Don’t Force Your Crutch on Others

A few years ago, I was hiking down a trail in Colorado. Exploring trails — and off trails — is probably my favorite activity. After a few hours, I decided I needed to turn around and head back. It was past mid-afternoon, on my last day of vacation, and I needed to pack and get ready for the drive home.

I doubt I had walked even 100 feet when my natural klutziness struck and I twisted my ankle. Hard.

I was in agony, and the realization that I had miles to walk made it even worse. After I stopped hopping on one foot and finished expressing my immense discomfort, I resigned myself to the long walk ahead. I found a sturdy branch I could use as a crutch and started to hobble on down the trail. It took some effort, but I made it out before dark.

My ankle was swollen and discolored for a month. If not for the improvised crutch, my situation would have been worse.

Crutches were a good invention. Thousands of years after someone came up with the idea, they are still useful. Using a crutch may not be ideal, but it’s better than the alternative. It allows someone to get around when they might not otherwise be able to without crawling.

If you need a crutch, use one.

However, not everyone needs a crutch. It’s not nice to kick other people in the kneecap just because you want them to use a crutch. Nor would it be right to force others to pay for your crutch. It’s different if someone volunteers to provide a crutch when they see a person in need.

Government is a crutch. I don’t want or need it. I don’t want you to force me to use it, nor to hurt me so I feel as though I have no choice. I don’t want to be forced to pay for someone else’s government, nor do I think it’s nice when those who use this crutch go around whacking innocent people over the head with its laws “just because” they feel like it.

Plus, in every case today, there are better solutions. You could fix the problem so no crutch is necessary. When the underlying problem can’t be permanently fixed, there are still better tools to use.

Even if I need a crutch — or a government — I have no right to force one on you against your will. Why would anyone do something so antisocial?

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Kent McManigal

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