When red-meat-eating conservatives say they can’t stomach my libertarian bone marrow, my default setting is to confess that I’m off my meds.

And I am.

Generic Zoloft from the Sam’s Club pharmacy had helped, but the side effects of itty-bitty libido and a nuclear-like chain reaction that produced bomb-grade flatulence, were too costly.

Even the severely conservative have been known to offer an empathetic group-hug regarding my meds-thingy, but when the issue is personal freedom, pity the poor fool who stands up for himself.

What’s the point of being an adult if I’m treated like a child?

When I listened to my car radio in the pre-iPhone era, I wanted to hear shock jock Howard Stern without the broadcast-censoring mandated by the federal government.

When the Internet became a thing, I wanted to download anything that might interest me, without wondering if the government would disapprove, and perhaps arrest me for something-or-other.

And liberals can be just as paternalistic.

When I want to eat something, drink something, consume whatever-the-heck is handy, someone in authority always is looking over my shoulder and telling me what I’m allowed to buy with my money, to put into my body.

Try to buy a Cuban cigar or trade a bag of rice for something in North Korea without someone’s permission. Try it.

And try to vote out the Democrats and Republicans (“Mom and Dad”) who use government to mold us into good citizens.

The two parties, a duopoly of DeRPs, write the voting rules. The lack of fair ballot access laws is why there is so little choice during most elections.

So-called third parties effectively are prohibited from competing most of the time. In most elections, the “choice” is either a used Chevy or a used Ford.

An adult can walk into any super market and have a near-infinite choice of breakfast foods. But walk into a polling place and the choice is oatmeal for kids or cornmeal for kids.

I’ve given up thinking of myself as a free man.

It happened gradually, over the years, as I asked permission to do this or that. Yes, I have more freedom than in most other, and maybe all other, countries. Kinda like being the tallest resident of Munchkinland.

The left and the right tell this libertarian that laws limiting my choices are for the greater good of society. But what good is greater than my freedom to live my life as I wish?

The illusion of free choice is overwhelming. Citizens routinely ask permission to exercise their liberty. The irony escapes them.

It might be harder to convince a slave that he is free, than to convince a fellow American that he isn't. But then again, maybe not.

Did I mention that I’m off my meds?