“Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter’s remark seemed to have no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English. ‘I don’t quite understand you,’ she said, as politely as she could.” –Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
A number of years ago while visiting Cedar Point Amusement Park, I was feeling pretty smug about handling the roller coaster rides and not losing my lunch, if you know what I mean. But after a two minute ride on “Monster”, my smugness turned to waves of nausea and with wobbly knees I crashed onto the nearest park bench to lie down and restore my jangled equilibrium.
Jangled equilibrium is a good way to describe what I feel when I listen to Barack Obama use English words that have no sort of meaning to them. At least meaning that makes you feel you are standing on something solid and timeless and true. Instead We The People are free falling down a rabbit hole trying to make some sense of things as they flash by:
• I can keep my insurance plan, but only if I accept the notion that I’m not capable of making good decisions on what’s good for me?
• The definition of marriage is a state issue, but the states must comply with Federal courts’ mandates.
• The Ft. Hood massacre was a work place violence issue.
• We can spend our way into prosperity.
• Its only fair…what I can do with my pen and a phone.
• America is the largest fossil fuel source in the world, but “your utility rates are going to necessarily skyrocket.”
• “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.”
• “I’m the president, I can do anything I want.”
• “Lead from behind.”
• Fundamental transformation of the United States of America.
• $17 Trillion in national debt…we don’t have a debt problem.
• “Was it because of a protest or was it because a guy goes out for a walk one night and decided to go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”
And if you, like me and Alice, are trying to figure out what side of the planet we will come out on…it may make more sense to just try and figure out what parallel universe we are in. Some of us think that if we can, politely, just find a nice bench to lie down on and rest awhile, that this madness will soon be over. Some of us realize that we are losing something valuable and precious. Many, however, sense a fear beginning to grip hearts that whispers we may not be able to get this grand experiment in self-government and liberty back.
For fear to be valid it must be potent and imminent. For example, I’m not real fond of snakes, but if there is not a snake near me or if the one that is near me is not poisonous, my fear is unfounded…it is upon me to conquer the feelings of fear. But the harmless fear of honest & meaningful debate – upon which self-government is structured – has been swallowed up by the many headed Hydra of massive government bureaucracy and a reprobate citizenry. Cut one off and three more take its place. Its poisonous fumes of crafted imagery choke out opposing viewpoints.
But what is the greater Dread:
• that we have an enemy, potent and imminent, who can, will and does create crises through which they prey upon the fearful and manipulate them to exchange self-evident truth for a lie?
• -OR- that we will be found lacking and can’t - -or won’t – measure up to the faith of our Fathers? A faith that compelled them to pledge their Lives, Fortunes, and Sacred Honor to fight for liberty.
Personally, I’m not sure if it is more perplexing to argue with idiots or persuade the frustrated to believe that the fundamental structure of our country is still sound. If you share this sense of futility, rather than telling them to “read the Constitution”, as if that ends all debate, let me suggest we focus our efforts to help people understand these two primary aspects of America’s exceptionalism:
• Right of Property – begins with our own being and our duty to improve ourselves and the resources we come to obtain. Property rights are the key to liberty and the ability to create wealth.
• Rule of Law – outlines the government’s proper relation to our property: to protect our right to enjoy the fruit of our labor.
Since individuals own property, the primary focus of government is the individual not the collective. Free enterprise is fueled by the need to create value for individuals who can best determine their own needs. Since every individual owns property, they can create something of value that meets someone else’s need, whether in goods or services. The value of anything is best determined, not by a government agency or the President’s pen, but by what individuals are willing to pay for something!
Punitive tax policy and massive regulations in the name of “fairness” mock Rule of Law, relentlessly erode Property Rights and can be the justification for all kinds of deadly mischief.
Bastiat warned us so:
“It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder. …The consequence of this perversion is "erasing from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice. No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make the laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”
If, at every level of our governing structure, we insist that elected officials or candidates protect these foundational pillars we can quietly restore self-government. But if the fight for liberty intensifies to greater resistance, we will always know what we are fighting for and where to come back to!
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