If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?

Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it.

An awesome quote from the movie Braveheart. Seems fitting here.

The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow. – First Follower: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

Those who regularly read this blog may have noticed that I haven’t written on the topic of liberty for several months. There are a few reasons for this. To be honest, I sort of needed a break after the election season (and the somewhat depressing outcomes). Then life and work got in the way. Once I stop writing on a topic, it’s a bit hard for me to start back up at times.

However, I am easily triggered to write when I feel I need to respond to something. So while I wasn’t writing on this blog, I was writing various responses to some postings on Facebook. I’m sure some of you know the feeling of standing up for what you believe. At times it feels like being a Spartan at the Battle of Thermopylae, standing alone against a seemingly unstoppable horde.

But surprisingly, following a few comments where I was the lone voice in support of freedom, I received some private messages encouraging my opinions. I’d like to share a couple of those:

heya. we have a mutual friend, (name withheld). I wanted to drop you a private message to say how much I appreciate your thoughtful, articulate comments. I avoid politics on fb at all cost… it just never ends up well. Most typically just want to have their beliefs validated and reflected back… and most of my fb friends are left of center. I’ve witnessed A LOT of ‘interesting’ posts on (name withheld)’s wall and just bite my tongue. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for voicing basic, conservative ideas in a calm and thoughtful way. cheers!

And another

I read your replies on (name withheld)’s status….all I can say, ROCKSTAR!!!! I could read your responses all day long!

It felt really good to get some validation; to reinforce the fact that I am not alone in my ideals. Yet, it is frustrating to know that people who believe like I do stay quiet. Most keep quiet out of fear. Fear of standing out. Fear of voicing a dissenting opinion. Fear of making waves. Fear of alienating friends or clients. I get that. For a long time I had the same fears. But eventually I grew tired of sitting on the sidelines. I could no longer sit idle and not stand up for my beliefs. What I’ve found is that even though you run the risk of alienating some people, you will draw in closer those who share your beliefs. And you have just as much chance of gaining the respect of many, even if they hold different opinions.

Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it.

In light of recent events, it has become increasingly obvious that the traditional mainstream media has failed us. However, The New World of Technology lays out an incredible opportunity before us and, I believe, a corresponding responsibility. If traditional media is not serving our best interests, it is up to us to pick up the slack. Social media allows us to disseminate information in ways never before possible. Where in the past we were somewhat beholden to big media to get our information, the Internet and now social media has given us access to a plethora of new sources of information – and more importantly – the ability to spread that information on our own.

I bring this up because I believe the time is now for those who believe in individual freedom and responsibility to speak up. It is time to show the country that there is a tidal wave of support for liberty and small government ideals. We can no longer afford to keep quiet. We no longer have the luxury of complacency. The good news is it doesn’t take much to get this tidal wave started. Every little thing can help. Simply posting your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter is a start. Post news articles from non-mainstream sources that counter the traditional media biases. Question everything. Stand up for freedom. The more you do it, the more others are encouraged to do it. If you watch the first follower video on YouTube, you will see this process in action.

The country is in your hands. Do you have what it takes to build a movement? Do you have the courage to be one of the first followers?

It’s Easy To “Invest” Other People’s Money

Crony CapitalismOne of the themes of the various speakers at the Democratic National Convention is that we need to invest in the country. Yes, of course we need investment in infrastructure, education, scientific and technological research, etc., etc. But why is that the job of government, much less the federal government? Is it not better for free people to make their own decisions on when and how to invest their own money? Is it not right for free people to freely choose to invest in the things they think will create the most benefit? Certainly this is better than allowing a select few politicians to forcibly take the money of others and dole it out to their political favorites. This is still the land of the free, right?

For all the talk about rigged games, leveling of playing fields, fairness, and not playing by a special set of rules, isn’t what they are proposing completely contrary to those ideals? Talk about playing by your own set of rules. Isn’t what they are proposing crony capitalism at its worst? After all, the money they claim they will use to “invest in our future” is simply money they forcibly took from us. It’s money that we can no longer invest ourselves. It’s money out of our pockets that we can no longer put towards our children’s education. It’s vital capital that can no longer grow our small businesses. They aren’t growing the economy. They are simply shifting money from those that earned it to those that have the most political influence.

By claiming that only government can make the needed investments in America’s future, aren’t they basically saying that we free people aren’t smart enough to take care of ourselves? That we aren’t wise enough with our own hard-earned wealth to know what to invest in? That the few of them are smarter than the rest of us? Aren’t they basically saying we can’t be trusted with our own wealth? Because if so, they are ultimately saying that we can’t be trusted with our own freedom.

