The Path to Safety is Always the Path to Destruction

“People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.”

Benjamin Franklin (paraphrased).

This is more than just a political statement. This applies to individuals and societal culture as well. The fear of pain or death destroys the thinking mind, leading to decisions of short term gain that lead to long term destruction. Why is this? Because the violent mind is not always rational, because the fearful mind is never rational, and the power handed over in the name of safety will always attract the corrupt.

The Violent Mind:

The most glaring and important lesson of September 11th, 2001 was all but lost on most Americans. Even with the reinforcement of the lesson by those on flight 93, we still seem to miss the point. The problem was not poor airport security. It was not border security. It was not the lack of power or communication between national law enforcement agencies. It was not even our meddling overseas or our lack of resolve when engaging in military conflict. The biggest lesson to be learned was that playing it safe and doing what the hi-jacker says will not save you. It is not the attitude to have. It is the attitude of a victim. The most important part of avoiding being a victim is not avoiding a bad area. It is not being able to handle yourself. It is having the attitude of awareness, of strength. It is moving without fear. It is not the avoidance of confrontation, but the indifference to it.

I have seen people drum into their children to keep their head down and not make waves. I have seen it drummed into people by law enforcement: “Don’t be a hero, cooperate with an attacker”. Is that always a bad idea? Probably not, but it is not a good idea for a whole society to accept such an attitude. The violent are not always rational. They do not always do what they promise. They do not always hold their end of a bargain. They do not always operate in a predictable fashion. Cooperation, will not always work, sometimes you have to fight them. Perhaps not everyone can, but criticism of those who can and are willing to is wrong. The greatest lesson we should have learned is that we, as individuals and as a society, cannot be weak and fearful. We cannot act like victims. Yet that is what we act like, running around fretting about nail clippers on airplanes. We look like targets. We look like easy prey. We do not look like Americans anymore.

The Fearful Mind:
Fear is the mind-killer. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. These and hundreds of other quotes about fear all point to the same thing. Fear is dangerous because it is debilitating. It creates a state of stress, which leads to unclear and reactive thinking, and tends to shut down logical reasoning. I have seen hundreds of situations where people make a bad move or over-react because they move based on fear rather than thought. Even less personal things like much of the environmental movement is based in fear, and tends to be put forth without logic. People push for things like Cash for Clunkers, not considering that the carbon footprint of making the new cars negates the carbon savings of gas mileage. They ignore the fact that carbon dioxide is not even an actual pollutant and run out and buy florescent bulbs made from toxic materials all because someone scared them with threats of doom and bad weather from global warming. It is amazingly easy to manipulate people who are afraid.

Even if the fear is for a legitimate thing, such as a real risk, the reaction of people can be manipulated easily by those who choose to do so. “Never waste a good crisis”, as Hillary Clinton said, when referring to pushing climate change legislation, has been a common tactic of government. Terrorism, threat of war, weather and other disasters, shootings, and a host of other things have been used to stir fear and gain support for freedom crushing legislation and to make the government more powerful. Even if those crises are real, and the risk they represent is real, it does not justify losing freedom. Worse still, we end up with both a loss of freedom and ineffective policies. Are we really any safer since the Patriot Act or the Heath Care bill or any of the other junk that has been pushed through on the back of fear? No, we are not. We are, in fact, in greater peril as our economic foundation becomes more and more shaken. What good is insurance and government promises if the currency is valueless and production is stagnant or shrinking? Yet people support this stuff in droves. Why? Because they are afraid, and they have allowed their fear to shut down their thinking.

Corruption Seeks Power:
There is a reason that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Its not just because good intentions without thought lead to bad things. It is because good intentions without thought lead to things that can be easily manipulated or taken advantage of. I have already shown how people will make bad decisions, thoughtless decisions because of fear. Sometimes, however, it is not just the power itself that is the problem. Power in the “right hands” can be a good thing. A wise and benevolent dictator that wields his power to grant freedom to all and protect rights is wonderful. The problem is the fact that there is such a position of power at all. It may be that some government power would be fine if it were never abused. The reason I oppose consolidation of power and warn of allowing fear to motivate one to consolidate power is that evil always seeks power.

It is not always the administration that seeks or gains power in the name of safety that is the problem, it is sometimes the next person, one who may not have the best interests of the people at heart. Sometimes power goes to people’s heads, in which case the power sought might have been sought with good intent, but once granted it was not always used justly. The safest place to be is in the place where you are not under the power and control of another person. That is not to say “only trust yourself”. No one is an island. But there is a vast difference with trusting the character of your fellowman and seeking his cooperation or aid, and trusting someone else with the authority to control you or your property.

Fear is often a distrust of one’s self. The fearful person is quick to believe a stranger can handle a situation better than they can, especially if the stranger seems unafraid. The problems arise when too much power is granted to the stranger, because they may be more evil than that which you feared. Even if they are not, such granting of power draws those who would take advantage of power. If you cannot face your fear enough to place freedom above security, then you will create a mountain of power that evil will eventually find and take, and you will be worse off than you originally feared.

