Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Top 10 things about freedom we may have forgotten

The 4th of July is upon us again. More hotdogs, more fireworks and more long winded speeches on the greatness of our forefathers. Why were they great? Because they recognized that freedom is for everyone, or it should be. It seems that we are willing to sell our freedom down the river sometimes and I hope I'm wrong. These are the things I think we sometimes forget about freedom. I'm sure others have done it better, but I will add my 2 cents anyway.

10. You might start with freedom, but it requires effort to maintain. - Our own founding fathers realized this as most of them and their sons gave their very lives to give us a chance at freedom. They had to fight their government in order to secure the freedom they deserved. True freedom as a Governmental tool is so rare that our government has been called the great American experiment. How could you let the masses choose even the smallest decisions for themselves? It just doesn't make sense. Well in our case it has made sense and continues to do so. Our founding fathers have said that the price of freedom is vigilance. Not against outside threats, but against inside ones. Yes, your own government. They are the ones that deserve careful watching because they are the ones that primarily want to take away your freedoms...for your own good of course.

9. Freedom is the ability to choose ones actions, but it has never been the ability to choose ones consequences. - This is a simple phrase really and like so many simple phrases is so very true. People have somehow crossed the meaning of freedom to indicate they they have some right to be free of the consequences of their actions. Without getting too political just remember: Any one person that gets something for free gets it at the cost of someone else, and somehow the Government, like Santa Clause, gets the credit for the actions of someone else.

8. Freedom is the first thing that even well meaning people want to take away. - Smart people are all the same, they think that because they are 'smart' that they really have the answers for all you stupid people. You know who you are. If the people would just shut up and listen to all the pearls of wisdom that spill from the lips of the best and brightest, you would all be happier and praise those in charge for doing it. This silly government of checks and balances just gets in the way of the freedom that a benevolent intelligent dictator can give you by just taking away your decisions. After all, you MAY make the wrong decision and everyone knows that bad decisions are no good for anyone. Remember, NOBODY, no matter how smart, is worth paying your freedom for.

7. Security can not be won by giving up freedom. - This old saw still rings true today. Lets take the latest thing to threaten our security. 911. Lets look at what happened. Immediately the airports have taken to checking EVERYONE'S bags with very expensive technology and lost time for both the traveler and the security personnel. Has it made us safer? We have certainly given up some freedom for it. Do you feel safer? If so, for how long. There have been lots of reports of our security being thwarted by people a little smarter than terrorists. Understand terrorists are not particularly clever or intelligent. But at least they know this. That the damage caused by our own fear is far greater than the damage they will cause by a subsequent attack. That's why they are called terror-ists.

6. Freedom is often valued least by people that make bad decisions. - People that make bad decisions throughout their lives tend to wonder why life is so hard on them. Why is life so cruel? I only had one more drink and I didn't FEEL impaired. Driving into an accident was certainly not the intent! I shouldn't be punished for a simple mistake. It isn't MY fault it's the alcohol's fault. After all, if I didn't have the alcohol, I wouldn't have been in that problem in the first place. So we need to make that demon Alcohol illegal because then we can save so many people from being caught in it's snare. So instead of making penalties for the abuse of freedom we take away freedoms from people that don't abuse them. Hard won yet easily taken all for the want of good decision making.

5. Freedom never requires positive action on the part of another party. - Freedom never requires outside action to continue. If I claim that I need something from you to maintain my freedom alone that's just not true. The defense of our freedom comes at a great cost but is not required by law but only by volunteer. We tried a mandatory draft and it is really inconsistent with our charter as a nation. If we look at the nature of our constitution and our government it states very clearly that any right not expressly given to the government is remanded to the states and each state must in turn determine through their individual local governments and ultimately through their population what is and isn't a proper power for government to have. This is because the nature of our constitution guarantees FREEDOM. The more governmental rights given to the Federal Government, the more restrictive the individual rights of states and therefore each states citizens. Laws are always meant to err on the side of freedom. Look at the criminal laws. the reason the large part of them are in place is because the actions of one individual takes away the rights of another. Murder, Robbery, Assault, Discrimination. All of these actions take away the rights of the offended party. Even in prosecution of those laws we state that the accused are innocent until proven guilty. That is why the argument against statutes that guarantee freedom is usually 'All of our laws are moral in nature so don't tell me we don't legislate morality that's why I think we restrict _____'. Perhaps, but WHAT morality? The morality of freedom, nothing else. Everything else is given to the individual to control themselves according to the dictates of their own conscience, where it should be.

