The YAL chapter at Duke University had students on the plaza play a thought-provoking game in the spirit of the April 20th “counterculture” holiday. Students would give their opinions on what entities of which they thought the government should restrict the sale. The items that we selected were assault rifles, Chimpanzees, Hummers, prostitutes, slaves, oceans, large McDonald’s drinks, cocaine, marijuana, nuclear weapons, land, and organs. If students picked less than 9 of the 12 items to ban, she would have the choice of a delicious Harris Teter brownie or a little baggie of basil.
Surprisingly, more students objected to the McDonald’s drinks than marijuana. I guess, what can you expect on 4/20? Hypocritically, almost every student objected to the purchase of coke, yet had no second thoughts about the legality of marijuana. Luckily, no one thought that slavery or nuclear weapons were acceptable. However, one person objected to private property. Ironically, that person had no issue with purchasing an ocean. Where do you find these people!
The game opened up a lot of conversations. Many students thought they should ban certain items because they thought they were “bad.” Purposefully, every item we chose besides land is bad to one degree or another. The heart of the matter is not whether something is bad, but whether it impedes on the freedom of others.
As a society, we cannot impose our individual morals to be universal. No matter where you fall in the political spectrum, there is a politician out there that wants to impose a moral upon you that you do not believe in. And there is not anything worse than being forced to conform with a moral belief to which you disagree. If we allow as much personal freedom as we would want for ourselves, everyone is better off.