Saturday, January 8, 2011

This I Believe. Maybe.

"I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave."

H. L. Mencken


Richard Mitchell used to say that we should examine our beliefs, especially our most closely-held beliefs. He likened belief to an appetite--bellyfeel, I think Orwell called it. And just as our bellies grumble loudly when hungry, so too do our beliefs grumble when deprived of reason. Richard Mitchell described reason as the mind quietly asking and answering in turn, a good way to describe a mind examining itself.

Is the intensity with which we hold our beliefs the measure of our insanity? Would a completely rational human eschew belief of any sort?

Most beliefs are harmless enough, just opinions really. I can't imagine a bigfoot-believer wanting to force you to pay for his study of the elusive monster. But what about people who believe that government is essential to human existence? Those who fiercely clutch government-belief to their breasts are adamant that non-believers pay taxes, jump through hoops, and supplicate government job-holders. Believers will tell you that all problems can be solved by electing officials who will grant just the right privileges to deserving citizens.

But what about the deadbeat problem or the big, scary boogeyman problem? Scofflaws, darkies, and crotch-bombers, oh my! Who will build the roads, school our children, stamp our passports? And dammit, who's gonna pay my social security?



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8 comments:

  1. The Founders failed in holding back the tryanny of the majority leaving us doomed to die from the proverbial 1,000 paper cuts... I would say the intensity with which we hold our beliefs to be the truest measure of one's character and integrity...

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  2. Hi Mayberry,

    But would you say the same of Achmed the Jihadist holding his Koran and shouting "Death to America"? His beliefs are held every bit as intensely as a strict Constitutionalist. That was my point about examining our beliefs. The more fiercely we clutch a belief to our bosom, the harder it is to examine.

    The founders didn't fail. Any American will tell you, with complete sincerity, that this is the freest country on earth. And at the same time, the Constitution has fueled a hugely successful police state, the envy of dictators worldwide. But if you're looking for liberty, then hiring out the production or control of security, food, shelter, and education just won't work. When you put those things in someone else's hands, you are bound to become a slave, as Mencken pointed out. That's also why Jefferson liked the idea of an agrarian economy instead of a manufacturing economy. It's harder to control someone who doesn't need you.


    Dave

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  3. Achmed has every right to hold his convictions dear, and I've every right to shoot his ass when his infringe on mine. The Founders did fail, for the reasons you cited. Jefferson was a wise man, who, unfortunately, was relegated to the dustbin by the "education" system of this now defunct country...

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  4. Hi Mayberry,

    Wouldn't Jefferson, the greatest of all patron saints of education, be saddened at the indoctrination camps we're forced to send our children to?

    Did you know that Jefferson had some trees on his property cut down so that he could see the nearby college?

    Dave

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  5. Dave, I believe he would be sickened by the state of "modern education". I was not aware of that tid bit...

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  6. If we don't force people to pay for studying bigfoot, bigfoot will come into our houses at night and slit our throats and impose Shariah law or something.

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  7. Hi Brass,

    And what about Elvis? I saw him walking the streets of Las Vegas, up to no good, just last week.

    Dave

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  8. Elvis is as bad as bigfoot. I heard he wants to impose Shariah law on everyone and give them pompadours, in addition. And only the gubmint can stop him. Thank you, gubmint!

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All comments are welcome.