Thursday, October 20, 2011

Reflections on Splitting Wood

What is the difference between Liberals and Conservatives?

Between Big Government Statists and Limited Government Constitutionalists?

Between Socialism and Capitalism?

Between wanting to solve our own problems, or demanding the government solve them for us?

Simply stated, that difference is Individual Freedom.

Who should decide what to do with the fruits of my labor?
With your labor?

Arthur C. Brooks takes these questions in his book “The Battle “and explains what is so unique in the American Experience. He even makes a case for what I would call the “American Freedom Gene”.

Although in my case he is preaching to the choir, I admire his work for its focus, brevity and highest of all for the extensive research. (Kind of like reading Thomas Payne with footnotes.)

Newt Gingrich said of the work, and I paraphrase here, that reading and committing to memory the main points will allow the reader to argue and win the debate with any liberal. Coming from Newt, that is high praise indeed.

From the footnotes I have started studying and finding out more and more about the conservative roots of my thinking and perhaps my forefather’s predisposition towards Individual Freedom.

From this study I have been better able to understand what it is within myself that cries out and hungers for Personal Freedom. Also from this and other books I am learning why I am so against all forms of big government and for that matter big Labor and big Business.

I am learning that this is not a negative but The Positive upon which this country was founded upon. This is simply standing up for my right to do with what is mine, what I will. This is not so much an anti government sentiment but rather that government has become anti Individual Freedom.

I have enjoyed all of Mr. Brooks’s titles but this one titled “The Battle” in its scope and incisiveness seems to be ahead of the others. As with his other works as in most of the conservative issues the argument is won, however with “The Battle” not only the argument but the war is won.

I read “The Battle” last winter and blogged about it etc, but at this time when my mind is racing to keep up with the current hectic events such as the different presidential candidates and/or the differences between the Tea Party and the Occupy WS thing are popping up I find I need some reflective time.

In this time of enhanced knowledge distribution with 150 TV channels and all the great resources that come with the internet, and all the social/political volunteer stuff I’m into; I find it helpful to help clarify my thoughts by sitting down in my basement by my wood furnace and reading a good book; especially at this time of year in my situation. That is what rural living and the seasons have forced upon me – reflection and hard work. What free time I have had the last three months has been spent cutting splitting and stacking five cords of wood. Two days ago I started my first fire to get my house temperature from 55 to 70.

This is the second winter in my new home and location. Last year I moved into my wood heated home during the start of winter without wood. I had to cut two days worth of wood a day and shovel/snow blow about a thousand feet of driveway. Each morning before those chores I would get a fire going in my basement furnace and sit and make sure a bed of coals was started and that the house was getting warmed; which took about an hour during which time I would shower and sit and read a book getting warm by the furnace; on a morning without a snowfall the previous night that hour might stretch into three.

These morning books were not fiction (those I saved for bedtime), but were pretty in-depth conservative books. Authors like Hayek, Freedman and others from previous generations. That morning time helped me keep my conservative roots sharp and helped me make sense of the senselessness which I see so often in the world.

This morning I started that regimen again. It felt good. Although I have a stack of unread books I had ordered during the summer it was “The Battle” that I picked up. I felt immediately at home, on top of which I proudly reflected upon the full winter supply of wood I had on hand. This winter should prove a lot easier than last.

This pride in self reliance is part of me and what makes me get out of bed in the morning.

I bring up this snippet of my life to show that there is something in me (the “Freedom Gene”?) through which I find great contentment and happiness fighting through these obstacles. Do not however think that I’m a hermit out in the middle of nowhere. After I moved here I had gotten heavily into politics up here, started a Tea Party and set up a weekly conservative breakfast club to keep my social conservatism intact. I find my personal and social life interchangeable.

To bring this back to “The Battle”, here is a link to a page on Arthur C. Brooks

Check this guy out and his videos. If you like those; read “The Battle” and devour the footnotes. Have a Happy Winter, I will.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

PS. “Losing Ground” by Murray is another good book predating “The Battle”.