On Liberty

You are free to live your life the way you want to. Even if that means 100% dependent on the government for your sustenance. There are so many programs to help anyone and everyone that there’s no limit to what you might achieve either on your own, or at the public trough. The tax code and the laws are so complex that everyone is free to mangle them to their favor. The law is, as it has been for centuries, whatever you can convince a judge it is. The changeability of the system is extraordinary. I do not see the lawyers of this land as a blight, I see them as stewards of the complex society we have. Why, anyone might get a lawyer and sue someone for something. It’s a national pastime. It is liberty. The right to sue anyone. Can you imagine a more important right?

We have a system, yes. Unwieldy and cumbersome, and the bureaucracies to confound you – but it is nothing like in any other country. The countries we are supposed to emulate, for they do it better there, supposedly, are so bureaucratically hidebound that Americans would be in shock. If you think the government here has too much power, you’ve got no understanding of the rest of the world. What a marvelous right to be mostly free from pettifogging bureaucracies. We barely have to interact with them.

We have the right be left alone by the government, mostly. The government has been getting too big. On the one hand it’s sort of benign, on the other hand, it’s unsustainable. You can’t keep taxing people to then give their money back to help them. You can’t overprice your labor and your goods and your set up costs and expect you to get somewhere.

Taxing everyone and everything is not a good idea. When will the IRS be disbanded, and that infernal code be rid of? It is time for a flat tax – surely no higher than 20% – of income or expenditures – which are the same – so we don’t endlessly argue over who is getting what tax breaks and special favors.

It’s time to end the subsidies to every corporation and industry, the price supports, the guarantees, the mollycoddling of the too big to fail, supposedly. Time for some cut throat free markets and robber barons. The incredible system of wealth those evil meanies wrought with steel in the rails and factories of the late 1800s … when the life of every human on earth and especially here in the USA was so much bettered.

Instead of marveling at the elimination of virtually every disease of just a century ago – we complain that one or two are still not solved. It is said they are not trying for they can make more money in treatment than they can in cure. Yet why did they then cure every other disease? Even in the poorest nations there hasn’t been a good cholera epidemic in 50 years. The numbers of people living past 70 has never been higher. Yet it is said that every thing is killing us.

And there is this great talk of the erosion of religious liberty – because there’s oh my god gay folks who support ourselves and cause no troubles save for existence. The religious have the right to scream “god hates fags” … shout it out. But the gay folks still pay taxes and are entitled to equal treatment within the law. There are no “gay rights” — there are American and god given rights that gay folks always possessed. Too bad if your religion didn’t create gay folks … here we are. We too have the liberty to pursue happiness.

Indeed, the pursuit of happiness is the key. Many do it by making themselves ugly and walking around half-naked. Well, isn’t it their right to do so? Exhort them by all means, but ultimately, it is their right to do so. It’s everyone’s right to be a nasty clod, to be ornery, to be left alone, to hate, to not like, to avoid – this most precious right has not been stamped out yet. Some are trying I suppose. The religious should lead the way with “Love thy neighbor” and “treat others as you wish to be treated” – but those two admonitions haven’t overcome the condemnation yet. The religious find it better to find fault with people rather than worth. The political class too, and the media – Fault is what they seek. Good works are ignored, but the bad man gets the headline. We almost glorify the troublemakers. Perhaps it’s what those people seek, the attention.

We have this amazing culture of astounding diversity. No one is deprived of any cultural offering they desire. Especially with the Internet nothing is unavailable. And people avail themselves of it. And the puritans among us – which are legion – seek to stamp it out. Well, so we have black separatists and racist whites gloriously cooperating with each other and staying far apart and living in peace. How wondrous is that? Despising the other, they have recognized the best way to avoid the other, and yet be polite when they do have to interact. Like at the bank line, or the motor vehicle office.

The Christians and the Gays – who supposedly hate each other – have a wondrous way of avoiding the other. There seems to be so few incidents, that when one does occur it’s like a man bites dog story. What liberty the two groups enjoy. To be themselves.