In short, I do not prescribe to some no-fear, be a daredevil line of thinking. I get that there is a difference between fearless and stupid. I get that fear is something built into us to help keep us safe, but the fact is that our rational minds are our greatest asset. It is our thinking that will save us, not our reactions and emotions and fearful instincts. When fear takes over, the mind cannot think, and the unthinking mind is the weakest mind there is.

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Comments

  1. Great job Jon!

    On a personal level, it’s difficult sometimes when a close family member hates guns. I do not want to offend or force my beliefs on them, but I also am firm in my beliefs. I have some hope being open about my concealed carry has had a positive effect. After several years of being the only CCW in the family, there is now several. I love being a bad influence.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      @LOI

      Just amused with some irony….

      ….being “open” about my “concealed carry” has had a positive effect….

      sort of like “civil” “war”

      • Ray,

        I’m happy to have provided you with a laugh. At first most seemed to think it odd that I carried a gun nearly all the time. And I was changing my carry gun, looking for comfort and concealment, without sacrificing reliability and accuracy. Got to be a regular question, what I was packing, anything new?
        Now they show me theirs.

        For the record, not a single person has been shot at a family gathering, yet.

  2. Ray Hawkins says:

    @Jon – I found your post equally interesting and alarming……

    Fear is often in used in very obvious and not-so-obvious ways.

    I cringe every time there is a report on a study that “suggests” that x,y, or z we have been doing for years is all of a sudden bad for us……. (the latest being some new study on car seats)

    I equally cringe when you say things like: “What good is insurance and government promises if the currency is valueless and production is stagnant or shrinking?”

    (a) The currency is most certainly NOT “valueless”

    (b) “Production” is NOT stagnant or shrinking

    You are using that (fear) which are so critical of others using/misusing or allowing to control their lives/decisions are you not? The currency in my pocket just bought me a coffee (so it must have some value?) and a cup of yogurt/granola at the local coffee shop (which has also been increasing “production” as evidenced by their additional hours and staff).

    • Mine was a hypothetical example, but I understand your reaction since there was no way to know this from how I wrote it. My point was, what good is a promise of safety if the safety cannot be delivered? Many people go for the safety promise because they do not rationallly consider the long term consequences of what they are supporting. The currency is not valueless, but if it continues to be created from nothing its value will decrease if not disappear. Why would it continue to be created from nothing? To pay for promises of safety, like the health care bill. A rational person would look at the cost and long term effects of a policy, a fearful person is comforted by the promise of safety and looks no further.

      As for increases in production, I am happy to hear about the success of your local yogurt shop, but do not confuse anecdotal, or even widespread growth with long-term economic health.

      I know that, in a way, it could be argued that I am using fear to drive home how bad fear is, but that is not my intention. I am merely pointing out that the real path to safety is the use of the mind, which requires the control of one’s fear.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Understood. Hypothetical examples are frequently seen perceptually as fact – and the example-giver may make no distinction intentionally or unintentionally.

        I agree 100% that rational thought is in short supply. Very good and very timely point.

    • NOw I know, Ray…….Coffee and yogurt/granola? Together? In the same stomach?

      • Yea, Ray, don’t you realize science will soon come out with a study that such a combination causes hypertension in rats?

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @D13 – morning sir – stomach is fairly iron clad. Havin’ Gator Gumbo and a Belgian White for lunch…… 🙂

        • Well….now yer talking….and good morning to you sir….Hope your day is well….we had a little front blow through….50 this morning…but warming up to 80 pretty quick.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      “(a) The currency is most certainly NOT “valueless””

      No, but 10 years ago, one dollar would have bought you 1.5 euros.

      Ten years ago 6 dollars would have bought you an ounce of silver.

      Ten years ago, 285 dollars would have bought you an ounce of gold.

      Today, a dollar will buy you 0.70 Euros.

      Today, it will take you 38 dollars to buy that ounce of silver.

      Today, it will take you 1445 dollars to buy that ounce of gold.

      The dollar may not be “valueless”, but it sure has a HELL of a lot less value than it did 10 years ago, and NOTHING that is going on currently seems likely to alter that trend.

      Ten years is a VERY short time for the dollar to lose such a staggering amount of its value!

      “(b) “Production” is NOT stagnant or shrinking”

      Do not confuse “productivity” with “production”. Worldwide, I would agree with you that production is not stagnant or shrinking. Domestically, 70% of the economy is dependent on the consumer CONSUMING things, the vast majority of which are not made in this country. If you assert that the industrial base and industrial production in this country have grown in the last 50 years, I don’t believe you are correct.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @Peter

        ….and the currency is still NOT “valueless”

        …..I asserted nothing about the “industrial base and industrial production” growing. Its all an entirely subjective argument right?

