AN END-OF-YEAR THOUGHT by James Jaeger
Surprise of all surprises, I was thinking about the world the other day and trying to figure out a summarizing thought for the year 2011.
Consider. Here we are on this tiny, global speck, squiggling round in these things called "lives." What is common to everyone, especially the millions that are out there protesting? You know what I think it is. They don't feel they have enough freedom.
And what's freedom, that elusive ideal? Seems to me it's difficult to define, but it's simple to define what it's NOT. Freedom is the exact opposite of restriction and regulation, in other words laws. Laws are the exact opposite of freedom, because a law specializes in restricting, regulating -- stopping some action or freedom.
Stopped action is usually stopped freedom. You are not free to DO. If you are not free to DO, you will soon be not free to HAVE. If you can't DO and HAVE, are you free to really exist, to BE? Are you even alive?
So, if this line of reasoning makes sense -- if laws specialize in stopping -- what is the source of laws? Well that's easy: governments are the source of laws. But what "legitimizes" governments? Seems like people just feel that certain people simply have the "right" or the "authority" to govern. Seems that "authority" legitimizes government whether that authority comes from the "divine right of kings," WE THE PEOPLE, some political philosophy, or just the brute force of weapons wielded by psychopaths in uniform.
So what is the Arab Spring about? Seems to me they don't like their dictator any more. What is the Libyan uprising about? Seems THEY don't like the authority of THEIR dictator any more. What about the rest of the Middle East that's on fire? And what about the West that's also on fire, from the Ron Paul Revolution to the Tea Party Movement to the Occupy Wall Street protest? What are all these folks demanding? Again, seems to me the thing they ALL have in common -- from East to West -- is restricted freedom, whether restricted as a result of too many laws, or restricted as a result of too little money.
ALL OF THESE PROTESTS ARE ABOUT TOO MUCH AUTHORITY AND TOO LITTLE ECONOMIC FREEDOM.
Maybe that's the message 2011 is trying to give us. If so, try and have a FREER new year, then maybe we'll all have a HAPPIER new year.
31 December 2011
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