Thanksgiving

The first wave of Europeans to settle in the United States had a very tough go of things. They endured a long and dangerous voyage across an ocean to a land where they had no family, no stores, no support system. They did this to find freedom from an oppressive government and/or church (which were often one and the same).

After much hardship they reaped a bountiful harvest and laid their stores for the upcoming winter. When the harvest was in and the supplies were stashed they gave thanks.

As we celebrate this uniquely American holiday, lets reflect on the reason these colonists were grateful…they had achieved a new kind of freedom, if only for a short while. They were free to keep the fruit of their labor. They were masters of their own destiny. They could worship as they chose without fear of persecution or execution. They had realized a dream that most of us will never fully understand and many of us are all too willing to surrender.

I sincerely wish a happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. May the true meaning of this day be preserved for future generations to cherish and enjoy.

What Is Freedom?

For one to be free they must be independent. This means being responsible for ones own well-being. Freedom is the ability to make your own choices, but also includes owning the results. Many people have an lopsided concept of freedom and want to be able to do whatever they desire without consequences. This is not reality, but is a popular attitude in today’s society.Gadsden Flag

Freedom involves thinking independently. This means taking all the available data and using it to form opinions. If you exclude facts that don’t necessarily agree with your preconceived notions then you are cheating yourself and increasing the risk that you will make good decisions. For instance, if you choose to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet, you know you are taking a greater risk of head injury or death in the event of an accident. The choice is yours. The expense of medical care should be yours as well if you get hurt. Continue reading

Conservative? Liberal? Libertarian? Independent?

I am always amazed at the way people tend to impose their ideals on others.  We classify ourselves into three basic categories…conservatives, liberals and libertarians with independents not “claiming” any affiliation.  But what does that mean?

Conservatives claim to be for freedom, but they still impose their values on others.  This case was recently brought to my attention.  There is a young girl in Front Royal, Virginia, who had a vision.  She made awesome pastries and decided to open a donut shop.  So she recruited backers and worked hard to make her dream a reality…this, by the way, is the true American dream, but that is another post.  She called her shop Naughty Girl’s Donut Shop and used posters of icons like Marilyn Monroe as decoration.  She and her staff continue to go to high school while running the shop!  But some think her name is too risque for the sleepy town of Front Royal so they are calling for a boycott.  So much for the concept of freedom!  Read about this young lady and her business here.

Liberals call themselves “liberal” which would imply a more tolerant outlook, but it seems they only take that stance if you agree with their outlooks and phobias.  As a general rule they are for a Utopian world where everyone is given everything that they need and everyone is equal.  The problem with that concept is that if everyone is equal there is nothing to strive for, no goals, no success and no failure.  In essence, no advancement.

Libertarians are more in line with freedom than the first two groups, but still believe that we are not trustworthy enough to make our own decisions, therefore we must have a higher “authority” telling us what we can and cannot do.  This is still not freedom.

Independents…true independents…will hold that we are each responsible for our own actions and accountable for our deeds.  There are very few true independents, although there are some.  When you meet them you may think them odd because they embody a different perspective on life and freedom.

Most of us fall into more than one category.  Most of us THINK that we are all about freedom and liberty, but we have lost sight of what those terms really entail.  Where do you stand?  Are you willing to allow others to embrace their own values even when they don’t agree with your own?