After a slightly heated debate on a discussion group I am on, I am left with one question: Who decides what is in the best interest of "the people"? From the messages I read, I am surprised there are still people out there that feel the government is acting in the best interests of "the people" (and this was on a survivalists discussion group!).

The debate began about smoking (which is ALWAYS a hot-button issue) being banned on most public beaches in Southern California. There have always been strong feelings on both sides of the smoking issue, but this should never have been an issue of smoking. The true issue behind the ban is the government deciding they know what is best for all.

The government, through all of these laws focused on one group or the other, is slowly setting the stage to take away the rights of more and more people. Since they are taking away rights slowly, very few are paying attention to how many rights have been taken away from individuals over the years. The on-line debate started with smokers (anything we can do to protect the children, we should do), then led to fast food, where the suggestion was made that banning all fast food would be a good idea. Excuse me?

Don't you see what is happening? With each one of these laws, your rights are being eroded (whether they apply directly to you or not). Your threshold is being lowered, so you will accept more invasive laws. Soon, there will be very few aspects of your life that you will truly be able to make your own decisions.

How about all Internet providers limiting time on-line to 2 hours per day, per person, because people should be out exercising instead of sitting at the computer. Oh, but people can't exercise outside for great lengths of time due to pollution, so let's ban driving during the hours of 8 AM to 5 PM. That way, all those people who should have left their desk to exercise can breathe cleaner air. Recently, "evidence" has shown that decomposing fecal matter from cows has contributed to the smog problem in the Central Valley of California. So, let's ban all dairies. That way we can all breathe cleaner air, but will end up paying $7 per gallon for milk, or $8 per pound for butter. Well, butter isn't good for you either, and you feed that to your children, so let's ban butter. Better yet, let's do away with all dairy products, since some people still choose to drink whole milk.

We all know that children cannot properly take care of themselves, and there must be evidence out there that shows the majority of parents do not know how to properly raise their children. So, let's remove all children from their parents' homes and raise them properly. Better yet, only allow those that have been properly screened for mental and physical (including genetic) defects to give birth, then the powers that be (who are the only ones who know what is proper) can raise healthy productive members of society. Hey! If we do that, there will be less health care costs, because most genetic abnormalities will have been eliminated prior to conception!

I am dismayed with the attitudes shown by some of the people on that survivalist discussion group. This has shown me that, unless some major change happens, we could headed the way of the swastika or the hammer-and-sickle and "the people" will go right along with it.