Dear Editor:

I almost started to cheer when I saw Joe Phalon’s column (Phalon’s File) in the March 13 issue of the Suburban Trends regarding Mayor Bloomberg’s latest attempt to micromanage the lives of New Yorkers by banning large-sized soft drinks.

Sadly, Mr. Phalon’s commentary also included a snide comment regarding those who are concerned about the steady erosion of liberty here in America by making reference to the "paranoia of the tinfoil hat crowd."

I’ve attended many meetings, conferences, conventions and rallies of pro-liberty, pro-constitution and pro-historical truth groups for over 30 years and have yet to see anyone running around with a tinfoil hat on their head! Why is it that anyone who takes a consistent stand in defense of individual liberty gets made fun of by people like Joe Phalon or "comedians" like Bill Maher on HBO?

Mr. Phalon seems to show his true views later on in that column when he endorses Bloomberg’s other proposals down through the years such as smoking bans and more gun laws. Mr. Phalon has described himself as a liberal in past articles he has written, but a true liberal in the historic definition of the term would be an advocate of individual freedom of choice and strictly limited government – essentially a libertarian like yours truly!

I’m sorry, but Mr. Phalon strikes me as having the same authoritarian mind set as many modern "conservatives" have as well, namely that you are too dumb to make choices for yourself in life and therefore it is the role of government to do it for you.

Banning of large soft drinks, smoking in public (it should be the choice of the restaurant, bar or nightclub owner, not the government), and ownership of firearms is no different than telling women what they may or may not do with their bodies, banning same sex marriage, viewing porn on the Internet or smoking a joint to relax and "mellow out." All these things are issues that people should be able to decide for themselves; that’s what freedom is supposed to be about! It’s too bad some people just can’t deal with the fact that other people might make choices that you don’t particularly endorse or agree with.

The late journalist and newspaperman, William Allen White, got it right when he said, "Freedom is the one thing you can’t have for yourself unless you’re willing to give it to others."

Food for thought for both liberals and conservatives.

Mark Richards,
West Milford