Saturday, November 18, 2017
Do you dare?
The Founders got it right. Sharply limited government and the sovereignty of the individual citizen.
But even before that, they Declared that it is self-evidently true that all men are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights.
The necessary corollary which attends unalienable rights is unavoidable responsibility.
The nation is very, very sick. When a land with a government of, by and for the people becomes sick, it is not for the government to produce the cure. This is a job for the people.
Getting down to cases, how is the sovereign individual citizen to help?
The first step goes hand in hand with the First Principle. The First Principle is that all men are created equal. It follows immediately that to be treated as an equal human being by ones fellows, one must first and foremost treat ones fellows as equal human beings. All of them, and without exception. This is the hardest responsibility of all.
I do not believe that one can hew to this principle without working at it. We are individuals, after all, locked forever in our own individual mind and body. Our default nature is selfish. It has to be so, else we'd perish. It's nature. Natural.
To treat others as we would be treated, and to hold ourselves to the same standard we require of others, this is the hardest thing. One can't just say it, one has to do it. And to do it, one has to have good and sufficient reason, and that reason (or those reasons) must come from within.
I can't get away with just parroting some high sounding words and issuing platitudes and posting memes. I have to do the hard work of developing and living a set of principles. Such principles must stem from a higher plane than that of the mortal human. Just as our natural rights come from our creator rather than from government, so our principles must come from a plane far above our egocentric, subjective, mortal selves.
Now a lot of people will read words like these and believe with utter certainty that they've got this principles thing suitcased.
Let me just suggest that might not be the case, and that furthermore, certainty is a very scary place for a human to be.
I'm going to go out on a limb here -- but it's a very short, very stout, and quite probably unbreakable limb. I suspect that few people in America spend much time thinking about, or to use the words of Socrates -- examining -- their principles. If this is so, and if the foregoing exposition comes anywhere close to describing reality, it might just be incumbent upon individual Americans to consider doing what President Kennedy suggested. A natural (perhaps the natural) place to begin doing something for the nation might be an intense study of ones principles. What are they? How closely do we hew to them? No, seriously! How closely?
To prime the pump, as it were, consider the following dare. Watch the video. It's hard. A SEAL and a Canadian psychologist. Talking about tough stuff and hard things. Watch it, think about it, and follow the path your thoughts suggest. Pick it apart. Think about what these fellows say in the context of individual responsibility. Or not. It's only a suggestion. Individual responsibilities can only be exercised by sovereign individuals, after all, and individual principles can only be developed by independent human beings.
Either way, it might also be worth pondering exactly what there is to be thankful for in this season of Thanksgiving.