People might live off the grid if they choose, the Mennonites and Amish doing admirably well, and a model to emulate for the liberals who decry the current commercial environment. Absolutely nothing but their own lack of initiative prevents anyone from eschewing electricity and the modern world. Even the fundamentalist Christians might return to their simplicity if they wish. The Orthodox Jews live their lives in relative peace. The Muslims function well in their place. And that’s the thing – people naturally separate into groups. Why this is a problem for some I don’t know. No, folks on both left and right insist everyone else be like them. Sure, they are the forces against liberty, but for conformity.

There’s so many groups, groupings, types, longings and sorts of humanity in this nation that instead of wondering how it functions so well, people are outraged that those people over there are living differently.

We Americans come from vastly different origins. With vastly different histories and circumstances. Somehow, for such a seething hotbed of problems, the most of it works. I live a daily life. I go to the store, I buy what I want. I meet and great people, they meet and great me. The day is filled with pleasant interactions with all sorts of people. Everyone is pleasant. Oh, some exasperating, for sure. Some who I only want to deal with for a few moments at best. Hell, the vast majority I wish well in their lives but stay away from me. And this is OK. This is liberty. The right to smoothly go through life and say “hello” to total strangers and be decent. Sure, it’s OK to be shocked. The Mennonite shocks the yoga pants lady.

But one thing missing of late is pay for it yourself. If you want to live off the grid and go full solar – pay for it yourself. Don’t expect some subsidy to assuage your fears. If you think more trees will help, then go plant them. Implore your local grocery story to allow you to rip out every 10th parking spot for a tree and some bushes … do something besides demanding another law to make everyone do as you wish.

Ah, liberty – we are free now to outlaw plastic bags, because we shall make everyone cut the forests for paper. Or perhaps grow hemp for the fibers for the bags everyone will soon be required to carry for the wishes of some.

Ah, Hemp – marijuana – end the laws against this plant. This is absurd that we imprison people for years for smoking a joint. It is cruel and unusual punishment. It is dangerous to society. The prohibition has not worked. The War on Drugs billions in unwisely spent money. The destruction of lives uncountable. The prisons swell with people who did nothing wrong but wish to relax after a hard day at work and life.

Yes, we are penalizing hard work more and more. Anyone caught working and making more money shall be taxed to help the slothful. And the slothful, quite rationally, will vote for the politician who hands them the goodies.

And look at the upcoming presidential election. Socialists promising more free stuff by raising taxes on corporations who will raise the price of their goods so the money can be transferred from consumer’s pocket to company to government to give back to the consumer, minus the 30% or 40% handling charge. Everything shall be free, but you will pay for it in taxes. Meanwhile, the Christian fundamentalists, not a small group, have seized control of the Republicans – and frankly, the only solution they seem to have for any problem is sissy smashing. They think that by denying humanity and decency to gay folks, the nation will be saved. That we all have jobs and are a net plus to society goes unnoticed. Hell, even the liberals don’t like talking about how entrepreneurial and middle class we all are – why, that would be white privilege – and raise the ugly specter of the taxes we pay and the restraints on our trade being sought and the money we pay in taxes to support the divorce courts and wife beating centers.

Ah, liberty, we Americans have so much of it we’re enraged. Why, those people over there are doing what they want to! – Stop them before it is too late and the nation not be filled with Americans doing what the hell they want. No, we shall claim liberty for ourselves while telling the other fellow he is a threat to the republic for living as he desires.

That’s just sad. And yes, you have to let people be assholes. They have the right to be curmudgeons. They just don’t have the right to make the government do its bidding. But by giving the government more power to control the society, we are now fighting over who will get to grab the machinery of government to squash those other people.

We shall pass a law. So many people demanding laws to be passed, that the government is pleased to oblige, and we shall legislate ourselves out of liberty faster than we can blink the eye.

Ah, liberty – plenty enough for everyone.

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