Monday, July 30, 2007

America, A Nation of Laws

This article was originally published at on July 27th, 2007.

I’ve heard many a politician claim that we are a nation of laws. I thought we were supposed to be a nation of free individuals. Wasn’t this country set up to make individual freedom the most important factor in government? Didn’t the original English settlers come to this country to get away from unfair laws that persecuted them? In fact, didn’t people from all over the world travel here for much the same reasons? So what does it mean when the politicians in this country claim it’s a nation of laws? What, exactly, is the rule of law?
Laws are manmade constructs. They are rules by which society operates. Every country in the world is a nation of laws. The differences between nations’ governments isn’t whether or not they have laws, it’s how they apply their laws. The difference is in how many or how few laws a nation has. The difference is in how much say the individual has in his own life and how intrusive the government is in making his decisions for him. The difference is in how just or unjust punishment is and to what degree the innocent are protected from false accusations. The rule of law is simply a matter of legislating law, enforcing law and then punishing lawbreakers. Every country is ruled by law. Not every country is ruled in a just manner.
Iraq was a nation of laws. It was governed by Islamic law. Islamic law can be very cruel to those who violate it. They have been known to cut off the hands and feet of thieves and kill those accused of other crimes such as adultery and homosexuality. These people are very strictly punished for choices they made. Iran is in much the same boat. So is Syria. These Islamic countries use the law to rule the individual from cradle to grave. They do not let the individual do much in the way of making his own decisions as most of what he needs to do is spelled out for him in religious text. China is also a nation of laws. They have laws against certain religions being practiced, specifically one called Fulan Gong. People caught practicing Fulan Gong are arrested and tortured in Chinese prisons. There have even been accusations that some of these people are used to provide human transplant organs for westerners willing to pay the price. Nazi Germany was a nation of laws. They had all kinds of laws to keep their people in line. Everyone knows what happened there. The former Soviet Union was a nation of laws. Again, the people of that country were oppressed by the law. The law was equally applied to everyone, no matter how small the infraction. Who can say how many suffered and died in the gulags in Siberia? I can say this, it’s was more than just a few.
The governments of these nefarious nations have always claimed that these laws are necessary to protect the people. They have claimed that these laws are needed to safeguard “The Fatherland” or “Mother Russia.” They have claimed these laws were necessary for “national security.” It seems to me that the laws were made for political purposes. They were made to keep the people in line. They were created to identify, punish and nullify possible dissenters. Anyone who questions the government or the power structure in these countries is suspect. Anyone who accuses government of corruption or questions motives in these nations are punished. They are put away so their ideas can not spread. It seems to me that perhaps some laws aren’t meant to protect the people, that some laws are meant to protect the government.
Perhaps being a nation of laws isn’t such a good thing. The only laws that should matter are those that protect individuals from being harmed. Many laws protect not people, but corporations. Many laws prevent individuals from making their own decisions about such things as what to put in their bodies, what they can read or view, what they can spend their money on, who they can see, be with, or associate with, etc. Many laws take personal responsibility away from the individual and put that responsibility in the hands of the state. These laws create victimless crimes and unintended consequences. These laws are aggravated further when they are backed up by sentencing guidelines which take the person best able to understand the unique circumstances of a case, the judge, and make it so he may not be able to apply real and helpful sentencing that might better serve everyone involved. Many laws passed recently in an atmosphere of fear and paranoia need to be re-examined.
