Today we have turned words and expressions in our language inside out. Good is bad and bad is good but we do it “in the name of fairness” so that makes it OK right? What we’re doing, however, is making the environment we live in a tinder box that will eventually explode in our faces. There is only one possible outcome when you continue to funnel all various views and personalities into a single box of generic, government approved views. The system wasn’t designed this way.
The genius of the republic and a federal system is the diversity of environments that were meant to exist throughout the states. Even in the original 13 states there were a diversity of views and lifestyles that permitted people to foster communities that matched their views and beliefs. In today’s world we refer to some of our communities without actually thinking about the significance of what we have. We are aware of the Quaker and Amish communities in some of the locales around America but we don’t stop to think how wonderful it is that they have a community where they are free to be who they are and conduct affairs in a manner that matches their morals and principles.
I make these points to indicate something that we are overlooking in our modern societal drive to create fairness and uniformity. Our states were meant to be a reflection of their citizens and a haven for the characters that populate them. There should never come a day when California is made to feel or behave like New York. Florida should not be held to the Midwestern values of Wisconsin. The simple truth is that the ninth and tenth amendments were meant to enshrine the unique and sovereign nature of our states for our ancestors, us and our progeny. We were supposed to have alternatives to the oppression of progressive or liberal strongholds. The system was meant to provide citizens of New York with an outlet in Texas that freed them from the tyranny of Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo. The sunny beaches, lower property taxes and lack of a state income tax in Florida is supposed to offer an alternative to the mind numbing regulations and high taxes of California. In so many ways it works on the ebb and flow of human nature despite all that government bureaucrats do to impede it. Overall, however, we are missing the boat and destroying the outlet of our wondrous system.
Our federal overlords in Washington, D.C. along with their foot soldiers in the courts are demanding and attempting to enforce uniformity, conformity and a generic, social identity across the union from sea to sea. Far from engendering peace and harmony, however, what these rules do is divide us along lines of age, race, religion, lifestyle and creed. The power structure in our nation’s capital is controlling a vast population of 300 million plus people by dividing us with tales of hatred and promises of righting the wrongs of inequality they claim are created by one group or another. Think to yourself for a moment and ask yourself when was the last time you heard a politician speak of the promise and bright future of America without telling us that it would only be achieved with the silencing and reeducation of this or that group who was standing in the way of fairness. In virtually every political speech you hear today there is a wonderful goal and promise that the politician wants to provide and they’ll do it if only they can defeat the evil [insert bogeyman here]. Now I’m not saying that there aren’t evil people out there and I’m not even claiming that we are devoid of racists or other people who hate for no reason. What I am claiming, however, is that you need to listen to the words and ideas coming from our so-called leaders. Is the bright and shining future something we can achieve with hard work and determination or is the achievement of our goals always just out of reach due to the insidious behavior of some other party? Why is that? How is it that some person or persons can always stand in the way of my dreams and goals? Do those hateful people control my decisions? Can those people “make me” live, feel or do as they desire? The answer to these questions is no. The one entity that is capable of forcing me to comply is the government. Businesses and individuals can refuse to do business with me but I can go elsewhere. People can ridicule me or defame me but they can’t control me. They cannot force me to do business with them, buy their product, live in their houses or join their neighborhoods. Only the government can do such things. The government can force me to buy health care in a manner and from the companies that they desire and I must do so on threat of fine or imprisonment. The government can take from me, via the IRS, all that I own and deprive me of my freedom with jail time. The government listens to my conversations via the NSA, works to determine what my children will be taught via the NEA, controls my water and air via the EPA, determines what kinds and qualities of food I can have access to via the FDA and rules the content that I will be exposed to through the media via the FCC. The list goes on and on from there but the concept should be apparent by now.