4. Freedom allows for equal parts success and failure. - The degree to which you can succeed can only be limited by the degree to which you can fail. It just makes sense. The only laws that we should see in controlling business is that no individual business can be allowed to become so big that they limit the freedom of smaller businesses to compete. It's through competition that we drive the engines of our success. But Mark, are you talking about taking away the freedoms of business? I suppose I am if that means making sure that they allow for fair competition. What is fair? I'm not sure. But when I see a Big Box company come in and run at a loss for many years at the expense of the tax payer in order to drive out business. That to me is unfair and should be illegal because it does not set business on an even playing field with other businesses. The only way it is illegal is if we as a citizenry decide that we don't wish to allow such businesses into our neighborhoods, and if they show up, we should not patronize them even if their prices are lower than their competitors because we ended up paying for those lower prices with our taxes. This is just one example. Business is a difficult thing to understand and it requires a lot of thought and understanding to make sure that everyone gets a fair chance to succeed or to fail. I will not pretend to have all the answers to this or any other of our country's problems. I will however say that we must always be careful of good choices that eventually eliminate all choice.

3. Freedom is less forgiving than servitude - Freedom is a full contact sport and it is not painless. Freedom means that we have the freedom to pursue our own ideas of happiness. There has never been a guarantee of happiness because that is defined differently per individual. In a government where our freedoms are severely limited, we are all allowed the same level of discomfort. This of course rewards the lazy and the fearful against the working and the bold. To accept the risk of freedom is to accept the essence of adulthood. The ability to make ones own decisions and stand by the consequences of the same. To try to protect everyone from failure will only ensure it's eventuality because the great among us will not be allowed to succeed.

2. Freedom can and sometimes must be exercised directly in the face of authority whose goal is to remove freedom from you. - The constitution was written in the face of a controlling authority that wished to deny the citizens of a particular area the same rights afforded to all within that empire. I speak of course of the British. Their own Magna Carta really did try to give general freedoms to all and to great effect became a great influence on our own declarations. We wanted to be able to govern ourselves without the meddling of a government that did not care for our regional wishes. Eventually we won the recognition of that inherent right at the great cost of 'blood and treasure'. After we won our freedom we struggled to try to perfect it's application. It took many arguments and even a Civil war that nearly tore the country apart. Our country tried early on to squelch opposition to the presidency in written or oral form. We then realized that the freedom of expression was integral to our growth as a society and if we could not stand that as a government, we likely could not stand that at all.

1. Any freedom lost is a loss for all - If you do not fight for the freedoms of all people, you will be destined to lose your own. When you see a freedom being denied to a person that does not share your politics or your point of view. You should not ever sit idle and watch them fall to the demise of the minority. You should rather stand up and count yourself in defense of that individual as you would expect them to stand up for you in the same circumstance. Our great nation is designed to thrive on the differences of all and beckons all to come to add to our strength. When we try as a majority to eliminate the fair and equal treatment of the government under the law to ALL individuals we are ultimately giving the government the right to eventually eliminate our own freedoms later. It is difficult to remember that in the face of some arguments and even more difficult to fight with the same zeal on the side of someone you do not agree with at all. But the ability to dissent and to fight for individual rights is essential to the continued health of our government.

So do I think that Government is too big? Hell Yes. Way too big. There are far too many things that our government has decided that they should do on our behalf that is 'for our own good' I do not agree to a parent state that treats us all as their petulant children. Our forefathers fought for our right to govern our selves. Their actions echo back to us every 4th of July and we need to honor the sacrifices they made. If those same founding fathers would see our current state of government, what would they think? Did the currency of freedom put in the bank of their collective progeny bear interest? or is that investment failing in a country that is deemed too big to fail? Only time will tell, but I hope that we can continue to honor the tradition of freedom given to us indefinitely.

1 comment:

Scoops Mangum said...

Wow, some of your best writing yet. I started to become a Libertarian because of you, and I get further down that road every day it seems. Nice work! Let's do lunch soon!