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          I believe that when Jon stated “production is stagnant or shrinking” he was referring to Industrial Production in, specifically, the US.

          If I am wrong, please correct me on that Jon.

          As far as the subjectivity of the argument, it is my personal belief that all you have to do is look up Industrial Production and the % of GDP which it represented in, say, 1960, and look up the same statistic for 2010, and you will see a marked difference, so in terms of US Industrial Production as a % of GDP, no, the argument is not entirely subjective.

          So, to summarize:

          Yes, the US currency still has SOME value. However, compared to the value it had just a mere 10 years ago, you do have cause to be gravely concerned.

          and

          If Jon was indeed referring to Industrial Production in the US specifically, stagnant or shrinking seems to be accurate in my opinion, and I believe that statistics back that up.

          That is what I was getting at.

          As BF (and I and others) have pointed out, there is at least a certain amount of danger of the US currency actually becoming valueless due to hyperinflation. The answer to this danger is not to give in to fear, but to think rationally and do your best to prepare for that possibility, even though you hope it never comes to that.

          • Actually, I was referring to a hypothetical, albeit one I consider a very realistic possibility if we continue on our current path of fearfully chasing safety. Production is already down (at least as a percentage of GDP) and the currency is already devalued a great deal, so the hypothetical is not unrealistic, but the statement was intended as “what good is this if it leads to a situtation where that happens which nullifies the effect you were seeking.

    • TexasChem says:

      Ray Hawkins posted:”
      (a) The currency is most certainly NOT “valueless”

      (b) “Production” is NOT stagnant or shrinking”

      TC:
      (a) Not yet but it’s buying power is decreasing.

      (b) Production is stagnant and has been shrinking for decades as our economy has moved from being production based to service based.This is fact.Prove it otherwise if you would like to try…

  3. off topic..sorry couldn’t resist

    Toilet paper tax is next! 👿

    http://www.omaha.com/article/20110323/NEWS01/703239866

    • gmanfortruth says:

      Darn, I really didn’t want to plant fig trees, but….

      • Fig leaves are ok….elephant ears are better.

        • gmanfortruth says:

          But Colonel, I’m only around 180 lbs, wouldn’t want to waste resources, someone would blame me for global warming 🙂

          • Gman…….but youjust take 1/2 of an elephant ear and fold it. it is soft, you only need one and the plant reproduces within 36 hours and voila..another big leaf. Especially effective after a rain or dewy night……not that I have had any experience tho….

    • Damn… that’s really bad for Birdman..

      • Matt, sir….how are you this morning? YOu have not beat up on me in a couple of weeks…you feeling ok?

        • I’m in a strange mood today. I’m just now starting in on my first Red Bull of the day.

          My counterpart in Asia is out on vacation this week which makes my job much much tougher, and it’s wearing on me.

          But if it makes you feel better, I can beat up on you a little: Oklahoma is better than Texas.

          Is that better?

          • Ohhhhhhh…….that was really cruel…but I do feel better now. THank you.

            Sorry about your Asian counterpart. I have a really smart ass non politically correct comment to make…but fingers will refrain. Have a great one, sir….and rumor has it that Red Bull and Monster are merging to produce a 42 ouncer called ” I dare you”…heh heh.

            • I don’t like Monster. It’s really quite gross in my opinion.

              I’ll stick with the red bull pounders.

              The real problem with having your asian counterpart out of the office is that you can’t do his job during the hours that the asian countries work, so any issues have to be addressed in the middle of their night, which means there’s a 24hr turn-around for all communication.

              Sigh..

  4. gmanfortruth says:

    Jon, Good article! Fear seems to be way overused these days. In many ways, we all use it to prove points on a daily basis, but fear itself, as an emotion should be removed form one’s mind and replaced with respect. If one respects their enemy, it’s easier to address whatever the enemy is doing to cause fear, with a rational mind. Confidence in ones ability, be it mental, physical, or both is important in removing fear as well. Fear will always lead people to act in a way that is not in their best interest, more often than not.

  5. This made me think of a quote: “Understand from the moment the fight begins that you’re going to take damage. Accept it. (You’ll always suffer more from the idiots and cowards on your own side than from any enemy.) Keep your overall goal in mind above all. Those who swerve to avoid a few cuts and bruises defeat themselves.” ~ L. Neil Smith

    On a related topic: It isn’t “helping” if it’s not wanted.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Kent,

      Your icon looks like a cross between Kent McManigal and Ned Flanders….

      You probably aren’t much of a Simpson’s watcher, but I couldn’t help but come up with that for some reason.

      • Actually, I rather like the Simpsons. I made the icon at SimpsonizeMe.com back when the Simpsons Movie came out. It looks enough like me that people have actually recognized me in real life after seeing it. Which means I should probably not use it.

  6. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    http://junkscience.com/2011/03/23/epa-pays-american-lung-association-to-attack-gop/

    Where does the ALA (American Lung Association) get a big chunk of its money? From the EPA!