The government insists via a labyrinth of policies, regulations and laws that we are too infantile to protect our own interests, too imbecilic to make our own decisions and too fragile to handle our own social interactions without the intervention of the courts and the regulators. We are not free today. The truth is that they are hemming us in with laws and bureaucracies that will control us and our children from the cradle to the grave. For many of us the scariest part of that proposition is that so many of our brethren seem happy to accept the chains that they are being fitted with. I suppose it was inevitable from the beginning.
Freedom is a hard thing to live with. Being truly free means dealing with the slings and arrows of others and holding your ground. Being truly free means that you never give in to adversity and go crying to the government for help to make your life less hard. Freedom, even that which we are born into, must be maintained via a daily exercise of the rights and independence that make freedom possible. Ultimately freedom is for rugged individuals who are OK when some other free man or woman ridicules them for their choices. Free people take responsibility for their actions. A truly free people don’t need some black robed tyrant to tell them how to behave toward their fellow man and they don’t need a court ruling to permit or deny them their right to freely associate with whomever they choose. Free people are confident in their choices and assured of the rightness of their beliefs. Free people would die before they accept one day in the chains of slavery. Free people will sacrifice all they have to preserve freedom for their posterity but they will not surrender one drop of sweat in the name of tyranny.
The sad truth, however, is that we as a people have purposely handed the government control of our lives on a silver platter. We beg the courts to solve our disputes. We pray to the god in Washington to protect us from failure, catch us when we fall, make up for our shortcomings, provide us with sustenance educate our young and make us ready for our retirement. When one of us commits a crime the defenders claim they didn’t know any better. We no longer focus on our actual rights but create a never ending parade of new rights that must be defined and granted by the government and the courts. What’s worse is that so many of us applaud this creation of non-existent rights as true fairness and equality. If someone you know is preaching division and anger then they are seeking to enslave you. If a right created by the government or the courts forces you to infringe on your neighbor then it is a mechanism of control and not a right. We are 300 million plus against thousands of bureaucrats…this nation is ours if we simply stand in the face of this leviathan we have created and say NO!
I maintain that in order to become the America we wish to be we must call out the hustlers of all colors, all political affiliations and all creeds. We as Americans; we as Floridians, Kentuckians, New Yorkers, Californians, Minnesotans, etc. must come together as a people to say to the slave masters in Washington we are on to you. We want to be free to associate with whom we wish. We want states that offer us opportunities to live as we see fit. We don’t need your National Education system. We don’t need your Environmental Protection Agency. We like our lifestyle in California to be the way we want it. Furthermore we like the way San Franciscans choose to be and live the way they see fit and not the way the Christians in Georgia tell them to live. By the same token, however, we want our schools and our communities in South Carolina to reflect our own Christian principles and not the secular opinions of the city dwellers in Manhattan. What we don’t want is some black robed tyrant telling us what we the people of that state have to do. You see that’s where we started losing our freedom. We went to the government and asked them into our private lives to resolve our issues because we want the bad people who don’t believe what we believe punished. It’s not good enough for us that society changes regardless of our rules because people change and bring society with them. When the lady who runs the book store refuses to carry the book by Rush Limbaugh because she’s a follower of Gaia I want her to know it’s OK because I’ll just go do business with the ex-Marine across town who carries the books and information I like or perhaps I’ll visit Tony the agnostic who runs a book store that carries everything. That is how freedom works. You live your life as you see fit so long as you don’t violate someone else’s freedom and liberty.
The trouble with our current view of freedom is that we began to believe somewhere along the line that we had a right not only to free speech but a right to be heard and respected. We began to believe that we have a right not only to the pursuit of happiness but to happiness itself. We allowed ourselves to be duped into believing that our right to life entitled us not only to live but to live well. We even twisted that to mean we were somehow entitled to make judgments regarding the value of other lives; particularly the most innocent and vulnerable among us. We began to believe as well that our right to liberty came packaged with freedom from responsibility. We need to be reminded that with liberty comes a very heavy burden of responsibility. John Philpot Curran rightly noted that “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”