Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Condolences for Dependence Day

I wanted to greet you today with "Happy Dependence Day!" but that didn't seem right. How do you greet someone on a Day of Infamy? You don't say "Happy Pearl Harbor Day", do you? So, today, I condolences instead.

Now, on July 4th, we celebrate Independence Day as the day we declared ourselves independent of the government of Great Britain. While we celebrate the independence from government that was made official on July 4th, 1776, the truth is that Independence is at the core of what makes us Americans. Our first colony--Jamestown--was founded by the younger sons of noblemen who, because they weren't the first-born of their families, were unlikely to inherit their family's wealth. Our second colony--Plymouth Rock--was founded by pilgrims in search of a place where they could live their religion independent from government authorities.

In both places, individuals and communities had to learn to survive on their own, to value individual initiative, and to appreciate the individual's desire to seek prosperity for himself and his family--for, if your family doesn't prosper, you cannot provide for your community's needs. The pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in particular discovered that putting the needs of the community over the needs of families dampens the spirit of those who work, and thus, dampens the prosperity of the entire community.

Both places had to learn to survive first, above all else, the hard way: in their first winters, about half of each colony died of starvation.

This ethic of hard work, individual initiative, and lending a helping hand to those in the community who are struggling, was further molded into the hearts of Americans as we repeated these steps on the Great Plains, in the Rocky Mountains, and on the Pacific Coast. And these steps are repeated by many immigrants, both legal and illegal, as they come here from poisonous political environments around the world, seeking prosperity and even peace for themselves and their families.

It is this ethic that has made the United States of America the most prosperous nation the world has ever seen; it is this spirit that has made the world more prosperous than it has ever been before.

It is an unfortunate maxim of life that people who seek power seek also to destroy the Spirit of Independence--for an independent people will seek to do things as they see fit, which makes governing them difficult. Sadly, it is also a maxim of life that uncertainty and independence go hand-in-hand because we cannot control, cannot guarantee, that others will always make decisions that will benefit us. Thus, those who seek power over others will promise "security" and "safety" as an alternative to Independence. As we listen and succumb to this siren call, we become more Dependent on those who seek power over our lives.

This is why today, the 14th of August, 2011, is American Dependence Day. While it is true that Kings, Emperors, Presidents, Governors and other rulers throughout history have produced schemes to destroy independence, it is this day, more than any other, that stands out as the Day Independence Died. It is this day, Three Score and Sixteen Years Ago, that Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the first major Entitlement Program directed towards the Middle Class: Social Security.

And it is no coincidence that it was signed into law during a decade of catastrophic insecurity, caused in large part by policies put into place by Franklin Roosevelt himself, as well as his predecessor Herbert Hoover. This act single-handedly, albeit gradually, pushed us to be dependent on Government for our retirement and for unemployment compensation. Social Security further opened the doors for other programs--particularly Medicare and Medicaid--and thus our acceptance of help from Government is all but secured.

Ironically, the "insecurity" that Governors seek to protect us from is caused by the very people who wish to protect us from such insecurity--and, as we can see today, in an era where our Federal Government is spending more and more money it simply does not have--the very proposals offered only provide an illusion of security, rather than the real security provided by individual savings, a support network of family and friends, and charity from communities, churches and other private organizations.

But that doesn't matter to Governors. Now that Social Security is in place, if the Governors want Govern how they please, they just have to threaten Social Security, and they can count on millions of Dependents to flock to their aid.

I suppose that today we could mope and accept our Dependencies. If you were suckered into this Ponzi Scheme by promises of high returns and guaranteed security, I would not hold it against you if you plan on just living the rest of your life on the meager "benefits" the Government offers for you. Indeed, if you are among the injured or aged who live off of Social Security, you might not have the energy it takes to divorce yourself from this Ponzi Scheme, or the many other such schemes of slavery offered by Government as "services". It is my hope that we will be able to support you in the day that these programs offer sufficient support. Whether it be because of inflation, or governmental collapse, or even just the cancelling of these programs, such a day may come, and it may come upon us more quickly than we can expect. My deep admiration, however, goes to anyone who is old or otherwise infirm, and originally dependent on Government, but manages to pull themselves off of this Dependence.

But I, for one, I have many steps to take before I'm completely Independent.

And above all else: If any politician offers you, or someone you know, money taken from tax payers, vote them out of office! For too long, we have accepted bribes from our public officials--bribes paid for by money taken from us! To end the Dependence, this needs to stop.

Finally, to those of you who are convinced that we need to depend on Government for our security, I echo the words of Samuel Adams:
If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.

Update: I decided to look up "Dependence Day" and see how others were using it. I found Mark Steyn's essay lamenting the fall of the Anglophone Empire. One paragraph stood out:

After the London Tube bombings, Gordon Brown began mulling over the creation of what he called a “British equivalent of the U.S. Fourth of July,” a new national holiday to bolster British identity. The Labour Party think-tank, the Fabian Society, proposed that the new “British Day” should be July 5th, the day the National Health Service was created. Because the essence of contemporary British identity is waiting two years for a hip operation. A national holiday every July 5th: They can call it Dependence Day.

Yikes! Someone who approves of government dependency came up with the idea for the day as well--at least, in all but name--but for similar reasons--except that he's happy for it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Glimmer of Hope

As my wife and I were listening to the radio the other day, my wife had an interesting observation about the riots in London, compared to the antics of the Tea Party.  She pointed out that in Europe, when they have uprisings, it is to preserve spending and dependence on Government, while in the United States, the major protesting is done to curb spending, and to cut things back.

While not perfectly true--a large number of Tea Partiers don't want to cut back on Medicare or Medicaid, for example--it's a very interesting observation.

And this observation gives me hope, that things will turn out all right for America after all....