Seen on www.soundpolitics.com/:
I’m not convinced most Americans today know what it means to be free. If they did, I can’t imagine that so many would trade their freedom for the false promise of security.
The horrific portrait of human suffering unveiled in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is in many ways a direct result of this trade-off.
The suffering we’ve witnessed in the past few weeks didn’t start with the incompetence of local officials in the face of a storm (though it culminated there); it started when individuals began to believe that “freedom” means freedom from want, trial and challenge, and that it’s government’s job to guarantee this.
Many Americans today believe they are born with a lifelong right to some “minimum standard of living,” which includes a roof overhead, food on the table, clothes to wear, adequate health care and a basic education (for starters).
As children, of course, we never had to ask for or earn these essentials. We took them for granted. Long before we knew how to articulate thoughts, we learned we only had to cry out and some force outside ourselves (Mommy and Daddy) would bring us something to eat, keep us warm, alleviate our discomforts, entertain us, etc.
This is fine for a season, but then we need to grow up.
Parents who understand what it means to be free delight in nurturing their children, but they work constantly toward a day when that nurturing will end and their children will step out into the world equipped to meet their own needs, pursue and achieve their own dreams, and, in turn, nurture their own children to adulthood.
These parents teach their children at a young age what it means to accept responsibility for their own actions. They continually refine and reinforce this lesson as their children mature so that, over time, the consequences of their children’s actions become largely positive, both personally and in the world around them.
For example, good parents teach their children how to exchange their own time and skills for the things they need and want. They teach them how to apply their minds and talents to increase the value of their work through study, practice, efficiency and innovation. And they teach them how to cultivate civil, respectful and satisfying relationships with other people.
The freedom and ability to do these things is what allows people to turn dreams into reality. It’s the foundation upon which human hope, happiness and fulfillment are built. It’s the essence of human dignity. We can try to eliminate the potential for failure, but in so doing, we’ll also eliminate the potential for greatness.
Unfortunately, some people think government is supposed to nurture them once they’ve grown into their adult bodies and out from under their parents’ roof. They respond to discomfort and disappointment as children do: with loud complaints and indignation.
Such was the response of state and local officials in Louisiana who, instead of preparing for, facing and surmounting the storm, sat back wailing, pointing fingers and demanding that someone do something.
Such is the fate of thousands of men and women who banked on the promise that government would meet their needs, only to discover it hadn’t and couldn’t when the need was greatest.
Many of the victims of Katrina do not have even the most basic skills necessary to live independently or shape their own futures, in large part due to the decades-long failure of Louisiana’s public education system, where student literacy is the exception, not the rule.
Now, leaving aside a very legitimate debate about whether or not it is our collective responsibility to restore New Orleans (a city built below sea level), the question we must answer is: Will the city be rebuilt on the same shaky foundations that led to its recent demise, or will it be rebuilt on a solid foundation of personal freedom, responsibility and accountability?
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has the right attitude: “We’re not into the mode of whining. Our people are self-reliant, they’re helping their neighbors and they’re helping themselves, and that’s why we’ve been able to achieve as much in just three weeks as we have.”
Will the residents of Louisiana demand that government nurse them back into their false sense of security, or will they rise to the challenge and take responsibility for their own future?
The rest of us shouldn’t wait for a crisis to answer that question in our own lives. We have all been susceptible to what poet William Cullen Bryant dubbed the “sly imps” of tyranny that, “by stealth, twine round thee threads of steel, light thread on thread, that grow to fetters.”
Freedom is worth the cost of casting off those fetters.
3 pages tops......
Damn good article - it's true.
Just like all these new "safety" measures - not designed to do anything, just "make you feel safe"