I was always an odd ball where ever I worked. It may have been because I always found myself surrounded by individuals that did not look like me. I was the first female chef in the Hotel I worked at. I was the first female programmer in many places I worked at. Often I am the only Indian in the room, not merely the only Indian woman.

I don’t think that’s it though. I think it has a lot more to do with how I think than how I look. I remember having a conversation with a co-worker about something one day. The specifics are vague, but he mentioned something about being afraid of what people might think.

I remember saying to him”People don’t exist in my world…” . Before I could finish, he jumped up and wrote the quote on a white board, signed Barkha. What I was about to add was : “Individuals do”. I felt a bit frustrated, but also a bit “special”; I always found that encouraging people to think I was different always worked in my favor. I didn’t have to live up to any one’s expectations or go around explaining myself.

I ran across this saying today that brought back the memories of that day:

Legally speaking, there are no such things as ‘public rights,’ as distinguished from individual rights. Legally speaking, there is no such creature or thing as ‘the public.’ – Lysander Spooner

Just like my unfinished quote did to my friend, this saying might sound nonsensical on the surface. But the sentiment expressed in it is essential to making people understand the folly of “for the public” legislation.

Murder is illegal. It deprives the life on an individual. Theft is illegal. It deprives individual property. Drugs should be banned, because it is good for the people. Is it? Has drug consumption gone up or down due to the legislation against drugs? Has violence gone up or down? Incarcerations? Sodas are not good for the people; so they should be banned.

Public is a slippery concept. Protecting individuals is easy. Protecting “the public” is just plain impossible. While laws that protect the individual promote liberty, laws that hide behind public group are usually designed to take liberties away.

We are all familiar with the opposition to the sweeping legislation from both sides. Usually it goes like “you just hate the poor / gays / women” etc., etc. My question would be which poor? Which gay? Which woman? I reserve judgement till I find out the specifics. It is so much more fun to hate a person on their demerits than some generics.

People don’t exist n my world. Individuals do. And I respect the rights of the individual over the rights of the masses. It’s common sense.

NOTE:  Originally posted on Ricochet.com