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Oh, the Cost of Freedom

January 13, 2010

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.  – Benjamin Franklin 

At heart, Ben was saying freedom is dangerous.  Freedom will not ensure comfort, health, or riches, yet it will allow an individual to pursue it and possibly win it.  To model it as a nation will inflame those who deny liberty as a virtue.  In other words, if you want to live free, you have to brave the consequences.  And if you want to live free, you have to let the other guy live free.

“Liberty” is denied by the cloying arms of government.  Dependence on state or federal programs is the antithesis of the founding father’s dream and the senses of anyone who wants self-determinism.  Much is made of the US being the only first-world nation without universal health care.  Are we not also the only first-world nation with liberty as a cornerstone?

The American Dream is confusing a lot of people these days.  For the majority it seems to be “take care of me.”  Freedom says “take care of yourself and those you choose to take care of.”

The responsibility of freedom is daunting.  It means the wise will take advantage of education and self-education.  They will roll up their sleeves and work to purchase what they want, and do without what they can’t afford (the unwise will seek credit).   They will ride the market fluctuations and realize that liberty is our only true property.  If the wise bust and lose everything, freedom allows them to get up and start over.

It also means the unwise are screwed.

America comes with a user’s guide.  The Constitution is pretty clear about it.  The more we allow the government to provide, the more dependant we become.  We no longer vote for the best leader, just for the one who buys our vote with the freedom-crushing program.

I’m not wealthy.  Freedom is costly to me.  I’d probably fare better under state-dependence but the American in me chafes at the thought.  Freedom at all cost.

Mr. Franklin understood the importance of virtue to freedom.  Capitalism without moral boundaries is voracious.  The state (sadly) needs to impose minimal regulation to stand in for moral laxity to keep immoral or short-sighted capitalists from devouring the consumer (the housing crisis was fomented by Clinton wanting minorities to have a shot at mortgages they couldn’t afford and so relaxed regulation.  Bush continued the government’s myopic attempt to “fix” a problem the market had already handled, and BAM, corrupt predatory lenders took advantage.  The problem BEGAN with the government).  As ironic as it is, politicians (corrupt though they often are) must be the moral brakes without laying undue influence on business.

Health care?  The only way to make it fair is everyone partaking lived a clean and perfect life.  Drug addicts, alcohol abusers, the out-of-shape, the poor-genetic-stock individuals, extreme sports enthusiasts, fast-food lovers, and everyone else who doesn’t live an optimal life would pay over-and-above premiums.  Otherwise, taxpayers are subsidizing abuse, supporting people they wouldn’t willing support otherwise.  Accountability must be a part of it to be fair.  Want to pay no premium?  Conform and live a healthy lifestyle, checking in weekly for accountability purposes or lose their benefits.  Where is the freedom in that?

I admit our health care system has massive problems.  Better answers are required.

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