Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence and a Declaration

"Uncommon valor was a common virtue." ~ C.P. Nimitz at Iwo Jima
On this Independence Day it’s more than appropriate to define the word, because meaning is the foundation of sense.

Independence. n. The state or quality of being independent; absence of dependence; exemption from reliance on others, or control from them; self-subsistence or maintenance; direction of one’s own affairs without interference. ~Webster’s Unabridged (1890)

The entry above also includes a reference to our own Declaration of Independence: “The solemn declaration of the Congress of the United States of America on the 4th of July, 1776, by which they formally renounced their subjection to the government of Great Britain.”

Such language resounds deep with the heart of those of us who see the evil that threatens our very lives even today, and at the hands of our own government. Who would have thought that we would capitulate to socialism, to dictatorial authoritarianism, to the backward idiocy of Keynesian policy in such a feeble and docile manner, like sheep: too dumb to know, too stupid to care, trodding underfoot the solemnity of that Declaration.

Today I make my own declaration, because I have seen more than enough: That the government under whose thumb we now scratch out our meager living is guilty. I level the charge that our American government has taken by force of law, by crooked and subversive means, and by crony conspiracy, our God-given right to “exemption from reliance on others,” our God-given right to “self-subsistence or maintenance and the direction of our own affairs without interference.” I declare that our government is guilty of these things and therefore has ceased in any way, long ago, to be a servant of the public—as was its original design. I therefore also declare that it is our God-given right as a free people to throw off the bonds that our own government has laid upon our necks by refusing to be pilloried by it any longer. I trust that those who do not know the definition of pillory will have the sense to look it up; it is indeed instructive.

One might ask, “how then do we go about throwing off these bonds?” I have one idea, and like the best inspirations, this one came to me in the course of a day’s work in the Idaho countryside. I think part of the solution to our many national and cultural problems can be found in a return to the economy of Madison, of Jefferson, of Washington. These were actual men; not the effeminate wraiths in man-costume we see paraded before us today. There was a time in America when we used to not be helpless—that which we needed, we made, or made do, or made do without. We used to produce things, not only consume them. And we used to barter these, the fruits of our labors, for goods or engage in the trade of skill. There was no contractual exchange of consideration (favors), but trade based on debits against equities for which no books can be kept, at least not by honest, forthright, sensible people. That’s how Washington lived; it’s how men in his day thought. Everyone pulled together for the good, for wherever their interests, skills and goods overlapped and became common: where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. They did it not by coercion, not under duress or for fear of punishment. They did it with joy, magnanimity, with no expectation of undue return. There was not some great scramble for riches and power, in other words.

Let me illustrate with an example. The day that provided me with the inspiration for today’s blog was spent not long ago in a small town in Idaho’s countryside, where neighbors are neighborly, and living day-to-day is a team effort, one that requires all hands to carry the load. One of my friend’s neighbors, Rick, was working on his irrigation pump; he maintains a large acreage and raises cattle. A fitting on the irrigation line had punctured from fatigue; a funnel-shaped housing that isn’t simply stocked on the shelves of the small local hardware store, about a 30 minute drive away. Another neighbor stopped by and lent a hand. He’s an expert welder. As the day wore on and the situation was assessed, he ended up welding two large steel plates over the fitting’s weakest areas, mending Rick’s pump, allowing it to be reinstalled on the irrigation system, saving Rick’s alfalfa fields from the hot dry Idaho sun. No money changed hands. No “favors” were performed or called in. It was simply two men helping one another as God had designed.

Let the IRS bear the burden of proof so that these men can be taxed on their industry—if such a thing is possible. I will only add that We the People are not required to volunteer to pay as much tax as possible, contrary to the opinion of our sitting Vice President, who views it as our “patriotic duty.” In fact it is our obligation to minimize the tax as much as legally possible, and there are U.S. Supreme Court decisions that say as much, which is further in keeping with our founding principles and traditions.

I was struck by the simple order of nature that day. Surrounded by mountains in a high rolling plain, we were outnumbered not by bureaucrats but by the dragonflies, the field mice, the raptors that hunt them. A man’s handshake is firm there, his smile is genuine, and self-interest couples unparadoxically with selflessness. A man takes care of his business, and when circumstance overwhelms, his neighbor steps up to the plate and gives that heavy mistress a good hard shove in the back. Hands join in strength to overcome obstacles. Work in the working season begins at sunup and doesn’t stop until sundown, because good hard work is what good men understand they need most. That’s the objective. The purpose of it is to grab hard to life and suck the marrow out. Start early, finish strong, invest well.

This Independence Day, remember. Do not let the toil endured, the risks taken, the grief borne, the blood shed, the work performed by those brave ones who have gone before us rise up in contempt against this generation in witness against her own laziness. Honor the America that was founded as a Union of independent States who formed a government that would provide for the common defense and the impartial regulation of interstate trade, and insist that that government today toe the line; force these “servants” to either serve or vacate the office they defile with the excrement of their works. America, we are more than we have become. It is time to rise up and declare it to be so, to throw off the bonds of our would-be masters and assert our God-given right to self-govern as We the People.

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