    What does the ALA do on a routine basis? Sue the EPA because current EPA regulations “ARE NOT STRICT ENOUGH to protect human health – especially the health of THE CHILDREN”.

    The ALA routinely WINS these cases, “forcing” the EPA to enact more and more strict air pollution regulations!

    So basically, the EPA is SUING ITSELF to force itself to enact more strict regulations, which in turn give the EPA MORE POWER!

    How convenient!

  7. I always like to look at things as weighted odds. When we were going nuts about “terrism” back in the day, I was the only person I knew with a rational voice.

    I remember waking up (west coast time) and hearing about the attacks that had already happened. My mother (who is afraid of everything) was blathering about whether it was safe to let me go to school. I remember my words “It’s two buildings on the other side of the country. Yes it’s awful, but let’s try to keep some perspective.”

    But she did not keep perspective, neither did our leaders, and neither did 99% of the country. They demanded blood and security. No one stepped back and looked at the ODDS – the sheer unlikeliness of becoming another victim. They spent TRILLIONS of dollars and THOUSANDS of lives “protecting” and “avenging” us. And are we any safer? Of course not. But thousands of young men and women in uniform are dead, and millions of innocent non-Americans, too – murdered. We’re bankrupt and we have sacrificed our 4th Amendment rights.

    And why? Because people were afraid and a cowboy promised to “handle the situation” by launching a war against a country which hadn’t attacked us. And the people – really no more than sheep, bleating and passive – followed him into irrational knee-jerk responses against threats that were really never more than a speck amidst a multitude of other specks. Yet we wielded the full collective might of a rich and prosperous people to crush the speck; the speck which by our imagination had grown to maddening prominence, eclipsing the sun and blotting out all other thoughts. Indeed, it had grown to blot out even the possibility of other though. Because the cowards and the power-mad stoked the fires of fear in the nation’s collect psyche, like billows breathing pure oxygen into an already raging wildfire.

    We told our long-time friends and allies, and those who were afraid of our power and would follow us whether they agreed or not, that they, too, must join us in our crusade (and the cowboy used that exact word, too: crusade – hoping, perhaps, to resonate with the righteousness of a holy cause) against the speck, the tiny and insignificant speck. We refused to beg or plead, for we are a proud nation, irrationally proud, but we railed and threatened and extorted and cajoled and bribed and manipulated all the nations of the world. And the other nations bowed to our will – our insane and insatiable cry for revenge and safety – or we shunned them. Shunned them for being rational: “how can you keep perspective at a time like this! The speck! The speck! It’s become a terrible three-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater! We must crush it!” And we, in our pettiness changed french fries to “freedom fries,” just as once we had change bratwurst to “liberty sausage.”

    And in our temper, our terrible fear-induced rage, what did we accomplish? We failed to eliminate the speck, because force alone cannot extinguish this speck – something the few rational minds had pointed out all along as they were shouted down and called defeatist, with their loyalty and honor called into question.

    Time and distance have reduced the specter of the terrible monster back to smaller proportions, but not to it’s true size. It now sits in the back of our nation’s collective conscience not as a monster, but perhaps as a snarling rabid dog with a fraying leash. Ten more years and perhaps it will fade back to obscurity, complete with a full appreciation of perspective. It cannot hurt us, not truly. It is a bee-sting, but no threat to our nation – and never mind the heretical thought that it would not sting if we did not give it good reason to sting. No, the sting itself is painful but not the true danger – the true danger is the allergic reaction, the biological overreaction which can kill.

    But people in the halls of power have seen the potential of this specter. They have seen the way that we will bow before the government and offer our rights and freedoms in sacrifice to the gods that they may protect us from our fears. We are a nation of children running into their parents’ bedroom in the middle of the night because the monster under the bed is hungry and has a taste for human flesh. But the parents – the government, and the men and women behind the scenes – are not comforting the children and pointing out that the “monster” is just the noise of the radiator. No, they stoke the fears and tell the cowardly nation that the monster is real and vicious and has a thousand poisonous teeth. They tell the childlike nation that the monster could be anywhere at any time and strike without warning. They tell us that it is always watching, always waiting, patient and malevolent.

    And they breath oxygen onto the fire so that a nation of children will beg to be saved. They will beg and plead and obey without question. When the demanded sacrifice is the first amendment, or the fifth, or all ten at once, the people will offer it to the gods in halls of power on a golden platter and be grateful. And some will offer more in hopes of appeasing the gods, and the gods will accept this extra because the gods are not inclined to refuse an offering.

    And when the fear recedes, when the rational minds return, will the gods of Washington return the sacrifices willingly?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Mathius,

      After reading that, I think that BF and Kent (among others) are getting to you!

      Also, notice that this trend MERELY CONTINUES with our current commander in chief with Libya as the latest example. Libya was not and is not any sort of threat to the US, its territories, or its troops.

