Friday, January 8, 2016
160108 Having Individual Thoughts
It doesn't matter if I agree with Ayn Rand, the new Star Wars franchise, or an actor whose face I don't know. What's disturbing is that these social media affectionados believe that opinions need to line up with theirs or else be censored. Also disturbing is how many young people express that the Bill of Rights should be altered to exclude certain of those rights. Statistics and documentation may be available to some, but right now, I simply want to express opinions that have been formed over decades of observation, contemplation and meditation.
Our country was founded on laws and the belief that individuals have the right to think and do as they see fit. It was also based on a strong moral code that directs actions, but allows people to make their own mistakes. In general, the government did not punish moral mistakes. Even in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, it seemed that the punishments were not legal as much as societal and/or religious.
Reader's Digest used to have a feature known as "There Outta Be a Law". It listed moral infractions by entities with power. Guess what? Forty or fifty years later, we now have a law for everything and no one is happy about it! Laws to restrain immorality seldom work. Instead of stopping the offending behavior, the offenders simply try new tactics. These "moral" laws have unintended consequences, and otherwise innocent people have become oppressed. For instance, a 1970 law meant to punish drug lords now takes money and property from families. Just do an Internet search on "asset forfeiture" and see what you find. There are far more stories than Google lists, because they filter the returns. (Ignorance is bliss, and keeps the masses quiet.) While I committed no crime, I lost property to the government. An attorney told me that it would cost close to a thousand dollars to sue to get it back, and that there were no guarantees that I would. In my distressed and destitute condition, I let it slide and thanked God that I wasn't charged with a crime for being a simple bystander.
We now have an incredible fight between legal gun owners and those who think that getting rid of guns gets rid of crime. Hmm. There certainly was no crime before guns were invented! There was no sin, no war, no evil at all! If only gunpowder had been confined to fireworks! Then all would have been sunshine and roses!
Guns, however, were invented, and Cain shot Abel. Wait! You mean that guns were not invented right out of the Garden of Eden? Well, certainly Brutus shot Caesar! No? Didn't Mongol hordes sweep across Asia with repeating rifles, or Vikings terrorize Europe with sub-machine guns?
Guns are not the problem, people. The hearts and minds of humans are. We have to guard our thoughts. We have to guard our own thoughts, because no one can do it for us. We have to be able to think for ourselves. We have to be taught right from wrong and make our individual decisions based a proven moral code. Old knowledge is not lame knowledge. We have not evolved into creatures that don't need a moral compass. Everything said has been said before. Everything done has been done before. Humans are no different today than they were thousands of years ago. Only the names have been changed to perpetuate the myth of progress.
Is there no hope? No trend is irreversible. In fact, all life runs in cycles, (or circles). Humanity is approaching winter, when everything looks dead and dying. Spring follows winter. People try to say that if we never had this or that event, that we would be enjoying a Star Trek like paradise. This is foolishness. The world never settles for peace. Remember the 'peace dividend' that we were supposed to have after the Berlin Wall fell? It turned into the first Gulf War. Material prosperity leads to discontent. It will get better, and it will get worse, and then better and worse again and again until time stops.
This is why we need the free exchange of differing ideas. And guns. Guns provide the tool that allows the weak to be able to defend against the strong. Instead of worrying and/or yelling, enjoy whatever true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, or virtuous things you find. Keep them in your mind, and let others think their own thoughts. That's true freedom.