THE “CAN DO” SPIRIT
A tip of the hat to GordoM of Muskegonpundit for his blog about the same article I’m writing about here.
The link for the article.
Mr. Karabell wrote an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal, about how America and it’s people have lost their “American Spirit”. He uses example after example about the troubles we now face, while hurtful are by no means the worst troubles we have faced and with sure knowledge overcome in the past. Not even close. What is the reason he asks? He answers it by saying.
“Something else is going on – namely a cultural rut of pessimism that is draining our collective energy, blinding us to possibilities, and eroding our position in the world.”
What is this cultural rut of pessimism and where does it come from. Light bulb time. It is a simple thing as all great ideas are, It is a lack of personal freedom that is driving us into that pessimistic rut Mr. Karabell is talking about. It is that lack of the knowledge that we can do something about our own lives. An unsureness of our Freedom. We use that Freedom to maintain Freedom has been and is being attacked from all sides. By Big Government, Big Business, Big Unions which claim we need to let them be a steward over our freedom. Whenever we give up freedom to a larger body for the perceived common good, we lose control over our own life and give it to that larger body. To some point this is necessary to form and maintain a society. Remember that Freedom is the one great piece of currency the American public has had from the birth of the nation. All people have it. It’s those pesky unalienable rights. We had to spend some of that currency setting up a government, but we made sure that we could change that government if necessary because we knew the pitfalls of uncontrolled power. Over the centuries however we have gradually become penniless our currency nearly spent. We traded it at first for the necessary; (protection from threats domestic and foreign). Later on as the government grew and for it to keep growing we traded more of it for perceived threats. Now we simply give it away for what might be threats in the future. On the personal front we spent it first on necessities then on luxuries then on purely ego driven things.
The things we need to change to get the power back are many and deep, but we need to start. We need a new lens through which we look at things. We have to frame the question differently. Instead of what is in it for me? Which of my choices offers me more Freedom. Also we have to teach ourselves everyday to be more self-sufficient. Also we have to relearn the rewards of common courtesy. Education needs to teach self reliance, lessons from our history about Freedom, and most importantly children have to be taught to think talk and write on their own. Not what others want them to think, but how to think.
We need to control the legal system, make it clear and easy to understand. If a thief breaks into my house I should know that I can protect my self and my property and not have to worry that I might be the one in jail. We have to make laws that reinforce my right to live my life the way I chose only limited in so far as hurting directly someone else. If someone has an aversion to red I should not have to worry about a lawsuit for planting roses. Judges need to regain their rightful mantel as the “common sense” arbiter of the law. Example if a 6 year old is suspended from school because he has a butter knife in his lunch box the judge should not only let the child go, but admonish the petty bureaucrat.
We as individuals due to this “unsureness” of our freedom are even losing the ability to demand that we be treated as free people. We must make it easy for individuals to assert their freedom. We have been beaten down into submission by paper work and the constant fear mongering. More and more, individual action is looked upon as being against the common good even undemocratic. But it is precisely that individual spark of the “can do spirit” that is the only thing that can turn us away from that “pessimistic rut” that Mr. Karabell pointed out. Check out the old movie Fountainhead. It warns of this in the 1930’s ? . In the 1960’s it was “1984” by Orwell.
We all get frustrated at by our lack of freedom. At this loss of control. Especially when we see the breakdown of the institutions and people we have given that freedom to. When what they tell us to do is not in our favor. This causes our dislike for the government and the people who work there. We learn to dislike and blame those in power of either party. We also blame things like illegal immigrants, taxes, barking dogs, barking spouses, you name it, anything that bothers us, we complain about it. Soon we get to the point of hating that thing, whatever it is. Dialogue and common courtesy break down due to our insecurity. Fear leading to hate creeps in due to our insecurity. We have gotten the knowledge that we can do something about these wrongs, beaten out of us with the constant drumbeat across the board by the “joy of pessimism”. We hear it on the radio on tv, in the workplace from our friends, from politicians. It’s even in the churches. People are talking about what other people are doing not what “we the people” can do. Or especially what can I myself do. How can I take back some of that currency I’ve squandered. You see it’s really a personal thing. We are the ones who spent our freedom for luxury, thinking there wasn’t a cost. Kind of like overspending on your credit card and the bill comes due. Everybody blames the credit card co. Sure without them we would not have that problem, but remember without us they would not be in business. A solution to that problem is not to get another credit card. It is just as oxymoronic to think that the government will somehow magically give back their power to us. People will however sooner or later try to take back that freedom from a need for survival. I hope it is sooner because even now it would be almost impossible without violence to get some of that power back. We should lose that luxury we fall back on. The luxury of pessimism. The easy way out. Blame somebody else, come on what would John Wayne do? Let’s start trying to be honest with ourselves so we can be honest with others. Who cares if they aren’t honest. I’m selfish enough to know I want to be honest with myself.
From this point on I’m going to try to be an optimist. I’m going to make an effort not to blame others but try to figure out how to make solutions. I do believe that pointing out what is wrong is necessary for change. But it is only a first step. We have to take back the power and learn to have faith that “we the people” individually can make decisions. To a lot of people politics is a war and to think different, one is considered naïve. Remember that in order to form a more perfect union two diametrically opposed factions came together to save themselves from death at British hands and found common ground in politics. With politics they fought a war, and won and created a nation. There are two ingredients to Freedom. Having it and then using it. How we use it will determine whether we will keep it. Politics like guns, or money is a tool, we are the ones who decide how to use those tools. We can use those tools to build with instead of tearing down. It is harder but the righteousness of the work and the self fulfillment from the creation of the product are awesome and the pride of self accomplishment helps to rebuild individual freedom. Remember Freedom is free, but once lost, costly indeed.
Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative
Ps the thoughts in the movie below are always in my mind. My basic default position. Not only the “can do spirit”, but the “I have the right to do it spirit”