      Seems all we did was go from a cowboy who was opposed to National Healthcare to a cowboy who vehemently desires national healthcare. Other than that, I really don’t see much discernible difference between the two to be honest.

      But the main point is, I pretty much agree with what you posted. 🙂

      • The current gods of Washington are stoking fears of a different speck. No, no, the speck you’ve been fighting is not a monster, let’s all calm down and take a deep breath. The old gods were false gods and they misled you.. oh, but that speck over there? That one is actually a monster – sacrifice unto me and I shall deliver you from harm.

        Meet the new boss!
        Same as the old boss!

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Mathius,

          I would assert that with VERY few exceptions, the bosses have all been largely the same for at least the last 100 years, perhaps more 🙂

          • Nothing changes.

            As long as people allow themselves to be stampeded in fear and ignorance, the inhabitants of the halls of power will manipulate them to their own ends.

            Today it is Washington and Obama, before it was Washington and Bush. Before that, it was King George and England. Before that it was the Catholic church. Before that, it was the pharaohs. Before that, it was the local priests and village leaders. Before that it was the clan leaders. And back into the sands of time.

            Nothing changes.

            At every stage fear is used to control the people – the sheeple – whether fear of external threat (“terrism”) or fear of a higher power (“god”) or fear of violence (pharaoh’s army could kill you) or fear of ostracism (village leaders could kick you out to starve to death on your own).

            It was fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, always fear. The mind numbing, resolve weakening, though destroying, immobilizing, paralyzing, rational or irrational fear.

            Men and women who are not afraid are not slaves. Men and women who are not afraid go where they wish. Men and women who are not afraid do as they wish. Men and women who are not afraid wield their rights with impunity and stand before the world defiant of the “rights” of the gods of the halls of power to take from them that which is theirs by birth.

            Sometimes a greater force crushes them – incarcerates them, breaks them, silences them, kills them. Sometimes a greater force makes an example out of them.

            But sometimes, their resolve and righteousness is so mighty that it alone is enough to withstand a superior power. Sometimes it, alone, is enough to show that there is nothing to fear but those who would wield our fears against us.

            But who among us is truly without fear? How rare are such men and women?

            • gmanfortruth says:

              Mathius, I fear noone. I also fear nothing I have no control of, as that is just silly. I do fear rabid coyotes though, they are very mean.

              • Do you pay taxes? Do you drive within the speed limit? Do you have a driver’s license? Do you smoke marijuana? If so, would you smoke in a public place or keep it hidden? When you cross the border, do you show your passport or assert that you are a free man and will go wherever you damn well please?

                Why?

                If not fear of repercussions, why?

                You are a slave, but worse than a slave, you are a slave who thinks that he is a free man.

              • gmanfortruth says:

                Matt, I work under the table, cash only. I drive as fast as the person in front of me, I have never had a speeding ticket. Don’t smoke pot. I don’t travel outside the country, no need. I want Obama impeached and I’m pushing the issue the best I can. I’m as free as free can be, but would like to see the government gone.

              • Do you have a driver’s license? Do you pay any taxes at all? Do you have to submit to a background check when you buy guns? Perhaps you do live completely off the grid.

                Is there nothing you would like to do, but do not do because of the government? Is there nothing you do that you do not want to do because of the government?

                Nothing at all? Perhaps you are free.

              • gmanfortruth says:

                I do have a drivers license, which I think is BS that anyone must have one to drive, so I’m buying a horse. When I purchase something that has a tax on it, I am paying it, but not by choice. I buy my guns from private sellers, no background check needed. I do what I do, regardless of government. If you keep asking silly questions, I may start smoking pot 🙂

              • D13’s raptors?

            • I fear the anger of my girlfriend (think rabid coyote). And I fear the loss of my Dad.

              I fear nothing else.

              It may be rare, but I do not think it must be so rare. At times in history, many can be inspired to fearlessness. It can be so again.

              • The anger of my wife can be terrible – it seems that every month, about the same time, we wind up in a fight. Strange how that keeps happening. More like a rabid velociraptor than a coyote.

                Jon, it takes a rallying cry to inspire most men to bravery. And even then, only because they see the strength of the freemen and attach their own fates to their cause in defiance of a power they think may be weaker. They borrow the fearlessness, but it is never their own.

                But Jon, my same question to gman applies to you: do you pay taxes, obey speed limits? If a cop turns on his lights, do you meekly pull over and hand him your license and registration and proof of insurance which the gods of the halls of power have told you that you must have?

                Like gman, are you a slave who only thinks he is free?

    • Well said sir! I would like to craft an equally well written diatribe on safety nets, but I do not think I can match this.

    • Ahhh…Matt..you Red Bull kicked in I see……

      Take your posting…change the word “cowboy” to ego maniac and put Verse two same song….that is where we are today except we are worse off than going into Iraq.

    • USWeapon says:

      Matt,

      I am so disappointed! This would have made for a great stand alone article!!!!

    • Wow, Mathius! Awesomeness!