Obama – That Seat’s Earned, Not Taken

Obama - That Seat's Earned, Not Taken

That Seat’s Earned, Not Taken

Barack Obama’s Twitter page just posted this picture in response to Clint Eastwood’s “empty chair” routine at the Republican National Convention. The caption in the post was, “This seat’s taken.” Respectfully, Mr. President, that seat’s earned, not taken.

Freedom Sells

I Love FreedomAs seemingly divided as this country is in today’s political environment, I have taken notice of one fascinating trend. No matter what the issue, no matter which political persuasion, no matter which “side” of an issue people claim to be, I find that most people are actually fighting for the same thing – their own freedom!

Let’s take a look at some of the current issues of the day. I will describe what each side thinks they are fighting for, not necessarily that either side is correct in their way of thinking.

  • Gay Marriage: one side is fighting for the freedom to marry whomever they want; the other side is fighting for their religious freedoms
  • Healthcare: both sides believe they are fighting for freedom in healthcare choices
  • Gun Rights/Gun Control: One side is fighting for the freedom to bear arms; the other side is fighting for freedom from violence
  • War on Terror: One side is fighting to end war because they believe it infringes on others’ freedoms as well as their own; the other side is fighting to protect their freedom from perceived foreign threats
  • Drug Prohibition: One side is fighting for the freedom to choose how to live their lives; the other side is fighting for freedom from drug-induced societal problems
  • Economy/Taxation: Both sides believe they are protecting their financial freedom
  • Abortion: One side believes they are protecting the freedom of women; the other side believes they are protecting the freedom of babies

Name any political issue, and if you dig down deep enough, you find that each side is simply attempting to protect their own freedom. So how is it that if each side is fighting for freedom, we can seem so far apart? The problem isn’t in the freedom. The problem is in the idea that in order to have freedom, we must infringe on someone else’s. Of course, as I’ve written before, big government politicians foster this win/lose, us vs. them, class warfare mentality. It’s in their own best interest to blame anyone else for society’s problems. As long as they can keep the attention diverted away from themselves, they can keep people from looking at the real source of the problem – big government itself.

As I’ve shown above, freedom is very popular! Who doesn’t want freedom? We love freedom. We love it so much we’re willing to fight to protect our own freedom, even if it means trampling someone else’s freedom. But what we don’t understand is that by oppressing someone else’s freedom, we destroy our own. Because in order to keep someone else down, we must turn to the force of big government. By giving big government the power to infringe someone else’s freedom, we give big government the power to infringe our own. No matter how justified we think we are in protecting our own freedom at the expense of someone else’s, it won’t be long before that power is used to infringe our own freedoms.

What we need to strive for is solutions to problems that do not involve the force of big government. We need to look for win/win situations where everyone’s freedoms are protected. We need to stop blaming, and start cooperating. Many of us need to change the fundamental way we look at the role of government. The recipe for this transformation involves a main dish of  “live and let live,” served with a side of “respecting the hard work of others,” washed down with a nice, hot cup of “comprehending the difference between freedom and morality“. In future articles, I will take a closer look at resolving the above issues using win/win mentality.

Vote From the Horse’s Mouth

The Horse's Mouth

Oddly enough, we’re relating politicians to horse mouths, not the other end of the animal

In listening to the political rhetoric this election season, one phrase comes to mind, “straight from the horse’s mouth”. I’m hearing many politicians put a lot of words into their opponents’ mouths. In many cases, the claims are outrageous. Assertions of politicians wanting to hurt people, charges of hidden agendas against women or other interest groups, and accusations of criminal activity are just a few examples of all sorts of the crazy things being levied.

What I humbly suggest to all voters this year, regardless of which way you ultimately vote, is to base your vote on what is coming from the proverbial horse’s mouth. Instead of believing the wild accusations an opponent says about a candidate, listen to what the candidates themselves actually say. Yes, that means you must trust what the candidates are saying, but at least for this election, that’s probably your best bet. This year’s election is shaping up to offer voters something that we haven’t seen in a long time: races where the distinction between candidates are very clear.

Once all the rhetoric is distilled down, it seems that this year’s major races are largely shaping up to be a contest between people who believe in a drastically different size and role of government. What you as a voter need to decide is your belief in big government or small government. If you believe big government is the answer for society’s problems and want to see government get bigger, you have some obvious choices. If you think big government is the problem and would like to see it shrink so that the people can resolve their own problems, you have some other clear choices. Everything else the candidates talk about, especially the claims they make about their opponents, are mostly distractions. Don’t get caught up in them, particularly the negative attacks. Simply decide how you feel about the size and role of government, find the candidate that claims to line up with your view, and vote that way.

