My Turn: Common sense is as easy as pie

For the Monitor
Published: 12/30/2021 6:30:33 AM
Modified: 12/30/2021 6:30:06 AM

Freedom to one person can be an injustice to another, but that which supports life is universal to us all.

There was a recent post on Facebook that describes freedoms in a common-sense way.

“Common sense is as easy as pie! This should be easy to understand how freedoms work… This person took his part [of the pie], but it affected others negatively (because they cut their piece from the middle of the pie which cut into every other piece of the pie).

He exercised his freedom, but with injustice to others. Freedoms can’t be exercised as every individual wants without looking at injustice to others. Justice disappears when you harm others. An example of bad exercise of individual freedom.”

Freedoms can compete with other freedoms in the same way that rights can compete with other rights. The right to clean water, uncontaminated soil and fresh air are only enjoyed by those that can afford to protect the few areas that have not been impacted to a significant degree by industrialization. Those that cannot afford to live in cleaner environments must live in areas that have been contaminated for commercial profit.

The freedom to profit in this country appears to be the ultimate “right” that belongs to a few corporate actors that can exercise their “rights” to harm people and the environment at the expense of those being sickened and dying. Our system of law and government elevates these unjust corporate “rights” to harm above our individual rights to protect our health, safety and general welfare.

As an example, the recent news article from In-Depth NH (“Higher than expected kidney and renal cancers found in Merrimack,” 12/10)describes the lengthy, bureaucratic process that continues to uphold corporate constitutional (both state and federal) “rights” to cause harm in the name of profit while all the human and natural inhabitants impacted by such harms will likely be sick or dead by the time there is any change in law or government to protect them, the ecosystems or future generations. We cannot use the system that created these injustices to solve them.

(Michelle Sanborn is president of New Hampshire Community Rights Network.)

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