Sunday, November 16, 2008

Freedom or Free Dumb?

"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."

-Thomas Jefferson, Author of the declaration of Independence and 3rd President of the United States.


As Americans we pride ourselves on the freedoms our Constitution guarantees us, and that is good.
But, are we using those 'freedoms' as best we can?

For example, did our founders intend to encourage the practice of 'freedoms' like these?

• Freedom to remain uneducated, untrained and unskilled

• Freedom to remain indolent, ignorant and uninvolved in civic affairs

• Freedom to exploit divisive ideological games in the pursuit of power

• Freedom not to vote, run for office or not expect the best from those who do

• Freedom to expect good things will somehow be provided to us because we deserve them without working for them

• Freedom to ignore changes in the world's political, climactic and economic conditions

• Freedom to even try to comprehend the consequences which will result from consistently practicing the above 'freedoms'

I'm sorry I have come to feel this way, and apologize to those who do not deserve to be so categorized.

But, to a large extent these observations contain a ring of truth which we are 'free' to ignore at our peril!

If you don't agree with this conclusion, then by all means try to disprove me.

There is no 'free' lunch and there never has been, but this has been largely masked in our land of relative plenty.

I have been so very fortunate to have been born and raised during the last 70 years, which history may prove were our halcyon days as a Country.
Too young to serve in WWII, privileged with a hard working family with good values, educated in a range of subjects at a time of demand for such learning, employed by several well-managed companies who provided excellent products and services, surrounded by a loving family and friends, sustained by a faith that encouraged an ecumenical, humane approach to life, and blessed with good physical and mental health, I fully recognize that mine has been a life of fantastic opportunity, enjoyment and achievement.
For these things I am truly most grateful.

But looking outside myself, I must conclude the promise of such a life seems now more difficult to obtain for a great many people.
Difficult, but certainly not impossible.
There are still great opportunities in this world, but these are no longer available to those who whose main effort is wishful thinking!

That is why I am concerned about which of our 'freedoms' we choose to emphasize.
I hope that amidst the myriad distractions, that more people -particularly the young- will begin to get back to those same basics that have brought this great land to its enviable status in our era.

That the shining hope which America represents is based upon exercising our freedom to emphasize those principles which lead to enlightenment, achievement that is beneficial to all, awareness of what true sustainability entails, and a dedication to long-term peaceful prosperity.

In the words of Winston Churchill [and more recently, Ben Affleck] , I have also come to the conclusion that we really have no choice but to drastically change from a defeatist attitude based upon fear, anger, greed and ignorance to some standard that is much better suited to us as a country and a people!

"It is the Fear and the Tyranny Up With Which We Dare No Longer Put"