Celebrating our independence daily

As we prepare to celebrate our country’s declaring independence from the England 237 years ago this July 4th we should take a moment to consider our independent status.

Understand the interest in separating from the Crown in 1776 was not uniformly embraced by all members of the colonies. A good number were perfectly happy under the protection, and the costs of that production, for the apparently safety, security and certainty of England. They did not see dependence on the whims of the crown as having a negative effect on their own well being, and perhaps found some comfort in the assurance that King George would look out for them, even though it came at a price, the price was not apparent to many, whose concerns were living their life day to day without risk or complication.

Fortunately liberty from the old world, the old way, and whatever certainty and safety it promised, and the interest of self-determination and self-rule was held by a large enough majority, in addition to the sense of unity as a people enabled us not only to declare our independence but gain it through perseverance and ultimately force of arms that set our great experiment in liberty, accountability and self-determination into action, and through hard work, good fortune, good luck and the grace of God (at least in this author’s estimation) we have emerged 236 years later as the beacon of freedom and envy of the world.

Freedom as we’ve known it comes with a personal cost... participation in our own governance and vigilance of our own elected officials, agencies, bureaucracies, and holding those institutions accountable to our system of government as established by our own Constitution. In this cause, just as in the original case for separation from England, there remain a sizeable core who would be happy to end the experiment in freedom tomorrow. Some profit greatly from the ongoing turmoil (that would be the legal community), while others find the idea of private property rights quaint but antiquated, and everyone’s being entitled to a free lunch, literally and figuratively, with no accountability or effort to earn their own way.

Speaking your mind has been a treasured right from our founding, although the past four decades many have gradually accepted the cancerous notion of political correctness that imposes social penalty from those who would dare to voice opposition or speak or defend standards of conduct. How very European. King George would be proud.

The answer then and now is in participation, voicing your opinion and supporting those ideas that encourage independence in action, interest in community, recognizing priorities and being productive.

The issues in much of our nation give us a very clear choice between taking action, and talk, celebrating a common ground or making political gain by pitting one group against the other, working and creating or seeking the illusive free lunch.
But it all starts with participation in the process, speaking your mind, and taking action.

Red herrings

The current political circumstances demonstrates again and again that part of our population is drawn to the proposition that there is a free lunch and they are entitled to it by virtue of being alive and their ever paying for that lunch should be optional, with the understanding that you’ll never “really” have to pay. And the most bizarre twist of all comes that those objecting to this nonsense are demonized for being “insensitive” and “immoral” for not blessing this foolishness.

This past year we’ve had two recent examples.

The first was the hewn cry from a female law student that she should be entitled to free birth control pills as an entitlement. We’re not at all sorry at seeing this for what it is (although we’ll modify the phrase): el toro poopoo. It is not a women’s issue, but an issue of sheer greed and private overreach. This is taken by some to be a progressive issue, and we’d certainly agree. It’s an issue for those who think the world owes them a living at our expense, and stretching it as an entitlement could only fly in the wildly socialist left.

The second is the student loan issue, where a good many with college aspirations look to taking out government guaranteed loans to pay for it. The level of indebtedness many are graduating with is pretty stunning, some reaching into six figures, yikes!

The root of this is in our primary and secondary schools that plant the idea “...to get a good job you have to have a good (which is to say a college) education,” that has been peddled at least since the 1950s where the push was on for graduating more engineers and scientists for the space race. Historically, then and today, college graduates have demanded higher wages and greater opportunities.

I’m a member of that Baby Boom generation, and recall distinctly the message that college was necessary to succeed, but it was evident then and now that while additional education had it’s benefits, there were a number of options, and that college is NOT for everyone, and not because (as many would cry) they couldn’t afford it, but because many individuals interests, and more to the point many of societies needs were for an array of talents, skills and jobs well beyond the scope of colleges and universities (a moment for the college grads to gasp at this heresy).

And the idea of going into debt to go to college was not even an issue especially for undergraduate degrees! While this may be an astonishing concept to today’s collegians, we tried to “anticipate” this cost by “saving” for it over time that would be through having jobs, working, and being part of the economy, and then working once in college to pay our way through. What it meant to achieve this end was being “poor as a church mouse,” doing without, sacrificing social lives and prioritizing every nickel to make ends meet, and perhaps even going to school part time, or working to save enough money, then returning to school. It was not an uncommon thing in any sense. I can think of countless loggers, and many other former collegians, who did this very thing. The idea of being in debt at all, yet alone to the tune of five or six figures, would have brought you considerable ridicule.

Today, leaping into debt for college is not only to be acceptable, but expected... even our humble president (that would be Pres. Obama) and the first lady have taken that path.

But to purposefully put yourself in debt, and then complain about it, and complain that the job you’ve been told all of your life you were guaranteed by virtue of a college degree, fails to hold yourself accountable for your own action, or inaction in not planning, not saving, not researching before you acted. It is demanding rewards in a world that quite clearly has no more guarantees today than when your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents were in that position.

Quite frankly, we’re not sympathetic. We think to follow an educational course, which does not prepare you for the real world is a fault of your own making. Buying (actually borrowing) what you cannot afford is unwise and embodies risks your ancestors would not have taken precisely because their survival depended on good judgment and planning.

As it stands, we have an attitude groomed in this country that there should be no risk in life, that everything is guaranteed, and you will never be held accountable. Kick the can down the road, charge it, and tomorrow will take care of itself.

Reality is quite different from this fantasy. Those making policy decisions today would like to distract the hard issues of responsible spending, public, social, business and fiscal policy by these “red herring” issues in an attempt to define black as white, increased taxes as necessary, and increased spending as investments in the future, all while killing the dollar’s value, eliminating accountability, punishing fiscal responsibility of individuals, and piling huge debt loads on our children while continuing to slay the golden goose that built this country’s standard of living as the envy of the world.