Saturday, January 1, 2011

Having it both ways

Along with the joys of seeing family and friends during the holidays that you don't see often during the year comes the common discussions or even debates over the latest happenings, politics and even religion. My holiday was full of great family interactivity...and yes, some healthy debates that I will reflect on during this writing. As always, I readily admit this space represents MY views and outlook on things as well as reactions to other ideas though I try to always keep it "impersonal" and rational. Some of you interact with me privately from this blog while others are welcome to post their views or reactions. Your choice and welcomed from my end...

In debate there are obviously two sides to most any issue...and sometimes those "sides" overlap to some middle ground where we still have much in common. I continue to believe most of humanity...whether it be from religious or political viewpoints...agrees on 80+% of life's fundamentals. We build whole new religions and political parties off the 20% difference versus staying in relationship and continually discussing our differences. I would suggest that continuing to discuss and sort out our differences would be a healthier model than the normal human reaction seems to breed.

The other apparent reality of society is that instead of pursuing rational truths and views...many just go with the flow of the masses and don't question many fundamentals that SHOULD be questioned. It's just easier to stay in the "la la land" of "peace and tranquility" where we let others decide for or lead us so we don't have to make hard decisions or deal with "reality". Many of us continually fill our days with entertaining pursuits, sports, or just keeping "busy" without consciously deciding our daily priorities. For many of us, we are completely absorbed by our jobs/careers and focus on "survival" as we see it. We don't feel we have time or energy to do our own research or heavy lifting mentally on the big issues of the day. Some are content that their political or religious leaders are on top of things on their behalf...and the issues are just "beyond them".

I would suggest that the mass subjugation of the mind through blind trust in the media and philosophical passivity are making us mass slaves to the "powers that be". We Americans grew up in a country founded on individual liberties and "justice for all", yet we now see these core fundamentals flying out the window replaced by complacency and trivial, shallow thinking. We SAY we believe in freedom and independence, yet we continue to support institutions that beat down those values to be replaced with "conformity" and various forms of "socialism".  In my opinion, YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. You are either free and independent and taking personal responsibility for your world...or you are subjugated and dependent on the systems you participate in and "go with the flow".

It is obviously much easier to "go with the flow".  It is no fun to be a minority or to feel alone whether it be physically or intellectually. Yet our history of humanity, both contemporary and ancient, has been spotted with individuals who stood up to the "multitudes" and called a spade a spade. We all grew up being taught to idolize George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Paul Revere, Jesus and/or Gandhi...yet we seem reluctant to emulate the actions and characteristics of these famous people who primarily became "famous" because they stood up for truth and justice usually against great odds of contemporary criticism.  I recently read part of a book that depicted what became of the founding fathers of the USA constitution. A majority of them were financially devastated and limited their whole lives as the price they paid for standing up to tyranny and the "powers that were".

I heard many rationalizations these past weeks from people close to me that were alarming. Many educated and normally sound minded people in my circles seem to want more big government to solve our world's perceived crisis's. Many of us want MORE laws and stricter enforcement and punishments for legislating morality.  Some of us want an America based on Christian "laws" or "values" while others want "jihad" to instill the laws of Islam. Some of us want to liberalize consumer laws to include recreational or medical use of Marijuana and other substances that alter consciousness.  Others of us want those people interned in prison somewhere.  Some of us want open free markets and ability to invest anywhere in the world without governmental interference and unjustified taxation.  Others want the government to control what we do with our money, where we send it or even legislate what rates of interest I can privately agree to pay or receive for a loan. Many want the "government" to guarantee our success or cover up our failures.  Some of us want to spend freely and yet have the government guarantee we have a pension or social security stream when we are ill or too old to work any longer.

I'm sorry folks...but we just can't have it both ways. We either need to grab on to the freedom and challenge to work, save and invest for our own futures and prosperity...or we can go along with government handouts and socialization of our lives based on higher taxation. We can either teach our children with time and example  how to live and love successfully...or we can turn them over to the media and public "education" so society can cover them and dictate to them how they should then live.

My core difference with many is that values and reason are not part of some religion or other institution.  Values and "right thinking" are at the core of all humanity.  Sure, many of us got our foundations of values growing up in certain religions or cultures...but remember that most of the core religions of the world have 80-90% the same values in common. If we can but embrace our commonality, focus on those things we agree on fundamentally...and let the differences fall into the category of "agreeing to disagree" without the need of war or "winning"...we might still have a chance at peace and prosperity for all.

I do not accept the mentality that the "fix" is on and that God and the "Devil" are somehow just playing a game with humanity towards a future apocalypse. I believe we were created and have evolved to a point where our minds and common reasoning can solve any crisis of the world if given a chance. The only way we will have that chance is to get rid of all the demagogues and dictators who want to control how we live. We each need to take responsibility for our own. If we give institutions the control over our rights and our livelihoods...well, we will never be free to live independently or understand liberty as our forefathers did. 

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.  ~Benjamin Franklin

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