April 11th, 2021


The other sort of 'pro-choice'

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published October 3, 2014

We tend to think of "pro choice" in terms of abortion rights, but being pro choice, in the literal sense of the phrase, really means having the freedom to choose. And whether it is the freedom to choose a school for your child or the freedom to choose to buy medical insurance or not, it should always be incumbent on the individual, not mandated by the federal government. A government mandate is not a freedom; it is in fact the opposite of a freedom.

Certainly freedom to choose is a good thing but like all freedoms it comes with a price. With the freedom of choice comes individual responsibility too, and one's freedom should never infringe on someone else's rights either.

I'm a big believer in free choice. Take eating for example, (I do every chance I get). There are lots of options open to you: You can eat at home. You can go to a fast food take-out place. You can go to a nice restaurant. You can choose from dozens of nice restaurants. If you happen to live in a big city there are probably hundreds to choose from. You have the freedom to eat anywhere you want --- up to a point.

You can't walk into a restaurant and be obnoxious, demanding, and obtrusive to the wait staff and customers. You shouldn't expect to walk into a particular restaurant and demand that the place cater to your personal taste, and your personal preferences regarding food, ambiance, and style. You deserve to be waited on in a timely manner and fed decently prepared edible food, sure, but that's about it. After that, if you don't like the restaurant, by all means, go eat somewhere else.

If you don't like the menu selections, eat somewhere else. If you don't like the music they play, or the way the waiters look, or the decor of the place, eat somewhere else. It's your right to eat anywhere you want and likewise, in my opinion, the owners of the restaurant have every right to operate a place of business any way they want, as long as they don't break any laws.

The same goes for your apartment or your rented house. If you're not happy with it, then move. Nobody is holding a gun on you. You have freedom of choice as to where you live. Don't like the people in the building? Then move! Don't like the ill treatment you get from the landlord? Move! Don't like where you are? Move out and find another place to live. That's all.

If you don't like your job, go find another job. If you get all the lousy assignments while others get the better projects and you are either unwilling or unable to figure out how to change that for yourself, if you moan and groan about how unfair the place is and how you are much better than the crumby work you've been given to do --- then quit! If you don't like the people you have to work with --- quit! Don't like your boss? Quit.

It shouldn't be up to your employer to accommodate to your likes and dislikes, it is his business and he should be able to run it the way he wishes. When you own a business then you can operate it your own way. But in a free country the business owner gets that call and if you can't work under those conditions, then use your freedom of choice and choose another place to work.

It's called taking personal responsibility for your life. In my world that's the way everything would work. The individual must learn how to accommodate to the world as it is, not the way he would like it to be to fit his own personal preferences. You want to dine at a fine, elegant restaurant? Dress for it. Don't walk in dressed for the food court at the county fair. If you can't bring yourself to do that, than eat at Subway. Your choice.

There are plenty of choices out there for just about anything. You can choose to look nice or you can choose to look like a slob. You can educate yourself, work hard, accomplish things and succeed or you can be a victim, collect government assistance, and blame the one percent. You can take responsibility for your actions or you can expect others to do it all for you.

There is a Yiddish word used to describe a special man (or woman). The word encompasses a whole philosophy of life. The word is "mentsh" and it means a human being in the moral and ethical sense; not just a person, but a person with worth and dignity, one who can be respected.

It's your choice. You can be a mentsh or you can be a mooch.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's also a Southern California-based freelance writer.