Friday, July 17, 2009

Do you deserve liberty?

We are barely seven generations removed from what I consider to be the "greatest generation." The founding fathers, brothers, and sons who suffered immeasurably; sacrificing their lives, comfort, and wealth to make possible the freedoms that we, their spoiled and ignorant posterity now freely discard.
I cringe each time I hear someone state "I don't get involved in politics" or other similar comment as if it were a display of virtue. I estimate many, if not most Americans spend more time in front of a television on a single weekend than they spend all year learning about government, politics, or just plain thinking. The American dream once stood for the opportunity to pursue happiness, along with the other unalienable rights of Life and Liberty. Our system of government was intended to give people the freedom to live as they wished, provided it didn't impinge on the unalienable rights of others. That opportunity is no longer a reality.
Greed, selfishness, and good intentions have all convoluted the intentions of the leaders who birthed our country. Democracy only works if citizens are both educated on the workings of government and are respectful of the rights of others. Uninformed citizens, or the "mob" as H.L. Mencken referred to them, will almost always regress to the lowest common denominator, electing and voting their way to ignorant oblivion. Which, if not for the rest of the population being taken down with them is not disadvantageous. Alexis de Tocqueville remarked "Democracy in America is doomed when the people learn to vote themselves money from the public trough...", something we've increasingly been doing since the New Deal, plunging our country into deeper debt, and ultimately abdicating our freedoms in the process.
We do not need more laws or regulation, bailouts or cash for clunkers, and perhaps most importantly we do not need to make the world safe for democracy. What would be constructive is for citizens to be responsible for themselves and allow others to do the same. What are you doing (or are going to do) to become a productive member of our country and attempt to slow the devolution of our society. Democracy needs virtuous people to survive, are we too far gone?

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