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A Prairie Fire
Overgrown, resistant to change, American culture is dictated by reaction, inertia, and feeling , rather than guided by fundamental values and rational thought. Like overgrown scrub pines, stale ideas shadow the landscape of economic and political policy, preventing a sprouting renaissance of new ideas. Individuality, tolerance, and freedom, which can make each individual’s life so much more rewarding, lie dormant.
These stale ‘ideas’ crowding the landscape, are not really ideas at all, but are reactions, and unthinking feeling, brought on by inertia. They attempt to solve a problem by implementing a ‘solution’ which was the main cause of the problem in the first place, a ‘solution’ as old and primitive as man himself, a ‘solution’ which gives short-term results at best, one which spawns many more problems than it cures. The solution of force.
To the extent that man has progressed throughout history,he has rejected force and opted for cooperation (free trade and contracts), ethical competition (free markets), and an objective judicial system (a government of law not man). This progressive man has focused on enlightened self-interest (the golden rule), thereby making life better not only for himself but for his fellow man. The guiding force of this progress has not been the gun, but reason.
The force of the gun can be that of a common thief holding up a bank. The force of the gun can be that of a common thief enlisting a crime syndicate to hold up a bank. The force of the gun can be that of a common thief enlisting a syndicate with a monopoly on force, enlisting a syndicate brought to power by majority rule (Thomas Jefferson’s “tyranny of the majority”), a syndicate called government.
Thomas Jefferson stated that “government should be bound by the chains of the Constitution.” Our government has burst those chains. The rampant growth of a public policy of force has choked many human values worth living for: freedom, individualism, creativity and challenge. In pursuing a culture of security, this public policy has fostered a more insecure culture. In the name of caring, loving, and sharing, politics has used the force of the gun to redistribute wealth. By doing so, it has made the poor, poorer. It has made man less loving, pitting man against man, group against group, all vying for an ever-shrinking piece of government pie.
The failed, tired, dried-out policies of force are well-seasoned for the flame of individual freedom and self responsibility. Prairie fires crack open seeds long lain dormant. May a prairie fire sweep the land, open the seeds of decent human values, and blossom into a flowering renaissance of the human spirit.
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