Skip to comments.WHY DOES YOUR FREEDOM MATTER TO YOU?
Posted on 07/20/2010 9:12:36 PM PDT by helpfulresearcher
Why does your freedom matter to you? This may seem like a silly question, with self-evident answers. But part of the reason why freedom continues to be eroded in America is that for many people, it is something that is abstract, unseen, and is taken very much for granted... even while it slips away.
In a struggle between the more tangible and the less tangible, the tangible has the distinct advantage. If we want to turn the tide and begin to increase freedom in America, we need to make our freedom, and what it means to each of us individually, much more tangible, and much more personal.
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What is seen is the potential for leveraging any given individual's personal agenda through the force of government. People see possibilities for growing personal wealth, or for "making the world better" through legislation, regulation, favors, or contacts within government, and their immediate and personal benefit can be much more powerful, tangible and important to them than the abstract freedom that allows for opportunities, but does not directly provide them.
The disparity between these two dynamics is in continual struggle. In a struggle between the more tangible and the less tangible, the tangible has the distinct advantage. If we want to turn the tide and begin to increase freedom in America, we need to make our freedom, and what it means to each of us individually, much more tangible, and much more personal.
We also have to continually re-assert the difference between freedom from government intrusion, and the kinds of entitlement that have been deliberately mislabeled as freedom: Freedom from want, freedom from high prices; freedom from the need to pay for health care, retirement, housing, food, etc.
Such provisions are not freedom; they are entitlements. But let's go a bit further: entitlement is a misnomer, and a deliberate one. Entitlement implies something to which you hold title; entitlement implies ownership. But unless you believe that one person is entitled to another person's property, the word entitlement is also a tricky word that is used to normalize government confiscation of property - for the purpose of forcibly re-distributing it to others.
The idea that any of this can be labeled "freedom" is preposterous. Yet this is the language that is commonly used to facilitate the massive system of entitlements that are, in fact, the antithesis of freedom.
So in order to bring clarity back to our language, and therefore to the meaning of the word and the concept of freedom, we need to bring it back to earth. We need to make freedom tangible and personal - and we can begin to do this by answering this question: What does freedom mean to you? What does freedom mean to you, personally?
Do you own a business? Think of how much time you spend focused on creating value in your business - manufacturing or innovating, serving customers, implementing new, more effective strategies. Then think of how much time you spend complying with regulations, planning around and preparing income, FICA, Social Security, and sales taxes, working to pay for those taxes, and posturing yourself defensively against regulatory intrusion or frivolous lawsuits.
Give these two categories of activity a percentage. Which is larger: creating value, or complying with government intrusion?
Have you ever had to deal with regulatory harassment, or frivolous lawsuits? How much time and energy has that cost you? How much personal distress has that caused you? How much time did you have to spend defending yourself or complying with foolish intrusion?
How much of that time and energy might you have spent producing value, enjoying your family, solving problems, or bringing other good things to the people in your life or in your wider community?
Do you have something of value that you could create, a product or service that you could offer, that could improve your quality of life, but you don't have the capital to afford an office? Is this something that you could do from your home - if not for restrictive zoning laws? How does this limitation affect your life? What good things could you make happen if you were free to pursue your abilities as a business?
Do you have a skill that you are competent to perform, but you cannot afford the time or the money that it would take to go through the ordeal of licensing, or the labyrinth of obtaining permits?
Do you have kids? Are you able to educate your kids the way that you'd like? Do you pay for a private education while simultaneously financing government schools that you would not use? How much of your time goes to paying twice for the education of your kids?
More importantly, do you want your kids to grow up in a world where the joy of creation, innovation, and ambition is encouraged and celebrated, or where the anxiety of hyper-security and enforced predictability is indulged and elevated, burying opportunity, and rewarding mediocrity?
