POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Defending Freedom at Home and Abroad

by David Trumbull -- May 27, 2011

This Memorial Day we remember and honor those men and women in our Army, Navy, Air Force [, Marines, ] and Coast Guard who died in the line of duty protecting our American way of life. The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund ( plans to plant thousands of flags on Boston Common in memory of our fallen Massachusetts service members. These flags will be on display throughout Memorial Day weekend for your observance and reflection.

While honoring our fallen heroes, many of us also plan to enjoy this three-day weekend at the beach, the Cape (Cod or Ann), with a picnic, or otherwise in rest and relaxation as we kick off summer in New England. That is also fitting, for surely the aim of war is to secure a safer, happier, more prosperous and freer life once peace has been restored.

For many of us the celebration will include knocking back a Sam (Sam Adams) or ‘Gansett (Naragansett)—to name two local beers of the region. Be warned that legislation in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, H. 1871, could make that cold beer a bit costlier. The bill would impose new administrative requirements on beverage brewers, distributors, and wholesalers. If adopted, the measure, according to the United States Federal Trade Commission, “would further impede competition in the distribution of malt beverages, and thereby harm competition and consumers.”

The job of the Federal Trade Commission is to watch out that American consumers are not harmed by illegal anti-competitive practices in the market. Most FTC activity is directed toward regulating businesses that seek to create monopolies or otherwise thwart our anti-trust laws. It is fairly unusual (although not unheard of) for the FTC to step in, as it did earlier this month, with an opinion against a proposed state law.

Freedom is not free. We pay the cost in many ways, from such simple things as watching out for proposed laws that may have good intentions but would result in harm to American consumers, to the really big things like fighting—even dying—to save America from internal and external threats. This Memorial Day let us remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and honor them by committing ourselves to preserving American freedom in every way, big and small.