      It makes me think of the latest from Will Grigg: Hysterical Blindness

      (What is it with me and links today? Do I have nothing original to say? I’m still really upset over the Bernard von NotHaus verdict. Maybe that’s my excuse.)

    • Bravo sir!

  8. 8)

  9. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Silver broke above $38 per ounce today.

    Gold is threatening to break above $1450.

  10. gmanfortruth says:

    Who ever kidnapped Mathius, remember, we don’t negotiate with terrorists, so your stuck with him 😆

    A psychiatrist was conducting a group therapy session with four young mothers and their small children.
    > >
    > > “You all have obsessions,” he observed.
    > >
    > > To the first mother, Mary, he said, “You are obsessed with eating. You’ve even named your daughter Candy.”
    > >
    > > He turned to the second Mom, Ann: “Your obsession is with money. > Again, it manifests itself in your child’s name, Penny.”
    > >
    > > He turned to the third Mom, Joyce: “Your obsession is alcohol. > This too
    > > shows itself in your child’s name, Brandy.”
    > >
    > > At this point, the fourth mother, Cathy, quietly got up, took her little boy by the hand, and whispered, “Come on, Dick, this guy has no idea what he’s talking about. Let’s pick up Peter and Willy from school and get dinner.”

  11. Matt,
    You are correct in a sense, the fearlessness is borrowed….at first. Inspiration is a catalyst, but it is not the thing itself. An artist that needs inspiration from an outside source is still an artist. They borrow the fear, are inspired by it, but it leads to their own abandonment or control of fear.

    As for my own freedom, I do not delude myself into thinking that I am free. I am not. I do not remain in slavery due to fear, however, but because of prudence. I choose my battles. I drive the speed limit because, well, the RV wont really go faster than 55 anyway, and the civic has bad CV joints. I pay property taxes because I do not currently have the resources to fight that battle. I also do not see an opportunity for inspiration in that battle. It remains, however, my choice and while it is influenced by the knowledge that there will be consequences, I do not live in fear of those consequences.

    If I were to be incarcerated, I would be even less free, but I do not fear it. They cannot take away that which is most important. No one can, I alone control that.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Mathius has to realize that life, even for those who wish to truly be free, is full of trade-offs. Some “rules” just cannot be avoided, and some rules are simply easier to comply with than to try to avoid. Does this make the man who wishes to be free a hypocrite?

      No, the man who wishes to be free realizes that no such place currently exists, so it is prudent to pick your battles.

      Follow the rules you must, ignore the rules which you can, fight the rules if you think it is worth your time.

      I am sure that even Kent and BF run into the occasional rule that they disagree with but in certain situations they find it prudent to follow the rule anyway.

      • Even BF and Kent are slaves.

        I’m sure that slaves, working in shackles and considered sub-human property who where whipped and beaten with impunity as they picked cotton for a master who would share done of the profits felt much the same way.

        No, the battle isn’t worth it, because prudence suggests the master will kill me if I try to escape or revolt. So I choose not to fight the battle. But am I not still a slave?

        Comply or die, comply or die. And you prudently choose comply, and perhaps it would be futile to do otherwise, but you are not free.

        Not completely, anyway.

        This does not make you a hypocrite – not at all – but it does make you a slave.

        In fact, ironically, the only way to be free – completely free – is to be a whole-hearted supporter of big government and all of it’s policies. If you agree with and willingly want to do what the government says, then you are free because you are not being forced or threatened in any way but are doing as you wish. Everyone else is a slave.

        Black Flag and Kent McManigal included.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Woohoo! For I am a free man!

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Mathius,

          See below.

          If your mind is free, you are a free man.

        • Mathius,

          Because I avoid the sidewalk populated by violent gangs does not make me a slave to the violent gangs.

          Because I may be cornered and robbed, does not make me a slave to robbers.

          Because I may pay off killers to save my family does not make me a slave to the killers.

          • Maybe it does..

            Are you free to act as you wish? How do you define slavery?

            I say a slave is someone whose actions are constrained by the will of another person via force or threat thereof.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Mathius,

              “freedom to act as you wish” is NOT freedom.

              You persist in a mid-definition, and then insist that others are not free because they do not fit into your incorrect definition.

              You are fooling yourself. One who fools himself and believes in such foolishness is definitely NOT free.

        • TexasChem says:

          Has someone else been posting as Mathius?
          Who is this man?

      • Peter,

        Exactly.

  12. Bama dad says:

    Matt:

    I am in awe of your words especially coming from a man that has previously written so passionately about the need of government involvement in our lives. Could we have a convert here amongst us?

  13. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    “When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything — you can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.”

    Robert A. Heinlein

  14. Bama dad says:

    test

  15. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    “A rational anarchist believes that concepts, such as “state” and “society” and “government” have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame … as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world … aware that his efforts will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.”

    Yup, Robert A. Heinlein again.