This country, the United States of America, was unique in history in that its law, the supreme law of the land, was not a law to dictate how people should behave, but it was a law to dictate how government should behave toward the people. I’m talking, of course, about the constitution. It acknowledges the rights of man that human beings have always possessed. It states that the government shall not create laws that infringe upon those rights. This law has been broken time and time again by those now in power. The checks and balances written into the constitution that were meant to prevent such things from happening have failed miserably. This is the law that should matter. This is the law which prosecutors should defend vehemently. Those who break this law, particularly those who have sworn to uphold it, should be held accountable for their heinous actions. These men who recklessly disregard this document are the real danger to this country. It is time for this country to rethink the laws we make. We need to remember that when we tread upon the rights of one man, we tread upon the rights of all men. We need to stop thinking of our nation as a nation of laws and start thinking of it as a nation of free individuals. We need to accept personal responsibility for our actions and our safety and stop expecting the government to provide for us. In this way we can forge our own destinies, and our destiny as a nation. In this way we can once again become a nation of freedom and justice for all.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Witches and Warlocks, Terrorists and Sex Offenders

This article appeared originally at on July 23rd, 2007

From the fifteenth century to the nineteenth century, people were accused of witchcraft, put on trial and sentenced to death if found guilty. These proceedings were often barbaric and one sided. The accused never stood a chance. Torture was used to obtain confessions. Trickery was used to obtain witnesses. Convictions resulted in death sentences, but sometimes the interrogation led to death. The trials were nothing but theatre, a farcical sideshow to convince the masses that there was some semblance of justice to these state sponsored murders. The vast majority of these “witches”, these victims of the state, were women. Some men were also accused, but usually the victim was a witch and not a warlock. There are many reasons given for why these atrocities happened, but I have my own ideas. Historians would have us believe that way back when people believed in witches and warlocks and were ignorant of the sciences and what actually made our world work. To an extent, this is true. The general masses of people living at the time had little or no access to education. They believed in a living devil, demons and possessions and attributed all the evils of the world to these things. But there were men of science both in and out of the church that knew different. They refused to teach the common man the truth. Why? Power. Control. These are the things that such men coveted. Knowledge is power. To teach the people of various illnesses and of other sciences would be to relinquish a certain amount of control. To perpetuate these myths, and in doing so the injustices imparted upon those accused of being witches, was to maintain power and dominion over the populace. It was these injustices and persecutions, along with many others, that helped propel people across the Atlantic Ocean to a new world where they could live free of tyranny.
Ahh, but it was not to be. A group of Protestant Church members who themselves had been persecuted in Europe found passage across the Atlantic and settled in the new English colonies in an attempt to escape said persecution. They came to the new world and began their own communities. Before too long they were struggling in a dangerous world where they could be besieged by natives, or their crops could fail, or a severe winter could wipe them out. But survive they did and by the late seventeenth century they had well established settlements and a well defined political structure. It was at this time that they started a little persecution of their own. It started when an illness or some sort of seizures were suffered by two young female relatives of a minister. The minister and the town physician decided a witch’s curse was to blame for these afflictions. At first only three women were accused of witchcraft, these being a slave woman owned by the family, an impoverished single woman and an old woman who was not well liked by the townsfolk. These three people were easy targets because they were undesirable, but the episode didn’t end with their deaths and eventually led to the Salem witch hunt which ended up costing 20 people their lives, including fourteen women and six men, and resulted in the incarceration of an estimated 175-200 others. Most of the confessions used at the trials of these people were coerced through torture. Most of the witnesses were young children, females, who were easily manipulated. Many of the men who were caught up in this turmoil were merely trying to defend the women. When they spoke out against the injustices being perpetrated against their wives or another family member they were quickly also accused and incarcerated with no evidence other than the fact that they questioned those in power. Soon people began to realize that anyone could be accused of being a witch, not just the undesirables, but that didn’t really seem to matter. A frenzy ensued in which the properties of those who were accused of being witches were forfeited as well as the properties of those who were convicted. It seems that these people were concerned with more than just stopping witchcraft. There were profits to be made from all the hubbub. All of a sudden there was more involved than just protecting the public from these very dangerous witches and warlocks who could cast their spells upon their unwitting victims, there was money, power and control to be had.
There have been many explanations proffered to explain why these events took place in Salem Massachusetts. I’ve heard everything from the Puritans truly believing witches existed in league with the devil to fungus growing on the wheat they ate which had a hallucinogenic affect on the populace and made them believe they were actually seeing witchcraft in action. I believe these men were educated enough to realize that witches and magic were not instruments of the devil, but that they were myths to be used to control the populace through fear. I also believe that these men knew when an opportunity arose and how to take full advantage of it. Furthermore, once the ball had started rolling, it became difficult for them to back down or admit that they had made a mistake and that witchcraft was a myth. It took the establishment of a superior court about a year later to put an end to the madness by releasing most of those who had been arrested due to the fact that their arrests had been based on “spectral” evidence.
