Child Hoods End
Enter the Forest
Roots of Halloween
NEW "PLEDGE" FOR AMERICANS
Here's is a revised Pledge that we should all seriously consider. If it "rings
true" to you, please copy and share it as widely as possible.
"I Humbly-pledge allegiance to the Founding Ideals of the United States
of America, including the Republican Way of High-motivated SELF-governance: one
Moral Nation united together indivisible, with EQUAL Liberty and EQUAL Justice
for all citizens and legal immigrants."
"FREEDOM" AND ITS MANY COUNTERFEITS
Commentary on Independence Day
Back when I was six or seven years old, a neighbor girl made a rude comment
to my brother and I. We said something back to her, probably that we were going
to tell her parents, and she responded that she could say whatever she wanted.
After all, she taunted, "this is a free country." Of course, that
was only a child's extremely limited picture of what "freedom" means.
She had absolutely no sense of the balancing act whereupon "rights" must
be counter-balanced with "responsibilities." She only had this vague
idea that because we're taught in our schools that this is a "free country," she
could simply say (and do) whatever she felt like, with no concern about the
ramifications of those words. While some adults may snicker at her youthful
naivete, her perspective is unfortunately held by all too many so-called "adults" today.
We are universally confused about the nature of "freedom."
During the last decade or so when Charles Manson's parole hearings were televised,
he would say words to the effect, "I didn't do anything wrong. All I was
doing was giving freedom to young people." Amazingly (to me), none of
those who were questioning Manson ever asked him to define (specifically, and
precisely) what he meant by "freedom." Had they done so, and continued
to press for details beyond the first few layers of glib surface answers, you'd
likely to have seen a confused and uncertain Manson, beginning to ask himself
about the real nature of this thing we call freedom.
One of our problems today is that we have continued to "dumb down" our
standards as students do worse and worse on their tests. Thus, if student don't
(and can't) read well, and don't have the discipline to do so, then they simply
cannot be good historians or judges of their own country. And if you do not
take the time to read the U.S. Bill of Rights and the history surrounding it,
you have no way to evaluate that elusive thing called "freedom," particularly
in the context of this country's history. If you think that there is no great
value in a country where you can practice your religious beliefs without fear
of legal reprisals, and if you feel that lives were lost in vain to create
the unique freedoms enjoyed here, then your ignorance is not bliss. History
tells us that those who did not grasp the significance of their freedoms, and
value them, lost them (sooner or later). It is particularly painful to hear
about people who have lost touch with the political and religious freedoms
that were the basis of this country, and who think that the purpose of our
freedoms is to "have fun," "say and do whatever I want," "be
lazy," "be immoral," and otherwise tear down rather than build
Let's look at the Amendments about Free Speech and about the Right to Bear
Arms. In the context of the founding of this country, free speech really was
referring to free political speech. But somehow we've allowed clever lawyers
and weak-minded citizens to allow that clear concept to be twisted to mean
that any sort of written material is OK, such as all manner of pornography,
and that even all manner of "free expression" is OK. Some have gone
so far to say that burning the U.S. flag is an act protected under the First
Amendment. While I'm not in favor of a law to make it illegal to burn the flag,
I also think that it requires a most convoluted sense of logic to say the First
Amendment makes it OK to burn the flag.
A fundamental point to consider is the balance of rights and responsibilities.
Yes, you can always and anywhere and in all situations say whatever you wish
-- but there are always some sort of consequences. To merely "say what
I wanna say when I wanna say it" is a childish desire that has no meaningful
relevance to a mature person. Yes, you have the right to say things -- but
not the right to speak Lies or Rumors or Defamatory statements intended to
harm. A plain speaker who speaks unvarnished Truth is a rarity indeed in this
world. We are so used to politicians and leaders who deceive, and who say the "right
things" to the right crowds, that we no longer respect anyone's word.
And that's a real shame!
As always, when the populace practice self-control and self-responsibility,
there is no need for the society at large to create rules and laws and orders
(ad nauseum). Rules and laws only come after there are violations of 100% free
choice. Which brings us back to our elusive "freedom." Yes, you CAN
say and do whatever you want. But there is always a price to pay. The "price" can
be exacted in numerous ways. If we have acted in complete Balance, the "price" for
our freedom of speech was paid in our self-restraint and self-responsibility.
If our words and actions are imbalanced, then the price is paid, somehow, eventually,
by your time and energy, until balance is again achieved. This is what is meant
by Karma. Unfortunately, most of us are "paying for" our inappropriate
actions and statements all the time, in ways large and small. It happens when
we get sick, or get into accidents, or we "lose time," or someone
steals from us, etc. etc. etc. Nature is seeking balance. It is unavoidable.
We can't escape it. It has nothing to do with belief or religion or God or
Jesus or George Washington or the Koran or the Bible or Moses. It is just the
way this Universe operates. So IF you have carefully considered your words,
and actions, you earn the right to continue making free choices.
Also to consider when you use the word "freedom." Do you mean "freedom
to..." or do you mean "freedom from..."? Just try asking that
to yourself when you find yourself using the word "freedom." If freedom
means an escape from responsibility, then you are pursuing the counterfeit
freedom. If freedom means working harder to create a better life for yourself
and your family, and a better world to live in for your community, then it
is very likely that you are pursuing the real freedoms.
OK, it's starting to sound like I'm preaching. Let's move on to the Second
Without the Second Amendment, the rest would be meaningless. Why? Since by
design, this amendment gives the INDIVIDUAL citizen a means to join others
to fight off tyranny and dictatorships. For those who are of the mistaken opinion
that the Second Amendment does not refer to the individual right to keep and
bear arms, I ask you to read not only the wording of the Second Amendment,
but also all the other extant writings of all the men who wrote our Bill of
Rights. If you do not read all the other supportive data that was written at
that time, then you are choosing to formulate an opinion based upon nothing
but your emotional reactions, but not on facts. IF you take the time to go
to a library or bookstore to read such statements, you'll see that the term "militia" was
explicitly intended to refer to individuals. There is absolutely no doubt about
that. Just read every Amendment to the Constitution and what do you see? EACH
one refers to INDIVIDUAL rights! Why would the Second refer to something else?
Now, some years ago, the Los Angeles Times (notoriously biased against firearms),
interviewed four U.S. police chiefs, asking their opinions as to whether the
Second Amendment referred to individual rights or to a national guard. All
the police chiefs said that they believed the Second Amendment did not refer
to individual rights. That is, these police chiefs were willing to share their
opinions, based upon their actual ignorance of the Second Amendment. And, the
Los Angeles Times editorial staff was willing to publish that very biased article
(propaganda, really), suggesting that if four police chiefs say the Second
Amendment does not refer to individual rights then it does not! Again, the
world is full of folks who have no qualms about pushing forth their personal
agendas, and who have no concern about the actual facts of the matter.
If we do not study history, and if we no longer grasp what our own founding
legal documents say and mean, then we have effectively already "lost" it.
If you do nothing else on the Fourth of July, you should at least take the
time to research these matters for yourself, your family, and your friends.
Of what value is it to enjoy hot dogs and fireworks, if we are already well
into the process of losing the very freedoms we think we are celebrating?