  16. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    And lastly (for now) from (you know who) Robert A. Heinlein:

    “I will accept the rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

    • If the slave feels it’s tolerable to be beaten, does that mean that he is not a slave?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        If a slave HONESTLY feels that it is his station in life to be a slave, and that as a slave it is tolerable to be beaten, then one could argue that the slave is free.

        However, if the slave has been hoodwinked into believing that his proper station in life is to be a slave and accept beatings, then that man is a slave.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Mathius,

        The key is “I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything that I do.”

  17. Psychology 101;

    Bullies are belligerent cowards. That is why gangbangers do drive by shootings instead of facing their victims head on.

    Ronald Reagan – IMHO one of our greatest Presidents – stated “Peace through strength”. He was right. When we became weak is when 9/11 happened.

    It is my personal belief that each and every law abiding adult (no felony convictions) be allowed to carry a loaded concealed firearm anywhere in this country without having to obtain a “permit” from any government source.

  18. Mathius,

    Freedom is not measured by the amount of violence you avoid.

    Freedom is measured by the amount of good you enjoy.

    • Freedom is measured by your ability to act in accordance with your free will. If you are unable to do as you wish because of threat of violence or coercive force, you are not free.

      If you wish to stop picking cotton but do not because you are afraid of being lynched, you are not free.

      If you wish to drive 150 mph, but do not because you are afraid the government will throw you in jail, you are not free.

      Not completely.

      Period.

      • Mathius,

        Then you avoiding a rattlesnake means you are a slave to the snake.

        You avoiding the lion from eating you means you are a slave to the lion.

        But of course that is ridiculous.

        And, thus, so is your position here.

        • Maybe you are.

          How do you define freedom and slavery?

          • Mathius,

            Slavery – a man who is property of another man.

          • gmanfortruth says:

            Mathius, Your gonna like this. 🙂 I just emailed the Speaker of the House, outlining Obama’s violations of the Constitution and the War Powers Act, and respecfully demanded impeachment proceedings to begin. Plus, my article on the subject is being hit hard by readers.

            Yes, I’m feeling alittle devilish as of late 🙂

      • Matt,
        Slavery is not the opposite of freedom. The opposite of freedom is being controlled, limited, or restricted. Slavery is one extreme example of this, when one is treated as actual property.

        Am I free? Not entirely. No one is completely free if you take it to the extrme of every possible meaning. I might have no regulations or legal limitations, but if I do not have the means, I might not be free to go to China tomorrow because I cannot afford the trip. Or I might have a disability that makes me not “free” to read. Such extreme manipulations of meaning are not productive, however. Inability should not be classified as “not free” to do something.

        In another sense, I have the freedom to do anything I wish, even kill another person, but I am not free of consequence of such an action. Again, such extreme manipulations are unproductive.

        In this case we are most often talking about “freedom” which has a specific philosphical meaning. Ideally it refers to a state of equal freedom for all individuals, without the control of anyone, since that would violate the equality of freedom. If someone is allowed to use a different measure of violence to enforce control, then that is not a state of freedom. If all people can use the same measure of violence in defense of themselves, then it is freedom.

        Fear is not relevance to the presence of freedom. If I am afraid to go into the forest because I am afraid of it, that is a restriction, but it is self imposed. It may have reason, perhaps there really are monsters in the forest, but it is still a state of fear the prevents me. If, on the other hand, I recognize there are monsters in the forest and do not go there because it is not a battle I desire to fight because it does not fit with my other goals in life or is simply not an undertaking that interest me, then I am not bound by my fear.

        Let us say there is a law against speeding even on one’s own property. If I obey the speeding law out of fear, then I am bound by my fear, but this is not relevant to the concept of “freedom” as I laid out above. If I disobey the law, and violence is used against me, THAT is a condition of not being free, despite my not being afraid of that violence or consequence. If I do not go over the speed limit because I have no interest in going that fast, or like in my case, I am in a vehicle that cannot go that fast, then I am abiding within the law without fear as a motivator. I am not, however, free. The law still exists. I am legally restricted. That I am restricted from doing something I am unable to do is not relevant. If there was a law against parapelegics entering benchpress competitions, it would be a legal violaiton of their freedom, even though none would ever violate that law nor would they abide by it due to fear of consequences.

        Fear and freedom are seperate things. They do, however, cross paths a lot. As your earlier comment on the aftermath of terrorist attacks so eloquently stated, fear motivates people to give away freedom. It is that fear that I rail against, the mindless fear that operates unchecked and will seek any illusion of safety without thought or reason. Like I stated, I am not recommending everyone become a daredevil, I just recommend everyone choose to think and put reason above fear.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Mathius,

        Your position on what freedom is and is not is so far beyond ludicrous that I don’t even want to begin to explain it to you.

        Until you have at least a BASIC understanding of what freedom is, and what freedom IS NOT, this is not even a productive debate.

  19. 🙂 for comments

  20. Common Man says:

    All;

    I know I am coming in late on this, but my last few weeks focused on this new endeavor has kept me away from the key board.

