Freedom from the fringes

Back in my Navy flying days we had a saying: If you’re not getting shot at, you’re not over the target. Apparently talking about founding principles, self-governance, and individual rights and responsibilities puts us over the target, because there’s been a lot of incoming lately.

A lot of the shots come from thoughtful, interested, and concerned people who just disagree. Nature and nurture give us different priorities, values and beliefs. Vive la différence. Thoughtful debate is what keeps us in business.

But all too many reactions are just meant to grab headlines or come from small-minded, unpleasant people who think that tearing someone else down builds them up. It’s easy to wonder why we should suffer some of them.

A lot of this has at its root, or at least in the stem, the confused reaction that so many on the left (do we call them progressives or liberals? I can’t keep track, and they’re neither of those things anyway in the true meanings of the words) have to the role government has come to play in our lives.

“Government should protect us but shouldn’t spy on us. It should fill our refrigerators but stay out of our bedrooms. It should ensure our health care but not tell us what health care to get.” Their ideals are at once libertarian in that government should leave us alone, and communitarian in that it should provide for all of our needs. They are also loath to criticize anyone else’s chosen beliefs or lifestyles … unless of course they don’t agree, in which case they’ll declare those beliefs intolerant.

In the days before suburbs, fast food and widespread prosperity, these self-declared arbiters of cultural mores were largely ignored or left to rot by the larger population, who understood through their works that freedom did not equate to narcissism, and that success was more often cumulative than spontaneous … and more worthy of admiration than of envy.

Click here to read the rest of this post at Sutherland Daily.