Thank goodness we have progressed past such thinking. Thank goodness we no longer punish people based on myth. It’s a good thing that we no longer are scared little children shaking in our shoes and easily misled by fear. Take the terrorists, for example. We are holding many of them all over the world. I’m sure we have a great deal of physical evidence that we can present to a jury so that they’d find them guilty. That’s why we don’t hold them for too long without a trial. That’s why we give them an open, fair public trial which everyone can see and hear, we are that certain they are in fact terrorists and not some farmer that some of our allies picked up for money or some other poor schmoo that might have been defending his home and/or family. We, being morally superior and having learned our lessons from past experiences, would never resort to torture to extract a confession from one of these prisoners. We are not so fearful of these people as to think they could magically conjure up some spell or summon some devil to possess us and perhaps make us destroy ourselves. We are not so fearful as to beg our government to take away our rights so they can protect us from these monsters. We would never execute an innocent person like they did in Salem over three hundred years ago. We have grown beyond that.
Well, perhaps I am a bit mistaken about the terrorists, but we would never treat our own citizens with such distain. Take, for example, sex offenders. Can you think of a more despicable, detestable, disgusting crime? How can anyone take such advantage of a child? How can anyone do such a thing to a helpless woman? And of course we would never convict an innocent person. A child could never lie or be manipulated to lie or misinterpret an event. We would never use any sort of psychological coercion to extract a confession from one of our citizens. We would never threaten someone with more jail time and certain financial ruin if they didn’t take a plea deal. We would never assume one was guilty and make them prove their innocence in a court of law. We would never entrap anyone. We would never convict some kid who was having consensual sex with another kid. We would never convict some little kid for a sex offense because he decides to do something childish. We could never become so frightened of these men as to banish them from our society. We would never force entire families to move from their home simply because it was situated too close to some sanctified location. We would never punish an entire family like that because of what one of their relatives did. We could never believe myths such as that a man is unable to be “cured” of a condition, that a human being is unable to change. We could never pass laws and regulations that would under normal circumstances be considered unconstitutional and declare them legal simply because we are so afraid that some old men have some sort of magical power to be able to entice young ladies to their beds. We are far more understanding than that. We realize that some people may under certain circumstances do something they wouldn’t normally do. We understand that a man may make a one time mistake. We have learned to take these things into consideration when prosecuting them and understand it is best to let a learned judge make an assessment of all aspects of the entire case and make a determination as to appropriate punishment or restitution. We have learned to balance justice with the law, retribution with fairness. We would never let hysteria dictate to us that a one size fits all punishment is fair and appropriate. We left that kind of thinking behind long ago when our founding fathers wrote the constitution protecting us all from the tyranny of government. We left that kind of thinking behind three hundred years ago when we realized just how unjust we were for executing witches.
Am I not right?
Perhaps we haven’t progressed as far as we think we have.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Can Ron Paul Cure America's Apathy?

This article originally appeared in the July 16th, 2007 issue of

Most citizens in the United States of America do not vote. Many never registered to vote, many others are registered but simply don’t vote. In the last federal election, fifty nine percent of the registered voters in this country showed up to vote. Of approximately two hundred and seven million registered voters in this country, only one hundred and twenty two million felt that it was important enough to take some time out of their day to vote for the president of the United States. Of these, approximately sixty two million voted for George W. Bush and approximately fifty nine million voted for John Kerry. Approximately one million two hundred thousand people voted for someone other than the two main party candidates. This leaves approximately eighty five million registered voters that did not vote. Eighty five million people would have been enough for any of the candidates running, even those in any of the third parties who all got less than one percent of the vote, to win. Why did all these voters decide not to show up at the polls in 2004?
