The other day your correspondent was driving in the terrain west of Las Vegas and happened upon a stable offering horseback-riding to the public.
I saw a group of riders headed off into the hills, and decided to inquire within.
The cowboy in the office gave me a brochure and a rundown of the prices. "Are they all walks, or can you run the horses?"
"No no. Twenty years ago you could just take a horse and go. Now, with all the lawyers and insurance, pretty much nobody will let you run anymore."
In the spring of 2005 I made a similar discovery in Australia; because of "public indemnity" (a system of forced government insurance), things like kayaking and horseback-riding had become expensive, highly regulated, and as un-fun as possible. It was guides and helmets for everything, and anything bordering on risky was a no-no. No joking: you couldn't just rent a kayak at Byron Bay, you had to sign up for a guided, helmeted tour.
And so it goes. We cry for government to protect us, and don't make a murmur as they eviscerate our freedoms.
Think of the things you could do in the 1970s that you can't now. Streak a football game? Used to be a funny prank; now you're a sex offender. Ride in the back of a pickup? That was fun for us rural kids; now it's a phone call to Child Protective Services. Rent three-wheelers to go off-roading? Those don't even exist anymore. Speak out against your government? There's a DHS database for you, pal.
You are perfectly free, however, to sit on your couch and watch NFL. Keep going to work, keep paying your mortgage, and keep ordering plastic goods from China. The ruling class is f'ing loving it. You're feathering their nests.
You're also free to get in line and remain silent while the government agent gropes your wife and peeps your kid.
These things, friends, you are free to do.
UPDATE: Edited to remove the guy's name. I hope nobody harasses him or his employer. He was good-natured and his sign was innocuous a...
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