Now if you are having trouble understanding and deciding on the proper size and role of government, then let’s talk …

The Freeman’s Creed

Freeman's CreedI recently stumbled upon the following quote:

I am free because I say I am. My freedom is not dependent on any government benefit or piece of legislation. My rights are inherent in the fact that I was born a sovereign being. They are non negotiable. Government can list them and protect them, but my rights are not theirs to give or take away.

I tried to find where this saying came from but I could not find a source. Oddly enough, the only place I could find it was a couple of web sites, but the most common hit was this particular Facebook posting by Daniel Stratton, a political candidate/commentator from New Zealand. I asked and he was not the originator of this quote. If anyone has any information on where this quote came from, I’d love to know.

In the meantime, I think this “Freeman’s Creed”, as I will call it until otherwise corrected, absolutely deserves its own place on the Internet. Instead of pledging allegiance to a flag and the government it stands for, perhaps we should be encouraging our children (and ourselves) to recite this? What do you think?

Broad-Based Prosperity

ProsperityRead my Obligatory Obama Disclaimer if you haven’t already.

Given some recent comments coming from Barrack Obama, I thought I would finish an article I had started writing a few months back.

During a speech given in early April, Obama is quoted,

Broad-based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few. It has always come from a strong and growing middle class.

Let’s break down some of the assumptions this statement infers:

  • Only a relatively few people can ever be wealthy.
  • Middle class is all the broad majority of us can ever aspire to.
  • Broad-based prosperity is being suppressed by the wealthy.
  • Wealthy people are obligated to give others their money.
  • Americans are inherently greedy.
  • Spreading prosperity requires the force of government.

Now I don’t know about you, but I believe there is room in the world for more than just a few wealthy people. Why should people settle for someone telling them that middle class is all they will ever be? Isn’t that striving for mediocrity? Why can’t we all aspire to be wealthy? Shouldn’t we be focusing on making everyone as wealthy as possible, instead of browbeating people for being “too wealthy” and trying to bring everyone down to middle class?

There is an assumption made by some that wealthy people should be required to give their money to others. That regardless of how much someone may donate to charity, or how much they spread their wealth by spending it on the products and services of others, they still somehow “owe” money to everyone else. As if people have some sort of “right” to the wealth created by others.

Note that there is a big difference between the idea that people should be charitable and voluntarily help others, and the idea that people must be charitable and forced to give up the wealth they created. Those who believe people are greedy and will only help others if forced have a very negative view of the world and this country. Charity stops being charity when it is forced at gunpoint. By believing that force is the only way to create “broad-based prosperity”, they create class warfare where none necessarily existed. They create a perpetual us-vs-them mentality that stymies wealth creation at all levels, effectively counteracting the spread of the prosperity they claim they want to create. Ultimately, they implicitly advocate a violent society.

Unfortunately, this idea that government force is required to spread prosperity is at the core of Obama’s way of thinking. This statement is only one example. “You didn’t build that” is another. Worse, this idea is shared by too many big government politicians and those who support them. Honestly, I think it spits in the face of the American Dream. Obama and those who believe in government force are basically saying that Americans can not be trusted with their own wealth. In other words, we can’t be trusted with our own freedom. I’m not sure if anything could be more insulting to an American.

Let’s get one thing straight. Wealthy people do not suppress prosperity. Wealth is the result of prosperity. Wealthy people can and do share their wealth. There seems to be a train of thought that rich people hoard their money and keep it out of the hands of everyone else. Nothing could be more ridiculous. People with money tend to spend it. Seriously, just think about it for a minute. If you’re not rich, what would you do if you became rich? Would you lock away your money in a safe and just leave it there? I doubt it. You would probably buy a few things or hire a few people. You might start a business or grow your existing business. Perhaps you might invest some of it. And maybe, just maybe, you would *gasp* donate to charity. In actuality, you probably already do many of these things today. If you were rich, you’d just do them all on a bigger scale. If you do these things, don’t you think other wealthy people already do exactly that?

Ironically, only two sentences after his above quote, Obama refutes himself (and makes my previous point) by stating,

“That’s why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so they could buy the cars that they made.”

Wait a second! A wealthy person actually decided to share his wealth? Without the force of government making him do so? Preposterous! Next you’re going to tell me that Henry Ford created a charitable foundation and started a hospital using his own money. That certainly can’t be true. Wealthy people simply don’t share their money, according to Obama and big-government politicians.

Let’s get real. Prosperity, broad-based or otherwise, can only be hindered by big government interference. The bigger the government, the bigger the taxes. By draining wealth out of the economy, there is less wealth that can be voluntarily shared by those who have created it. There is less wealth available that could be used to generate even more wealth. Instead it is siphoned off to pay for layer after layer of unproductive bureaucracy. If you think we can’t trust Americans to share their own wealth, do you really think we can trust a group of unaccountable bureaucrats to do it for us?

