(This post is a part of my platform for my virtual campaign for the Mayor of Houston. You can read my announcement here and my statement of principles here.)
My opponents promise that they will improve the city’s “quality of life”, but they do not define the term. They assume that we all know and agree to the same definition of “quality of life”. As used by my opponents, "quality of life" is a meaningless phrase.
The truth is, “quality of life” is a matter of personal values. We each define “quality of life” differently. Some individuals prefer a spacious back yard, while some prefer no yard at all. Some prefer proximity to parks, while others prefer to live close to shopping. Some prefer a short commute, while others prefer suburban life. All of these preferences and many, many more contribute to how each individual conceives “quality of life”.
For politicians to claim that they will improve the city’s “quality of life”, they must necessarily embrace one particular conception of the term. They must accept and implement one view of “quality of life”, to the exclusion of all others. And the “quality of life” that they embrace will be imposed upon all individuals, no matter their own personal views on the subject. All Houstonians will be forced to accept and live by the “quality of life” advocated by public officials.
There is only one context in which any public official can legitimately speak of “quality of life”. There is only one context in which all Houstonians can embrace the same conception of “quality of life”. And that context is individual freedom—the right to pursue your individual values and goals without interference from others, as long as you respect their mutual rights. Indeed, freedom is the ultimate in “quality of life”.
In this context, my administration will improve your “quality of life”—my administration will increase your personal freedom. My administration will reduce the arbitrary restrictions and controls imposed by city government. My administration will allow you to choose and pursue your definition of “quality of life”.
We will accomplish this by repealing ordinances that violate the rights of individuals. We will repeal permitting and licensing, which are nothing more than a mandate by city government that you secure permission for pursuing your “quality of life”. We will reduce taxes, which will allow you to keep more of your money and thereby pursue your “quality of life”. We will repeal ordinances that control how businesses operate, which will allow entrepreneurs to pursue their “quality of life”.
We will not tell you how to build or remodel your home. We will not tell you which contractors you can legally hire. We will not tell you what kinds of trees you can plant, or what kind of signs you can erect. We will allow you to act by right, not by permission.
Government regulations and controls drive up the cost of the goods and services you purchase, stifle competition, and reduce options for consumers. Government regulations and controls decrease jobs, make it more difficult and expensive for businesses to operate, and reduce economic opportunities. Government regulations and controls decrease your “quality of life”. And therefore, any meaningful discussion of improving a city’s “quality of life” must necessarily include reducing the size and scope of government.
Interestingly, my opponents argue that improving the city’s “quality of life” can only occur by expanding government. They argue that more government programs, services, and control over your life and business are the only way we can improve our “quality of life”. If this were true, then totalitarian dictatorships would be the epitome of “quality of life”. If this were true, citizens would voluntarily give all of their money to government.
“Quality of life” is a deeply personal issue for each individual. We each have a moral right to choose our “quality of life” without government restrictions. My administration will not stand in your way—we will allow you to pursue your own happiness and your own "quality of life".
Tuesday: City Assets