cycle, because it didn’t affect their day-to-day routine.

On issue after issue that really matters, the majority of American eyes and ears are tuned out under the mistaken notion that what doesn’t affect them directly doesn’t affect them at all. Nothing could be further from the truth.

No One Lives on an Island

For generations we have cultivated a mindset of personal isolationism in America. What I mean by that is the attitude that I can live in my own little world and my actions will, in no way whatsoever, affect anyone else. Not only is this foolish thinking, it is dangerous thinking as well.

The truth is, none of us lives on an island. Everything we think, say and do poses some direct or indirect consequence to others. This is one of the basic laws of nature. So for Americans to believe they can turn a blind eye to certain things, under the mistaken notion such things don’t affect them, is abject foolishness.

For example, if you think the current IRS scandal doesn’t affect you, you’d better think again. The IRS has been given near absolute authority to enforce the Affordable Care Act from the standpoint of collections. In other words, the IRS will be able to punish any citizen who fails to acquire health insurance through threats, coercion, and punitive fines.

In case you weren’t aware, you and I will have to complete a healthcare form to be submitted with our tax returns beginning next year. That form will be asking all sorts of information allowing the IRS and other government agencies to peek into our private lives in ways we could never have imagined. If the IRS cannot be trusted to protect the constitutional rights of conservative groups and Romney supporters, can they be trusted to protect the rights of you and I?

I’ve used the IRS example here because it’s still fresh in our minds. But rest assured the problems do not begin, or end, with the IRS. They begin and end at the doorstep of every American citizen who chooses to believe it’s okay to turn a blind eye.

These things do affect us. Everything affects us one way or another. If we continue to hide our heads in the sand as we have done for the last several decades, there will be no saving this country. We are now at the point of critical mass. Are you ready to face reality, or are you still convinced it won’t affect you?

Sources:

FOX News – http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/your-world-cavuto/2013/05/15/romney-donor-claims-he-was-unfairly-targeted-irs
Daily Caller – http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/16/weinstein-what-about-the-other-potential-irs-scandals/
Americans for Tax Reform – http://www.atr.org/obamacare-taxpayers-must-report-personal-health-a7611

5 Replies to “I Don’t Care, It Doesn’t Affect Me”

  1. Rhonda

    Good article. The govt. is indeed slowly taking away our freedom. Wish people would wake up and realize that. But, we definitely need to be careful how we deal with issues as Christians. Those are some good thoughts you’ve brought to our attention. Thank you.

  2. cmc

    sounds more like you care about imposing mass will on individuals, no thanks they already have that system in every other country.

    • Matt

      CMC – Please explain yourself. All I have done is issued a call to my readers to pay attention to what is going on around them and make their decisions accordingly. I suggest no imposition of “mass will” as you state. I would suggest to you that what is now happening across the country is the very thing you fear; it is the very thing I am calling attention to.

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