Thursday, March 24, 2011

Use Your Imagination, Become the Change

Well, I've learned something. I've learned that supporters of unions can be just as bad as supporters of other religious or political violent organizations. Now, I don't mean to imply that they are themselves violent or that they are bad people. They are, in fact, likely good people with very good intentions. However, I believe that many have just decided to blindly support aggressive organizations that use questionable methods to achieve their goals. It seems to me that when the faults of these organizations are pointed out to them even in what should be considered a reasonable and somewhat measured fashion they suddenly become very defensive. It seems to me that perhaps they are refusing to look at the true nature of the organization they are defending and they go into a state of denial. They begin to defend these organizations in a manner I could compare with religious zealousness and will attack the messenger.

As a crafter of opinion articles, I put my thoughts and feelings out there for the world to see. I become a very public figure. Sometimes, many people will agree with my point of view. Sometimes, many people will disagree, even within my own family. Sometimes, I feel that I must have somehow been unable to properly convey the ideas I was trying to get across. Recently, I opined about the events taking place in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states involving union protesters and government attempts to curb their activities. In one publication the article received quite a bit of response that left me scratching my head. I can only assume that there was some sort of communication breakdown between the words I wrote and the processing of those words in the minds of the readers. I suppose it was my fault for not choosing my words carefully enough.

I've learned to get past the vitriol that some people spew when they decide that my point of view is a threat to theirs. I understand and appreciate when someone points out a fact or two that I might not have known in an attempt to change my mind or the minds of others who might have a tendency to agree with my point of view. I don't like it when someone makes assumptions about my life and judges me or my lifestyle unfairly, unjustly and without all the facts, but I have learned to ignore such ignorance. What bothers me most is that I may have failed to adequately convey ideas that are important to the principles of freedom.

I tried to say that I have no problem with unions in and of themselves, but that I have a problem with their coercive practices. I stated that if I wanted to get a job in a union shop I would likely have to join the union regardless of whether I wanted to or not or they would be very displeased and I may have to worry about my safety. I have an even greater problem with the coerciveness of government because government, particularly the federal government, is a much larger and more powerful organization. Yet people seemed to think that I was blaming unions for my personal problems or for the greater economic downturn in general. I did not mean to imply that.

More troubling to me were the number of people who not only seem unable to grasp or accept the idea that taxes are better described as theft or extortion, but they seem unable to imagine a world where government was not in charge of certain services. Because I pointed out that taxes pay the salaries of public "servants" and I felt therefore that these exchanges weren't voluntary, I was challenged to live in a world without fire protection, roads, police and other services currently provided for by monopoly government. Really? Are there people who really believe that without government controlling these services they would cease to exist? I suppose maybe they wouldn't, but I believe that if they didn't it would be only because there would no longer be a demand for such services. We would have evolved beyond the need for such things. If these services are so great than let them compete in the open marketplace and allow people to voluntarily decide to spend their money on them. If people have to be forced to pay at the threat of imprisonment, losing one's home, or even death should one choose to resist, perhaps its time to re-examine the entire system as it has been set up.

This is an example of the seen and the unseen. What is seen are the current institutions we have now as they have evolved. They are so ingrained on our consciousness that it has become very hard to imagine life without them. You can compare how we arrived at this point to a car trip. We started off toward a shining city on a hill following a road that looked promising, albeit a little rough. The scenery was nice at times, at other times perhaps a little distressing. Along the way we took a wrong turn, in my humble opinion, and decided to take what looked like a quicker, easier route called collectivism. We arrived at what we thought was our destination, yet something was not quite right. We drive around now, looking at the pretty facades of institutions we have built, yet refusing to examine the foundations they were built upon.

What we have not seen is where we could have ended up had we taken a route constructed of individualism and true free markets. We have not seen what our society would be like had we upheld the Constitution and adhered to the principles this nation was founded upon. I imagine it would have been a more scenic route than the one we took, but I can't say for certain. What I am more certain of is that we would have ended up in a different place, a better place. We might not have ended up with institutions with such gaudy facades, they might not be so huge and imposing, but I believe we would have more institutions to choose from. I believe they would have fine facades, warm and inviting as opposed to huge and showy, built on solid foundations. I believe we would not have to worry about pouring money into them to keep their foundations from cracking and their walls from collapsing. But these are things that remain unrealized and unseen due to what we have brought into existence instead.

We need to take charge of our own lives. As individuals, we need to stop giving away our personal power to others and then expecting them to do as we would do. Imagine the type of world you wish to live in, accept personal responsibility for obtaining such a world and then take steps to create that world. If one wishes peace, one should not support organizations that use or threaten to use violence against individuals. If one wishes prosperity than one should not support monopolies and institutions that stifle and restrict economic freedoms. If one wishes to be able to live one's life as he or she sees fit, then one should not support institutions that intrude upon the personal lives of others. We need to stop going along to get along and start saying no to the demands of those who claim the legitimacy of authority.

How can we avoid such institutions if they are so pervasive in our society, one might ask. Well, we need to seek out those who have already set up institutions, businesses and/or systems to compete with those that have been established. Support those institutions instead. If such institutions, businesses and/or systems do not exist, then consider starting one up. If you need help, find like minded individuals who might be willing to invest in your idea. Don't ask for permission. Don't wait for government approval. The monopoly certainly has no incentive to give its permission or approval for its competition to exist. Just do it. I'm not saying it will be easy, in fact it will likely be difficult. It will be challenging. That's what makes it so worthwhile. We have already taken the easy road and now we're seeing where that has led us. Remember, if you don't build it, then likely it won't get built.

I feel that most people have lost the ability to think for their selves. They have stopped questioning authority. They listen to talking heads on television and maybe an opposing view and think themselves informed. They pick a side from one of two false choices and repeat the talking points that support that point of view. When other choices are thrown into the mix they seem confused. They seem to have lost their ability to imagine something different. I believe this was done on purpose to help keep the power elite in power.

Imagination is one of the greatest gifts human beings have. It is, in my opinion, a large part of why mankind has been able to accomplish so much and build the civilizations that have been built. It saddens me to think that maybe some people have tried so hard to stifle and subjugate it in the masses for the benefit of a few. I think it's time to rediscover the power of imagination. I think it's time to use it to break out of the paradigms we have been stuck in. I think it's time to use it to push forward human evolution and take the next steps toward a freer, more open society. I think it's time to use it to become the change and restore peace and prosperity to the common folk. Imagine that.

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