This is a great time for us to be Americans.
We've been tested by popularity contest rules, and found to be different. The popular boys, and the popular girls, all live in Europe. Or some other place. Just not here.
And, by not being the winners in terms of popularity, we're beginning to see that the fundamentals of being different are important. America has been, and always will be, different than other countries. When we talk about freedoms, they aren't constructs that have limits imposed by caste, creed or belief. If I want to believe that God looks like a spaghetti monster, I'm free to choose that belief. It isn't the beliefs you hold, it is the actions you take that make a difference. I'm free to yell "booga", and yet not free to yell "fire" in a crowded theater. Booga!
The courts of our country have been very careful in their decisions involving out freedoms, as outlined by the Constitution of the United States. Freedoms are discernible from rights. America lives as America, based upon our understanding of what makes us free. Freedom is the natural state of Man.
If you have a political opinion, and haven't read John Locke, here's your chance. This is a link to the Second Treatise of Civil Government.(You can get the First Treatise here, but the heavy work of Locke is in the 2nd.)
I think it does help to understand Locke if you have any type of religious belief. Not the twelve step kind of higher power, but some belief that allows you to diminish your own self when contemplating everything else. Sort of a Douglas Adams view, where we can't possibly know what the answer of the ultimate question is, since we don't know how to frame the question, itself.
Why is freedom so important? The question isn't trivial, in fact, I think that the argument against freedom is one of the major motivating factors for the re-birth of Americanism, known as the Tea Party. The argument against freedom is simple; we must control those who would harm others.
This is a pretty harsh judgement against humanity.
I think it is the constant thrumming of those on the left, however.
Let's take John, a young man, learning his craft in a business that works to help others achieve success. John works for a man who has years of experience helping businesses gain success, but John, a newbie, isn't sure about either his own skills, or the worthiness of the path he is beginning to undertake. Why should, or would, we, help a business gain success, when in the world of business, we have an undercurrent that at least states that, "corporations are evil."
The whole idea of the 99 is that there are "us," and there is that one-percent that isn't "us," that makes them separate from us, and different from us. The "us" is those of us who make less in annual earnings less than the one-percent of us who make earnings in the top one-percent of earnings. For those who don't work or earn anything, I guess the bottom of this scale is nada, Nothing. Zip. Zero. Why is the One-Percent different from the bottom of the earnings scale? This should be easy. The Top One Percent is doing something. The bottom one percent is doing nothing.
I have pancake batter, an hot stove and a spatula.
I don't make pancakes.
What is the harm of not making pancakes?
Exactly. What is the harm of choosing to be unproductive? What is the harm of smoking marijuana? What is the harm of writing poetry that nobody reads? What is the harm of making ugly sculpture?
Choosing to be simply unproductive isn't a sin. Harry R. Truman remains a name in Northwestern lore based upon his decision to not take action. He was free. He made a decision. He is, and will remain iconic as a part of the lore of the Northwest, based upon his unwillingness to cede his personal ownership of that piece of land he lived upon, against the the warnings of those who advised him to leave. He was free. He lived free, and died free.
Freedom is the underlying theme of everything we do in America. I choose. You choose.
That's all. Choice.
There is no other country in the world where an individual's choice is so revered. And nothing is more revered than an individual's choice of his religious beliefs. We live in the one country on the face of the earth, where no one's individual choice of religious belief can ever be interfered with. As much as one may disagree with the original Mayflower inhabitants, the Plymouth Rock is important to our American heritage as the first step taken on this continent by humans wishing to express their own view of religion, without any constraint.
As iconic as are many events in our nation's history may be, this singular step onto the shores of America remains one of the fundamental steps in the evolution of our nation's legal and cultural foundations. From The Mayflower, to William Penn, religion has been, and remains, one of our nation's highest cultural values. Tied to the value of religious freedom came the values of Protestantism. Which is, in my view, the understanding that a man's relationship with the Holy Father is a relationship best defined by the individual.
Yes, it can be inferred that I don't believe that all religious sects, traditions, or movements accurately reflect the relationship that I have with my God. That doesn't make me right, and others wrong. It does reflect on the wisdom of our Founding Father's reluctance to establish a State Religion when they founded our Nation.
I was watching a commenter the other day--looked for a cite, it was Kudlow I watched, couldn't find it--on MSNBC. The conversation evolved around recent regulatory changes, from the EPA, to Dodd-Frank, and the issue was, when does regulation move from common sense to devolutionary extremism?
The question from the Left was, don't you want to be protected?
Well, do you, punk?
Again, we're coming back to the essence of what it is to be an American. What should we teach our young Johnnie about America, and the people who live and work in America?
In microeconomics, we teach the simplest transactions as examples of what are the rational characteristics of transactions. I have two apples, you have two carrots. I would like a carrot, and am willing to trade an apple for a carrot. If you're willing to trade a carrot for an apple, we have a transaction. Nobody was coerced. And, since I have something I wanted, and the one I traded with has something he wanted, we're both better off!
Imagine! Capitalism means traders are better off for trades!
Regulation would mean that someone outside of the trade would determine the "proper" trade. The regulator may not like carrots, and would impose a carrot tariff on apple trades. Only if one could get two carrots for an apple would the trade be approved by the regulatory agency. Are either of the two traders better off? Well, yes, the carrot trader.
But who should determine the value of any trade? Investment? Financial transaction?
Don't you want to be protected?
I don't. But that is the hiatus from freedom the Left is currently engaging us with. I can decide for myself what anything I want to purchase is worth, from banking services to shoes. Are you sure you want government regulation transactions? Do you want to be told you can't buy, or sell, a twenty-ounce soft drink?
Freedom is the natural state of Man. No matter how much you may want we to agree with you, if I don't there's not a thing, short of my death, than can divorce me from those ideas I hold as true. Just as the Apple man wishes to trade his apple for a carrot, the intervention of the regulator does nothing more, nor less, than distort the markets for apples and carrots. And the regulator gains no advantage, other than extorting markets to reflect the tastes of the regulator. Again, it's a matter of tastes and preferences, only now, it's the tastes and preferences of the regulators, rather than the market participants. And how, again, exactly, does the regulator have superiority when it comes to tastes and preferences? Did he wake up in the morning with superiour skills, insights and preferences?
Don't protect from the traders I do business with. If he's a liar or cheat, you and I will find that out. Hopefully, sooner than later. Where is it, that I need the protection of a regulator?
Er, well, perhaps. What is John Corazine doing today?
Oh, he's a Democrat.