Classical Conversations founder Leigh Bortins’ blogtalkradio-cast discusses politics and Ron Paul with the Southern Avenger Jack Hunter, conservative commentator, columnist and blogger for the Ron Paul campaign.
Life, liberty, and property are inseparable. I can’t use my voice or any of the other skills, talents, or the property of which I am responsible to pay for the necessities of life if I’m not at liberty to speak and write. If I am constrained from work and investment, if I am unable to use my God-given property–also known as talents, to improve my family’s life, I will feel a loss of liberty. I won’t have life or liberty without property. My mind is one of my most valuable properties as it allows me to have life and liberty even in the darkest of dungeons. These are gifts from God, not artifacts of man. The privilege to husband these gifts can never be taken away from me. But, I can give away this privilege. Tragically, modern Americans have allowed others to usurp this privilege leading to the death of a mature citizenry.
Since 1978, I have spent the better part of my time pondering what it means to be not just free, but free indeed. Many may agree with me that freedom is the ability to do what one ought – not what one can. I can abort my baby, but I ought not. I can divorce my husband, but I ought not. I can put my 86 year-old grandmother through unnatural surgeries, but I ought not. Christian freedom is well articulated when it comes to life, but we rarely apply the same standard to liberty and property.
We are quick to recognize ‘Thou shall not steal” when others want our life, liberty, or property, but we seem to forget it when we want theirs. We want others to pitch in and pay for our campsite fees, sports teams, libraries, unemployment benefits, and more. We think it’s great when we have the Federal government rebuild our homes after floods and storms because, after all, someone else foots the bill and we don’t have the responsibility to move to higher ground.
Sports, libraries, and national parks as well as many other state subsidies are all great things that benefit my family and community, but we’ve forgotten we can pay for these things ourselves. This is another option. Instead, we’ve let statism define our economic beliefs rather than the Scriptures and common sense. I can send my children to the best of state educational institutions and swear they are educated because they earn a lot of money as adults, but should I? The Bible tells parents to train their children in the way they should go. I can take unemployment benefits, but should I? The Bible teaches us that if we don’t work, we don’t eat. We should ask our families and neighbors who can hold us accountable for food in hard times. Abraham Lincoln once wrote his brother-in-law a letter telling him that he could send him no more cash, but that he would match dollar for dollar any money he earned. It’s harder to admit that you need help when you have to look someone in the eye.
I am not against government institutions but I am against any institution using their power to dehumanize people. God ordains institutions and then defines their sphere of influence. Properly defined roles implemented within these spheres help a citizenry desire to be good. No one is good but God, but it gives the people a vision for goodness (which comes from the same root as godliness), without which they will perish. But when one institution usurps another’s duties, in the words of the Hobbits of the Shire, only trouble can follow. Unnatural things are about to occur.
Unnatural ideas like ‘jobs’ robbed us of the idea of work. A job is something someone else takes a risk to create so you can feed your family. It’s an expectation that someone else out there better be creative so you can be employed. The only job in the Bible is pronounced with a long ‘o’. Instead, Scriptures tell us to work. The idea of work has become so lost that we can’t imagine how to care for ourselves without a paycheck, as though money was a resource rather than a way to carry resources easily in your pocket. But that’s Satan’s plan – teach the masses to rely on fiat currency rather than the property God gives for life and liberty. Then life and liberty are easy to remove in the name of security and pleasure. We need to admit that we expect other people to develop our job opportunities, educate our children, fix our inability to save money, and provide for us when we are sick. Who needs God when you have a strong Federal Reserve?
Since the 2008 election, my mentors from the Austrian School of Economics have begun to become household names. Well, maybe more accurately, names used by Keynesian professors when interviewed on major TV news shows. The academic community is beginning to concede that ideas have consequences and statism leads to lousy economic conditions. Austrian economists came from Hitler’s Europe and challenged the FDR-era academics to stop following the path of Europe. Their message was censored until now. Talking heads on news shows are demanding that liberty be brought into the conversation. The Feds are out of money and have no stated standard of currency that is reliable beyond a faith in men that have too much invested to see dollars fail. Folks are finally recognizing that maybe the long past has more concrete solutions for the future than those endorsed in the more recent past.
Since I was in high school, I have worked on various political campaigns. I have yet to be disappointed in a candidate because everyone I’ve ever voted for who won proceeded to vote against liberty once they were in office. I expect that because I know how hard it is to be free. I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever supported who can support their ideology for any situation. Situational ethics rule the political realm and rob fine men and women of their principles. I like the folks I support, I believe in the folks I support, and I will continue to work for them. But on the other hand, I just wish…
So as I ponder freedom, I wonder which candidate would be glad I chose to pay off my student loans, not use credit cards, and relinquish my engineering career to stay home with my babies. Which candidate would support me the most consistently as I educate myself and my children in the ways of God and the institutions He ordained – government, church, and family. I wonder which candidate would acknowledge that the best education raises children that feed the hungry, give sight to the blind, and care for widows and orphans – not ask for legislation that favors our employment, nor ask for others to fund our sports teams, schools, and libraries.
Could there be a candidate who knows the best thing to do is sometimes nothing? Is there a candidate that trusts me to feed my family, to care for my elderly parents, to keep my yard’s wetlands healthy, and to purchase insurance if I live in a flood zone? Is there a candidate that believes I am an adult who can make responsible decisions to grow my financial assets, to save for my old age, and to invest in my education? Is there a candidate who believes that if someone who is hungry comes to my attention, I will feed them?
Well, I believe my wish may have come true. In the midst of Hurricane Irene, when asked if he really was against government support–right when 20 million Americans were asking for FEMA aid–he said, “Yes.” Politics don’t matter to him as much as the truth. He knows it is wrong to ask for money that just doesn’t exist and isn’t yours. Finally there is a presidential candidate who not only understands thoroughly that ideas have consequences, but I believe finally has a chance to win. He has been around a very long time. I’ve supported him through supporting mutually shared ideas and associations for over thirty years. I’ve known about him for a long time, and I finally think he can win. I’d like to announce my support for Ron Paul for President.
By the way, I’m taking a team of students and adults from my business to clean up yards along the coast after Hurricane Irene. We don’t need FEMA, we need each other, and we need Ron Paul for President.