The answer to the above question is, of course, varied and complicated. Still, I am willing to bet that a majority of these voters were simply apathetic. Many of them probably felt helpless, or that their vote didn’t matter. If they had voted for George Bush or John Kerry, their votes would be wasted like the vast majority of votes are wasted when voting for a Republican or Democrat. That’s because these people know that Democrats and Republicans are, for the most part, already bought and paid for by corporations and special interests. They have no faith in the current system because the current system has been corrupted and let us down for as long as most can remember. Many of them probably never realized that their numbers were enough that they could have voted in third party candidates at any time if they had just gotten up and voted for them. They have repeatedly been told that voting for third party candidates was a waste of a vote until they are so brainwashed that they believe the propaganda and they decide to stay home and not vote. They believe that there are only two choices. They believe that they have to vote for the lesser of two evils and so they decide not to vote at all rather than vote for evil. They believe that nothing will change no matter who they vote for, that the government is just going to do what it wants, going so far as to break its own laws and regulations. They see their rights eroding away and still they do nothing, believing that the system is broken beyond repair and there is nothing they can do about it. They walk through life disowned by the system, wanting nothing but to be left alone and instead their government gets more intrusive after each election. Feeling robbed by a callous government, they scream for relief wanting only to be able to mind their own business and their shouts fall upon deaf ears. They tire of war and the corruption and grief that goes with it, and even after they send out a rallying cry around it, even when they let their feelings be known in an unequivocal manner by electing what they thought would be an anti-war congress, their cries are ignored. It is no wonder the voters are apathetic. They have given up hope.
Ron Paul hasn’t. He still believes in America. He still believes in the constitution. He still believes in the Bill of Rights. He still believes people matter. He fights from within the two party system, wanting to take back one of the parties for the people, wanting to bring back fair representation for all and not just the wealthy few. He wants to reintegrate those eighty five million people and give them back hope. He wants to give us all the freedom to decide our own destinies, and he wants to do it by decreasing the size of government and giving us the ability to decide for ourselves what is truly important in our personal lives. This is his true agenda, and those in power are frightened by it. They know the power of the individual, they know the power of free choice and they know the power of the truth. That is why they try to make you believe he has no chance of winning, why they portray him as a Libertarian whose dreams and ideals are just too impractical for today’s world. That is why they wanted to exclude him from the last debate. The other candidates want the apathy to remain in place. They want to maintain control of you. Ron Paul wants to give you back the control you so richly deserve, the control that the Bill of Rights states the government will not take from you.
Ron Paul is not only a politician, he’s a doctor. When he practiced medicine he was honest with his patients and expected them to take part in their treatment. To do this, he may have, at times, tried to change the attitude of his patients. Sometimes that’s more important than anything else a doctor can do. He has diagnosed America’s problems and has come up with a treatment for them. Part of the problem in America is apathy. He can fight this problem with his message of freedom and liberty. More than this, he can fight it by his actions, which anyone can see by his voting record. He consistently voted against legislation that removes our freedoms and replaces them with government nannyism. This message is a powerful one, and if it gets out to the apathetic it may resonate within them and get them to become active in America’s treatment. If enough of us spread the word, if enough of us realize our ills and take action to help treat them, Ron Paul just might be able to cure America’s apathy, and other diseases inflicting our country as well. Register as a Republican. Vote for Ron Paul. Vote for other freedom advocates running for congressional offices. Become involved. It is time to restore hope to our country. It is time for us to reclaim our personal responsibility. It is time for us to once again care.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Spirituality, Politics and Government

This article was originally published at on July 7th, 2007 or 7-7-7

When I was in my early twenties, I had a girlfriend I was very much in love with. I spent a lot of time over at her house. One day her mother and I were in the kitchen talking when, and I don’t know how this happened, the subject of religion came up. I had been brought up a Roman Catholic and my girlfriend and her family were practicing Catholics, but I had given up on that religion long ago and was never confirmed. In fact, I had given up on organized religion by then and was exploring other purviews of spirituality. I don’t remember how the conversation got to this point, but I do remember telling my girlfriend’s mom that I was not a Christian. She looked me in the eyes and said, “Szandor, you are the most Christian person I know.” That statement left me speechless. I really didn’t know how to respond and as far as I can remember that is where the conversation ended. It wasn’t until some time later that I began to understand what she meant. She wasn’t referring any religion I practiced or didn’t practice, she wasn’t referring to any belief system I held in my heart, she was referring to my actions. More specifically, she was referring to how I treated her and the people she saw me interact with. This, to her, was more important than anything I believed in.
