land of the brave I

Trouble in paradise. Tourists and locals alike, upset by beach closures in NC’s Outer Banks that protect nesting birds and hatching sea turtles, have launched a website called Preserve Beach Access. The sticking point seems to be off-road vehicles, since the beaches are mostly open to pedestrians.

According to Neil’s old coworker Rod, one of the basic differences between Canada and the USA is our divergent thinking on “freedom.” In Canada we look to our government for “freedom-from”: freedom from discrimination, crime, sickness, pollution. This model produced an entirely different country from the States, where the Americans Dream from the start required the constant defense of “freedom-to.” Freedom to roam, hunt, buy, sell, compete, say what you want, ride without a helmet, and bloody well drive on the bloody beach.

Freedom-to produces some amazing arguments when it comes to the environment. Marvel with me a moment at the deft rhetorical manoeuvrings  in the following plea, from “Clifton” from Portsmouth, VA for ORV access to the sand:

“My wife is disabled and unable to traverse through sand. It is unfair to discriminate against the disabled about somthing they enjoy. How about building a incubator station and free the beaches to the people who work hard at building this planet to where it is now and need some relaxation? There is more than enough land, that humans cannot get to on the Outer Banks for a bird to build a nest.”

Actually this is an appeal for freedom-to (splatter endangered species-eggs) in the guise of an appeal for freedom-from (discrimination against the disabled).  Dizzying, eh?

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