    Avoiding an area like 8 mile and Woodward in Detroit at 2:00 am does not make me a slave, it makes me prudent and aware. I have no use for that area or whatever it may offer because I have chosen to live an alternative life; one that does not involve corruption or debauchery.

    Pandering an area that you are ignorant of is stupid not a sign or example of demonstrated freedom.

    Because we decide, and the key word here is ‘decide’, to act in a particular way in order to avoid conflict or harm demonstrates our freedom; not the opposite as Matt claims.

    The other thing John is commenting on is functioning as a rational freeman who uses his/her mind. Choosing to acknowledge certain conditions and boundaries does not make us a slave to specific restrictions; it makes us a thinking being. Deciding that because I am free I am allowed to crash a Hells Angels rally adorning Mongols colors is stupid and/or a death sentence.

    Be free is about functioning with intelligence and experience not doing whatever you so choose to prove your are free purely for the sake of demonstration.

    As an example: I was invited to a friends house who lives in Downtown Detroit last Sunday night. Although I do not care for the city I decided to go and enjoy the evenings events. Because I was going to Detroit and my truck was going to be parked out in the open for a few hours I decided to remove all values and set the trucks alarm. Additionally I packed the Glock model 22 along with 3 extra clips and strapped on the ankle holster which housed the Walther PPK .380. Was a slave? No, but I was prepared, and I was mentally set on ‘amber’ at all times.

    That is not a slave, that is a thinking man who lives free.

    CM

    • TexasChem says:

      Sorry guys!

      I have to agree with Mathius here.

      If you have to go out of your away to achieve a purpose because that purpose is being hindered by a logical conclusion of fear of harmful violent acts then it stands to reason that your actions are indeed being influenced if you have to take an alternate route. Your free will to choose is being imposed upon by another therefore you are a slave to their will.

      It is basically the same arguement I have seen used against taxes.I believe taxes imposed upon me without my agreement are theft.Our government rapes us and justifies that rape by defining it as democracy!

      Govt. official says “You voted them in so therefore you have to be in agreement with their views since they represent you.”

      I fear going to jail and not being able to support my family so therefore I pay 42 cents of every dollar I EARN for that fear…This debauched government we have angers me to no end people.

      After researching the political and idealogical views of several current politicians I believe we all need to get behind and support these three men.They can be the monkey wrench thrown into the cogs to derail this run-away locomotive we call the federal government if they are given that chance by the people.If our elections aren’t actually rigged as I have a sickening feeling they are that is.

      Allen West
      Herman Cain
      Ron Paul

  21. Common Man says:

    Oh, and because I have prepared my mind to act verses freeze, and because I choose to maintain awareness, I avoid conflict and/or enslavement.

    There is an air about those who live prepared and unafraid that enables them, and keeps them from much harm. Experienced hunters and woodmen posses this air, and I suppose some city folk do as well; at least in their city environment. Interestingly hunters and woodmen can recognize danger in either environment, but I don’t think the same is true with city folk.

    A few years back I was hunting in Arkansas during turkey season. It had been a long day and I was tired and wet from the late rains. So, I decided around 3:30 I would head back to camp and call it a day. As I walked up a ridge line and came around a bend I looked up to see a male mountain lion perched 7 feet above me ready to leap, I backed up about two steps and drew my knife, crouched and calmly said “Brother, I am not your dinner, go look elsewhere, otherwise we are both going to bleed”. The big cats ears pitched forward, his head went up and then he turned and wandered off. I avoided that confrontation because I had decided I was not going to be a victim and the big cat understood that.

    John article is talking about a mindset, a conditioned mindset structured around logic and the inner peace of freedom.

    CM

    • Quite right CM. I have had similar experiences with both man and beast. Beast not as extreme, man possibly more extreme a mismatch. Attitude and calmness goes a very long way.

      Also, being fearless does not mean you are automatically free. However, it does, at minimum, mean that you will not give over more freedom and power because you seek safety.

  22. Ray:

    Re:Paper currency.

    Every instance of paper currency has been driven into worthlessness – with no exceptions.

    The US Dollar will go exactly the same way.

    The difference between the US$ and gold. Though both rise and fall in value, the US$ can and will fall to a value of zero. Gold will never fall to a value of zero.

    Productivity:
    The measure of US productivity is the balance of trade and the amount of debt.

    The greater the balance of trade, the lower your productivity.

    Economic Law: goods buys goods.

    If you need to borrow to buy goods, you are not being productive.

    Bad News: The US is not productive. It is getting even
    worse.

    Really Bad News: One day, there will be no one to lend the US people wealth to buy goods.

    Good News: When no one will lend you money to buy goods, this usually forces the People to go back and work hard to make goods to offer to trade.

    The economic bankruptcy – like all, shocking, earth-shattering crisis – will refocus the lazy brains of Americans, and they will once again become better producers than spenders.

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