Do you work for a company? How much of your paycheck is withheld for taxes? How much time do you spend paying for a social security trust fund that is neither a fund nor trustworthy? How many opportunities for expansion of your opportunities are stifled by regulations and tax policy? How much productivity is sucked out of the system that provides your livelihood through regulations?
How much does our current regulatory system encourage people in your company to master bureaucratic manipulation and political posturing, versus real, valuable creativity, productivity, and innovation?
Are you a doctor? How much time do you spend complying with regulations, bending to Medicare and insurance dictates, engaging in procedures that are unnecessary in order to comply with bureaucratic protocol, or to protect yourself from frivolous lawsuits?
Do you ever visit a doctor? How many of your doctors have retired early because the time and energy spent complying with regulations is overwhelming, while their income has steadily decreased? (Two of our doctors in the past ten years have done just that.) How many unnecessary procedures have you undergone, not because they are actually needed, but because it is the required protocol mandated by a bureaucrat?
How much innovation has been stifled? How much productivity has been bogged down in red tape? How many gifted people have limited the full expression of their talents and abilities in order to minimize their exposure to regulatory or legal harassment?
These are just a few examples to get you thinking. My intention is not to have you dwell on your frustration or become absorbed in helpless ruminating at the dreadful state of our liberty. Don't waste your time wallowing in pity or resentment. That just adds to the trouble. And we are not that powerless.
The point here is to begin to identify, in precise, tangible, and supremely practical terms why your freedom matters, personally, to you. This is the foundation of the conversation that we, as Americans, must engage in.
Our freedom has been lost in a sea of ambiguity, in part through Progressive manipulation of language. Beginning with the word "Progressive, continuing with the theft of the word "Liberal," and with murky concepts such as Woodrow Wilson calling the Constitution a "living document," Franklin Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" - which includes "freedom from want," and "Freedom from fear" - and claiming the mantle of compassion for fascistic government force.
The road to regaining our freedom is through blunt, clear, honest talk. We are beginning to see a new breed of statesmen with the courage to speak truth to the power of evasive idealistic abstraction.
The first of these statesmen is a woman who has pioneered the template: Sarah Palin. We will look back some years from now and see that the turning point for America, the moment we began to dismantle the regulatory state, was the moment that John McCain brought this great lady into national prominence. He had no idea what he was setting in motion.
Now we have millions of Americans in the Tea Party movement speaking plainly, directly, and powerfully. We have Chris Cristie in New Jersey, Jan Brewer in Arizona, Michelle Bachman in Michigan, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Mitch Daniels in Indiana, Paul Ryan in Wisconsin, and a host of other bold, blunt, and honest leaders coming to the fore; not to mention on deck a multitude of immensely competent, disciplined, and freedom-loving veterans from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - like LtCol. Allen West in Florida.
It is people like these - people like us - who will make the difference. And we will do it by being who we are, speaking up, and refusing to apologize for our strength.
Liberty dies in the shadows, it wilts in the dark corners of conceptual opacity. Liberty flourishes in the sunlight. Our freedom will grow in the light of moral clarity and deepen in resilience through identifying and affirming the hard reality of cause and effect.
Identify and define for yourself why, personally, specifically, in the context of your own life, in relation to your own dreams and ambitions, your freedom matters to you.
Then use the energy and motivation of that knowledge to champion our cause - the great cause of mankind's progress, of civilization's advancement, and of the heroic vision of life well lived: the sacred cause of individual liberty.
P.P.S. To get free concise - and realistic - tips on living a happier life, sign up at... www.drjoelwade.com
My freedom means nothing. The freedom of my daughter after I pass on means the world to me. For that, I would fight, kill or die to protect.
When I leave this world, I want to know that I can stand before the Lord and say, “Yes, I left my daughter a world that is better than the world left to me.”
I can be at peace knowing that she’ll have the tools to speak as she wishes, defend herself from those who would do her harm, and be safe and secure against tyranny and oppression.
My freedom, my life, my very existance is second to the life and safety of my child. THAT is what freedom means to me.