I know I talked at length about "free will" but the recent story about 13 year old Daniel Hauser (and "his" decision to not have chemotherapy treatment for his Hogkin's lymphoma) has me thinking about wisdom and freedom. Obviously in a country of freedoms and priveleges (which is another story all together) there are still rules and laws; things which while "free" to do, you'll also face consequences for any choice.
The story of the Daneil Hauser and his mom Colleen involve more than their religious beliefs (which combine Nemenhah Band — a sect of Native American beliefs and holistic health/medicines; and Catholicism) and the Hippocratic oath. After rejecting ongoing cheomtherapy treatment, the doctors of Daniel reported the mother, who under Minnesota statutes require parents to provide necessary medical care for a child, was breaking the law. Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg ordered the Hauser's to give treatment for their son, claiming willful neglect and child endangerment, but Colleen and her son fled.
Simply put, the Hauser's are breaking the law. But at the heart of the matter is our individual freedom to choose and the wisdom of those choices and the governements involvement in deeming those choices legal or illegal. The Hauser's are exercising their freedom by choosing to break the law, and thus will face the appropriate consequences. Is it wise for the Hauser's to not only break the law, but to willfully endanger their child (who, by all accounts, has a treatable form of cancer)? No. Should they have the freedom to choose the type of care they wish provide, based on religious (or any belief for that matter) grounds? Ah, there's the problem.
While we all love the idea of freedom of choice, when it comes down to it, we only like the choices which we deem "safe". A woman has the freedom to choose to keep their unborn child or kill abort it. A man has a the right to choose whom he can have sex with (given they are of legal age). I have the freedom to drink to excess and drunkedness. You have the freedom to eat McDonald's every day and become obese. The consequences of our actions aren't as important as the freedom to do them. And this is a problem. Once the government becomes the barometer for moral and wise choices, the very value of our "freedom" becomes a facade.