The reality is that wealthy people are the most generous. It only makes sense that those with the means to be generous in fact are. The proof is in the pudding, as year after year, studies show Americans are the most generous people in the world. Imagine just how much more generous we would be if government let us all keep more of our own earned wealth.

Remember, Remember, This Sixth of November …


Together we shall give them a sixth of November that shall never, ever be forgot!

Remember, remember!

This sixth of November,

The Obamacare treason and plot;

I know of no reason

Why the Obamacare treason

Should ever be forgot!

For some reason The Fifth of November rhyme has been stuck in my head ever since I first watched the movie V for Vendetta only a few weeks ago  (yeah, I know … I need to get out more). I’m no poet, but after the now infamous Supreme Court Fail it took just a little adaptation and this little ditty was born. Please feel free to spread it around.

The Civil War Over Obamacare


Regardless of how you feel about Obamacare, you must agree that it is one of the most bitterly debated issues in recent history. I personally can not remember an issue in my lifetime that has so polarized and divided the country. Whether you are for it or against it, here are a few facts to ponder:

  • Twenty-six states were part of the case brought before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare
  • 4 of the 9 Supreme Court justices thought it was unconstitutional
  • The one justice that swung the decision originally thought it was unconstitutional and only later changed his mind.
  • The constitutionality of the law was not upheld under the authority originally cited by the legislature that passed it
  • Back when the law was before congress, Obamacare had difficultly getting enough support to pass.
  • With barely enough votes to gain a majority, Obamacare could only be passed using a “reconciliation” procedure that up until that point had only been applied to budgetary matters, not laws creating new policy.

If you knew nothing else, just looking at the facts above, it’s easy to see that Obamacare is a divisive issue. But if you spend any time on social media or keep up with current events, it’s obvious that Obamacare is a hot button topic.

We as a country need to start looking at whether Obamacare is worth the virtual civil war it is causing. Whatever the potential benefits of the law are, we need to start asking ourselves if a law that:

  • introduces such unprecedented changes to the country
  • was passed with the bare minimum of support and only through the use of a controversial legislative procedure
  • was barely upheld by the Supreme Court
  • was only upheld on a controversial technicality
  • has over half the states in the union opposed to it
  • has so many people fighting tooth and nail against it
  • and is stirring up so much ill-will and hatred

is worth the trouble it is causing? This law is supposed to help people, yet all it seems to be doing is generating unhealthy animosity. Yes, people of all political persuasions want affordable healthcare. But do you want it in this way? At what cost to the country are you willing to pay to go along with Obamacare? It is worth tearing the country apart? Could there be better options that don’t pit neighbor vs. neighbor?

Let’s put aside all the debate about constitutionality or taxation or freedom. We should get rid of this law simply because the bad sentiment it is generating is virtually destroying the country. I think it’s a clear-cut case of the cure being worse than the disease. If you claim to believe in the spirit of what Obamacare is supposed to achieve, you know this is the right thing to do. See you in November.

Maybe Walking on Train Tracks Isn’t Such a Good Idea

Headphones and Train Tracks

This is a bad idea of epic proportions.

In just over the span of a month, two teenagers in my area have been killed by walking on train tracks while wearing headphones. Almost certainly, the kids simply couldn’t hear the trains coming over the music they were listening to. While I feel for the friends and family of these unfortunate kids, by watching the media reports of the accidents, I get the feeling that we’re about to see some blame being shifted to the technology.

I don’t know about you, but when I was young, my parents emphasized to me just how dangerous train tracks could be. From their lessons, there would be no way in hell I would think about walking on train tracks, much less do it while listening to headphones! Still to this day, on the rare occasion that I need to walk across train tracks, I don’t mess around with them. Even though where we live there are many fewer train tracks than there were when I was growing up (most of them have been turned into bike trails) I’ve taken the time to talk to both my daughters about the dangers of train tracks.

Certainly, the problem isn’t listening to music. The problem is listening to music while in a potentially dangerous situation. And to be fair, I’ve not heard anyone directly blaming the technology for these horrible accidents. But these are the types of situations that big government politicians love to sink their teeth into. So don’t be surprised if we see a politician or candidate bring up some sort of initiative to ban kids wearing headphones in public or some other such nonsense. It’s exactly the sort of measure that will accomplish almost nothing while taking away precious law enforcement resources to infringe on the rights of free people. It would also serve to reinforce in our young people that government is here to run your life and it is OK to sacrifice rights in the name of protecting people from themselves. While incidents like these are tragic, the continual erosion of our freedoms is more tragic.