Even government programs that come at “no cost” to the individual are not free. Beyond time and effort, there is the lack of choice to consider, as well as other distortions. When governments attempt to give things away “for free” — or at a highly subsidized rate — problems will inevitably arise.
Advocate Nick Zaiac was cited by Cato scholar Dan Mitchell in an article on his blog International Liberty about private-public partnerships. Here’s part of Nick’s text that he quoted:
In the American island state of Hawaii, residents and business owners gathered together in 2009 to fix a road through a state park that was vital to the area. They completed it entirely for free, with locals donating machinery, materials, and labor. In fact, the project was completed in a shockingly brief eight days. …Private roads have a long and storied history in both Britain and the US. Between 1800 and 1830, private turnpikes made up an astounding 27 per cent of all business incorporations in the US. Britain, between 1750 and 1772, had previously experienced a period of “turnpike mania”, as noted by economic historians Daniel Klein and John Majewski. Put simply, private infrastructure is by no means a new thing. It is simply the slow return to the way many roads were originally built.
The case, Wollschlaeger v. Governor of Florida, affirms the constitutionality of the Florida Firearm Owners Privacy Act, which threatens doctors with disciplinary action if they ask patients about gun ownership when not directly relevant to a patient’s “medical care.” Broadly, the court claims that asking questions constitutes medical care (professional conduct), and thus is not First Amendment-protected speech.
Regardless of whether inquiring about gun ownership is ever tangentially helpful to providing medical care or advice, laws like Florida’s hinder our First Amendment right to free speech — even if it’s socially awkward small talk at a doctor’s office.