I am not a religious person. I don’t prescribe to any religion, organized or otherwise. That, however, does not mean I’m not a spiritual person. Au contraire, I believe myself to be a very spiritual person. I don’t get my spirituality from some five thousand year old tome. I don’t claim to know the mind of some omnipotent supernatural being. I don’t strive to be a scholar of this scripture or that canon in order to find some illusive, all encompassing truth of the universe. I don’t pretend that my beliefs are "The Correct" beliefs and that all others are somehow inferior to mine. I do believe in God. Or the Creator. Or the Universal Mind. Or the Cosmic Muffin at the center of all. Or any of a number of other nomenclatures which refer to the concept of something more. I believe there’s an intelligence, or perhaps numerous intelligences, out in the cosmos that exist beyond the material, but not necessarily apart from it. I believe in the divinity inside me, that I continue to exist even when this corporeal body ceases to function. In short, I believe in spirit, that we consist of spirit, that spirit is more than the material, therefore I am spiritual. I reiterate that these are my beliefs, regardless of how silly you may think they are, and I do not hold them to be fact or absolute truth. I’ve come to hold these beliefs by reading and listening to other people’s experiences, observing what goes on around me, from various personal experiences and from a number of other sources.
I didn’t become spiritual by reading the Bible, or the Koran, or the Vedic texts, or the teachings of Buddha. Near as I can remember, I’ve always been spiritual. I enhanced my spirituality through observation. I’ve looked inward through meditation. There is inherent beauty in nearly everything that is. There is ugliness and flaws nearly everywhere you look. I believe that everything happens for a reason, that everything exists for some purpose. It may be a very small, seemingly insignificant purpose, but a purpose nonetheless. I believe we are on this Earth, experiencing this now to learn and to grow as spirits, not necessarily to prosper as material beings. As humans, there are a myriad of emotions to experience, an infinity of thoughts to create. How we, as humans, share these is severely lacking. How can I relate my deepest, most profound sorrows, the utter despair of desperate loneliness, the abstruse shame of humiliation, the abject profundity of guilt, the complete finality of loss and the perfect self absorption of self pity? How can I express the complete elation of my joys, the unabashed bliss of love, the camaraderie of friendship, the pure ecstasy of laughter? These symbols that we put together to create words to try to express the above ideas seem woefully inadequate. Unless you have experienced these things, and experienced them with the same intensity I have, it seems impossible to properly explain the feeling, and I haven’t even touched on most other emotions. The only way I could think of to adequately explain my feelings is to be able to somehow transfer them right to you. Perhaps that’s why we all exist, so we can directly transfer our experiences to each other while in spiritual form.
Politics, like spirituality, is all around us. It creeps into every aspect of our lives in ways we wouldn’t expect. We have politics in the family and in the office and even on the various fields of play we may engage in. These areas are where politics get extremely local. Politics is all about control and whose rules we follow. Many times we may find ourselves at odds with someone else due to a clash of ideas. They may want you to do something you don’t want to do or vice-versa, or they may want you to do something in a way you don’t want to do it. In a healthy situation everyone that needs to will have their input considered. If things go well one party will get the other to agree to their point of view, if not an argument may ensue. Perhaps someone will only begrudgingly agree or perhaps one of the parties will simply leave and go on to do their own thing. Whatever happens, force should not be involved. All relationships should be voluntary in nature. Using force will usually cause bad feelings and maybe even some unintended consequences. Sure, even with situations where some compromise is necessary and some conciliatory stances taken there may be anger and sour grapes, but these are more likely to clear up and all be forgiven so long as force is not used. The use of force has a tendency to get into the bloodstream and fester. It affects more than the body and mind of the individual, it affects the spirit.
