I saw ‘Saving Private Ryan’ for the first time a few days ago. Despite being an edited version, it was still one of the most violent movies I’ve ever seen. As I was watching it, it hit me, in a way I don’t think I’ve ever grasped before, how horrific war is. Watching it, I think I had a glimmer of realization that these were real young men, young men, most of them probably younger than I am. They had lives, and mothers, and many of their lives ended. There is no way for me to adequately describe how I felt as I comprehended for a moment how young these men were, and what they went through, killing and fearing for their lives. I thought of my sons, and knew that I would never want them to endure such a thing. I wondered if it was worth it.
My husband was in the military from 1997-2002. Ten years ago was the deadliest terrorist attack on Americans, ever. At that point we were not married, and when I heard about the attacks one of my first thoughts was that I would never see him again. I remember the whole day, watching CNN in all our classes all day. When I got home my mom sent me out with her car so I could sit in a long line at the gas station and fill the tank. (I’m younger than you thought, right?) I remember crying at the steering wheel, waiting in line for gas, thinking my heart would break because I would never see the man I loved again. But, it never once crossed my mind that we would not fight. There would be retaliation, of course, because we had been attacked and it is the military’s job to protect us. He had voluntarily joined, and protecting American lives is the function of the military. And since that day, ten years ago, there have been no more terrorist attacks on American soil.
I don’t know much about the politics of these wars. They are about oil; Bush lied to us; they are to find WMDs, they are pointless. I don’t know. I do know that all the men and women involved in it volunteered. I know that I support them, and am grateful every day for their sacrifice. I know that we should respect them. I know that protesting the wars does nothing to help them accomplish their goals and survive. I want them to live, and I want them to accomplish their goals as quickly as possible so they can come home and move on with their lives.
Overall, though, the question of whether or not it is worth it stayed with me. (This war is attempting to create some semblance of order in the middle east, and I think at this point is less about protecting Americans from future attacks as it is finishing the attempt to establish a lasting government instead of leaving quickly and allowing it to immediately collapse back into anarchy and groups of terrorists. Even if I’m wrong, my following thoughts are irrelevant to the current wars) I thought about the men in the World Wars, many of them proud to stand for America, proud to represent what America was and willing to give their lives for it. I think of America now, and I can’t help but think; I don’t know if it’s worth that anymore. America used to stand for freedom. America stood for growth, it was a moral guide in a world of dictators and communism. It was a country founded on rights guaranteed because they were given to us by the Creator, not gifted by the government. Those were things people were willing to die for, so that their families and friends could continue living with those blessings.
I can not see that those are the things America stands for today. People used to come to America because it was a place where you could create wealth. You could come and work, and that work would produce something that belonged to you. You could worship without interference from the government. You could be free.
People come now, not to provide for themselves, but to collect what others have worked for and the government has confiscated to give away. People do not come to America so they can worship freely. America has become a land where if your religious beliefs are deemed intolerant, you can be ruled against in courts of law and forced out of business or forced to act against your principles. America has become the land where you are not born free; you are born with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, which you will spend your entire life paying. Debt is bondage, any way you look at it. Americans are no longer born free. You can not simply own anything. If you have an acre of land you have paid for, you may not have it in a year if you can’t pay taxes on it. You can own something, own something you worked hard for and paid for and sacrificed for, and it is not really yours. You spend your entire life paying the government for the privilege of owning it. America is no longer a moral land. The only ‘moral’ still being protected is tolerance. “Tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society. When an immoral society has blatantly and proudly violated all the commandments, it insists upon one last virtue, tolerance for its immorality. It will not tolerate condemnation of its perversions. It creates a whole new world in which only the intolerant critic of intolerable evil is evil.” (Hutton Gibson)
And so I look around at the world we live in. I love this country. I sincerely believe it is the best country left in the world. If there was a better country anywhere else, I would gladly move there (which I encourage all liberals in love with socialism to do. There are countries out there living your dream! Go there, and give us the chance to salvage America! If we end up destroying it with our extreme conservative principles, I’m more than happy to let you have the last laugh.) Despite being the best, it is rapidly failing. There is little left to be proud of, and little left to protect. I am daily grateful that I was born here, but I wish there was more I could do to protect it. It is impossible when the destruction is coming from within. It is impossible when the source is a hundred million people thinking, “Being in America means I should have a home, food, and health care. Provided to me.” There is no protection from a mentality that there are no morals, that every behavior is just as good as any other, and has no negative effect on society. I would not want my children to die protecting America as it is now; but it would be worth anything to preserve America as it should be.
I have gone through several examples of how the government limits our freedoms, infringes on our choices, forces us to act in a certain way, for apparently no reason at all. But, there has to be a reason, right? So, what is the reason? Why can’t I decide what is or isn’t safe for my children? Why can’t I choose whether or not to wear a seatbelt? Why can’t I decide when and how to invest money I work for? Why can’t a group of people just live their lives, choosing what to do and how to interact, with the government only there to resolve disputes and protect the country from external threats?
How about all the regulations.
If I were intelligent enough to choose for myself where to eat or shop, or where to obtain services, well, we wouldn’t need thousands of licensing agents and hundreds of bureaus giving out business licenses and health inspections and safety inspections and housing inspections. I could decide for myself if I wanted to buy lemonade from a four year old, or I could decide the health risks were too great and opt for a lemonade from home. Instead the government says that a 4-year-old-girl needs a $400 license and a health inspection to sell lemonade in her front yard. Why? Because you are too stupid to choose for yourself who to do business with and under what circumstances.
These freedom posts are pretty much the crux of why I am so adamant about conservative principles. Today’s post is on one of our most valuable, limited resources; time. Time is limited, you can’t get more or stretch it. All you can do is decide what you want to do with your time, how you want to use it. A lot of people trade their time for something they value; money. We spend the first two or three decades preparing, studying, learning, developing. Then we trade at least forty hours a week for the next several decades working for money. This money enhances the rest of our time. How much we have determines how we are able to spend time with our families, what we are able to purchase to make our lives away from work more comfortable and enjoyable. Money we obtain is essentially time from our lives, time we have chosen to spend working in order to improve our own and our families lives. Read the rest of this entry
My second freedom post deals with how the government keeps us safe. By infringing on our freedoms, of course. Because government officials feel they are more intelligent than the general population, and therefore better able to choose for us what will make us safe. There are millions of little ones, like making it illegal to put gasoline in certain colored containers. But I’ll focus on the ones that have affected me personally.
Now, Liberals just love the environment, right? Not to generalize or anything, but aren’t conservatives usually considered the ones who don’t care about the environment, while liberals are trying to save this world from human destruction? It’s not really relevant. Once, I had a car. A lovely, little 1996 Honda Civic. I loved it! Not just because it was a Honda, and despite being 13 years old gave us almost no trouble. I loved it because it got 40 mpg, or more, regularly. Can you imagine? We paid about $3,000 for it, and it never once got below 35 mpg. Part of the reason, I imagine, was because it was tiny; a nice, light hatchback. It had three seat-belts in the back-seat, but couldn’t fit three adults. Or three car seats.