Government is force. It uses coercion and threats to get its way. It instills fear in the citizenry to get them to obey the law, even the laws that cause no one harm and disallow the individual from making a choice. It forces the individual to obey the methods it designs to keep one “safe” or suffer the consequences of its force. It blindly enforces these laws without due consideration as to the intent of the accused. It uses threats of imprisonment and financial ruin to force people into plea bargains they shouldn’t take or to steal from those who have labored hard. It lies to jurors when they are informed they need only judge the guilt or innocence of an accused, and not the fairness or worthiness of the law. It is this use of force, this abuse of power that rises the ire of the common man. It is this use of force that will lead to the abstruse shame of humiliation. It is this abuse of power and the helplessness one feels when put against it that can lead to utter despair and desperate loneliness. Fighting such a behemoth can certainly lead to the complete finality of loss and the perfect self absorption of self pity. Defeating it can most certainly lead to utter and complete joy. The former happens much more often than the latter. These actions brought upon individuals who have never harmed another, never damaged or desecrated someone else’s property, are callous and destructive. These actions creep into the bloodstream of the body politic and their poisonous nature spreads into the societal consciousness although most remain in denial. Nevertheless, the spirit of the society becomes affected. Some might call it collective karma, but I say it is a sickness of the soul that can only be cured by empathy and recognition of the psychological abuse that is occurring.
Government will also use its force on other governments. This is not necessarily wrong if done in self defense, when one government infringes upon the other by invading its territory. The problem exists with the government that initiates the force. The government who launches a pre-emptive war is the initiator. It subjects innocent civilians to the most barbaric conditions imaginable simply because one government believes its way of ruling over them is better than theirs. It visits upon the inhabitants of other nations terrifying death and destruction. It foments hatred amongst peoples by committing unspeakable atrocities and spewing propaganda to its own citizenry to dehumanize the enemy. It uses the propaganda of fear to fractionalize its own citizens against each other so that it may tighten its control over the populace. The spectre of war gives the government an excuse to vacate its recognition of god given human rights and violate them in the name of “protecting” its citizens. If one believes in karma, than war is perhaps the generator of more bad karma than any other human endeavor. But more than that, war will warp the spirit of an entire nation. The principles we hold dear are abandoned. Atrocities and other behaviors we would normally find repugnant are accepted as necessary. It is more important we as a society overcome our fear and adhere to our principles despite the perceived dangers or we become what we fear, we become as bad as the enemies we despise. When this happens, the enemy wins, if not militarily, then by simply making us change in profound ways. These changes eventually warp the spirit of the individual who is forced to participate, not only for those who actively participate, but also those who passively participate by paying for such operations or by simply remaining silent and compliant.
Politics, whether on a personal, business or national level, links to the spirit of the individual in ways hard to fathom and difficult to expound on. I have tried here to present some of my personal beliefs and how I feel politics and government affect the spiritual aspect of our existence. To me, the most important law is “Do no harm to others.” I am in no way claiming the above as statements of fact, nor am I asking anyone to believe as I do. I am sure there are some people who believe as I do and there are some who believe the above essay to be complete hogwash. I don’t believe we should sit by quietly any longer and just let the government run like everything is business as usual. We should speak up. I believe this is important not only for our posterity, but also for our eternal spirits. Hopefully I have given a few people something to think about and maybe even a little insight they might not have had before.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Independence Doesn't Just Happen.

This article was originally published on July 3rd, 2007 at

July 4th is Independence Day. We celebrate every year our independence from an empirical monarchy that refused to supply proper representation for the colonists. A war was fought over taxation without representation and other improprieties taken by a tyrannical government. This war was sold to the common man with promises of freedom and liberty for all. Back in those days, there were probably plenty of hard feelings toward the king and his soldiers to go around, but there were also colonists who supported the king and felt his soldiers protected them from the natives or some other group they feared. Back then no one knew how everything would play out. There were the neigh-sayers and the believers. In the end, the American colonists defeated the forces of the British Empire and formed their own government. They forged a document from their blood and sacrifice and called it the constitution. This document was meant to lay down the law not for the common man, but for those who would govern them. It was basically a set of rules and laws meant to keep in check the power of the elite. It guaranteed that certain god given rights of men would not be infringed upon by those who hold power. It also told the world that the people of the United State of America could rule over themselves, independent of any sovereign. This is why we celebrate Independence Day.
Where do we stand today, two hundred and thirty one years after we first declared our independence from the British Empire? More importantly, how have we maintained our own personal responsibilities to make sure we can stay individually independent? It is well documented that the federal government of this country has passed laws infringing on our unalienable rights contrary to the principles expressed by the founders of this country in the constitution. Despite the illusion of elections carried out every couple of years in this country, as a society we have stepped away from our constitutional republic and become some sort of odd mixture of corporatism, plutocracy, fascism and socialism. Our congressional representatives don’t represent the common man anymore, they represent whoever gives them the most money. Because of this it is more important than ever that each individual become as independent as possible, because there is certainly no one else looking out for his best interest. So how independent are we as individuals?
First of all there’s the obvious. Most of us are dependent upon farmers and a grocery distribution complex to provide us our food. Hardly anyone grows their own vegetable garden or cans their own food anymore, despite the fact that many people have the room to do that. If you do, kudos to you, that’s one step closer to complete independence for you. Most people who have the land choose to grow grass on it, which is completely inedible to humans but if you own a cow it can be helpful. Many people depend upon their municipality to supply them with water. Of course, we can all still buy bottled water for drinking as long as the grocery distribution complex holds up. Some of us have our own water wells, but we depend on electricity to keep the pumps running. Those who have maintained a well with a hand pump, you are also one step closer to total independence. Speaking of electricity, the vast majority of us depend upon the various government assisted monopolies of energy companies to supply us with our power. What would we do without our computers, our TVs, our lights, our air conditioning, and many of the other modern conveniences we have come to depend on. We might find ourselves having to (gasp) talk to each other, or read, or develop a hobby, or somehow interact with one another, or.., well, you get the picture. Many of us depend on the same energy companies for gas or heating oil to heat their homes in the winter. If you have installed solar panels or windmills to supply yourself with electricity, or you have figured out some other way to supply your household with renewable energy and do not need to take electricity from the grid, you have taken a huge step toward achieving total independence and maintaining a modern lifestyle. Almost all of us depend upon the oil companies, who depend upon foreign governments, to supply us gasoline for our cars so that we can get to work and travel freely. This is an important part of our economic health. If gas was to disappear or there was to be a severe shortage, we would quickly find ourselves not only struggling with the problem of filling the tank so we could get where we want to go, but we would find our markets running out of our basic needs. Recent developments such as hybrid cars and ethanol or bio diesel do little to relieve the problem. Hybrid cars still need gasoline to run. Cars that run on bio diesel or ethanol still need some kind of manufactured combustible liquid to run. These alternative fuels also take farmland used to create food and turn it into farmland used to produce energy. These cars may do some good in terms of reducing pollution, but they do little in terms of making the individual independent. If you can get your hands on a purely electric zero emissions car you are well on your way to complete independence, particularly if you have such a car in combination with a home run off of solar, wind, or some other renewable energy.
These are just a few of the things we depend on. I would mention that as a society we now depend on China to manufacture and supply us with most of the “stuff” that we buy and now we are becoming more dependent on India to supply us with services such as help with our computers when the software doesn’t work. Freedom, liberty and independence are not just concepts we need to impose upon our government servants, they are concepts we need to implement into our own lives. These are concepts that are seldom easily realized and often misunderstood. We must continue to be ever vigilante and always demanding in order to maintain our independence. We must refuse to accept that which would make us less independent and strive to develop structures that will help empower the individual. To help achieve this it becomes necessary to decrease the size of government as government’s regulations impair the free market’s ability to develop technologies that will help accomplish this goal. We should allow for competition in all areas so that the individual and the market place can decide what’s best, not the government. Perhaps we’re not as independent as we think we are.
This Independence Day, it behooves us to try to become more individually independent, even if that means something as simple as thinking more independently. Perhaps that will help break our dependence on main stream media news sources to tell us our opinions. We must take small steps before we can take giant strides. From small changes come big ones. Independence doesn't just happen, it takes work. It would be nice to think that two hundred years from now our descendants will be living in a truly independent society.