Posts Tagged ‘politicians’

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

The very first words of the very first amendment to the US Constitution. These words are very important. The founders understood over 200 years ago that the freedom to practice your religion, whatever it may be, or no religion, is essential to securing all other freedoms.

This is just as true today as it was then. That’s why it bothers me when people from all sides of the political spectrum are calling for the community center (which is mistakenly referred to as a mosque) to not be allowed to be built two blocks away from the former WTC site. These supposed lovers of freedom are calling for two of the most basic freedoms, freedom of religion & the right to private property, to be denied to a select group of people based on what happened nine years ago (yes, it was a tragedy) perpetrated by a small group of terrorists from a country not even remotely like ours.

And it’s not just happening in NYC. Just an hour or so from my house, a community center (also referred to as a mosque) is finding opposition to a planned expansion in Murfreesboro. The kicker? The group has had a community center in the county since 1997. The reason for the epansion is because they’ve outgrown their current facility. Luckily, despite the opposition, the expansion will be allowed.

This battle is being fought all over the country. Newt Gingrich says that we shouldn’t allow mosques in this country until Christian churches are allowed in Saudi Arabia (or something along those lines). Howard Dean says it’s an affront. He also says those doing the project in NYC are doing it in good faith (that’s a little contradictory).

The fact is that none of these projects are in violation of any zoning laws, they’re being built on private property, and are run by those who have proven to be good citizens. Why should we deny them their constitutional right to practice their religion, especially on private property?

Do you disagree with Islam as a religion? If so, why? Are you aware that Islam, Judaism, & Christianity share many of the same tenets? Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, & the angel Gabriel all appear in the 3 religions, among other figures.

But Muslims stone people to death, right? Well, it’s allowed under their laws, but the majority of Islamic nations have ceased this practice. And don’t forget, stoning was an acceptable punishment in early Christianity & Judaism. 

Look, we all have our differences. But the fact is they have the right to practice their religion, especially on their own property. We have no right to take that away. And when you insult their religion, you most likely insult your own (unless you’re an atheist).

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When did it become wrong to believe in individual people and right to believe in collectivist governments?

I know many people don’t like Ayn Rand or her philosophy (which was partly too difficult for even her to live by), but she had the right idea: keep governments out of private business. That’s the way the country was run for a long time.

Cut to today. Now we have big corporations (not all, but some), lobbyists, & special interests that have politicians in their back pockets. Case in point: the NRA. They recently pledged support for a campaign finance reform bill after being awarded exemption from the new rules through a provision they authored (see my previous post: Special Interest & The Government).

Google & Verizon recently published what they believe should be the guidelines for regulating the internet…rules that would hinder their competitors. Even the FCC, which is in favor of internet regulation, came out against these guidelines, as did a huge swath of the internet community.

This may seem like a rant against business, but it’s not. It’s a rant against government & businesses getting too cozy. When the government picks the winners, the populace loses. Look at the current “Summer of Recovery”: 9.5% unemployment, 131,000 net jobs lost last month (though the private sector has decreasingly added jobs every month this year), GDP growth that gets revised downward more often than not, etc. And this is after the trillions of taxpayer dollars that were pumped into certain companies, banks, and government departments to stop the downward economic spiral.

So where’s the recovery? Most major downturns are followed by quick recoveries. Look at the depression of 1920-1921: tax cuts, spending cuts, and some other noninterventionist policies paved the way for the roaring 20s. By contrast, the Great Depression lasted over a decade despite (because of) government interference, and unemployment didn’t see a sharp decline until America got into WWII & the draft was instituted.

Empirical evidence shows the less government interferes, the faster & more sustainable the recovery. Governments picking winners & losers means everybody loses.

Got off on a tangent there. You’ll see that happens a lot. Anyway, my point is that anybody that believes in giving power to the individual to do what he wants, with the caveat that he harms no one other than himself, is now considered an extremist.

Belief that we are free to live our lives our way, again- harming no one other than ourselves, instead of the government proclaiming how we should live is a crackpot. Not giving us control over our own bodies, what goes in our bodies, what happens in our bedroom, who we take to our bedroom (consensually and both being of legal age), how we spend our money, what we buy…these are a few examples of how government interferes with our lives. And we’re crazy because we want to take responsibility for our own lives & not have that responsibility taken away by government?

Then call me crazy.

A lot of people don’t like Glenn Beck. Just as many people don’t like Keith Olbermann. But no one asks what caused the meteoric rise of these political commentating superstars. There have been political commentators since the beginning of politics, but few have reached the heights of these two heavyweights.

If you want to know why these, and a few others, shot to fame from virtually nowhere (with the exception of Olbermann. He made the move to politics from Sports Center), you only have to look at the language and length of the bills congress writes.

With 1,000+ page bills written by lawyers and doctors, the layman has neither the time to digest nor the knowledge to interpret these massive pieces of legislation. So what do they do? They turn to someone, anyone, who tells them in plain english what (they say) the bill says. The problem is that these commentators report on these bills according to the political philosophy they subscribe to, not necessarily what the bill actually says.

Now, do you wanna know how to minimize the impact these, and other, commentators have on the direction of the country? The answer is simple: force the legislature to write bills in plain language and limit the size of bills to a maximum of 100 pages (the simpler anything is, the easier it is to repair when broken–paraphrase of Thomas Paine)

Whose fault is it that we’ve been gradually losing our freedoms since the founding of our country? Do we blame the politician, who speaks out of both sides of his mouth? Do we blame the lobbyist, who bribes governments for special favors? Do we blame the corporate CEO, who wants to make money at all cost?

Or do we blame “We the people”? Is it not our job to ensure our liberties are protected at home while our military protects us abroad? For too long we have sat idly by while the politician, lobbyist, and the occasional CEO have nibbled away at our liberties. We became complacent, thinking we could never lose freedom. But that complacency is the very reason we have lost, and continue to lose, bits of our freedoms.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. We sat idly by while the Progressive elements in this country struck blows against freedom in the guise of protecting or taking care of us. We let them pass social security, thinking the government could plan our retirements better than we could. We let them pass Medicare and Medicaid, thinking they could manage our healthcare better in our golden years than we could. We let them pass the Patriot Act, thinking warrantless wiretaps would protect us from terrorists.

Liberty is the freedom to choose. But the examples I’ve given, among others, take choices away. Social Security hinders our choice to plan our own retirements. Medicare takes away our choice of what doctor we see (private insurers do the same, which needs to be addressed). The Patriot Act takes away our very privacy. Yet we the people sat idly by and let it happen.

Will we continue to stand by while Congress tries to expand a failing healthcare program (Medicare) to tens of millions of Americans? Will we stand idly by while they enact stricter environmental laws (cap and trade) when scientists are still at odds over man’s effect on global warming? Will we stand idly by while the largest Ponzi scheme in history (Social Security) is allowed to grow even more out of control? When will we stand up and let the government know that “We the people” are taking our country back?

I’ve asked a lot of questions. I hope everyone who reads this seriously thinks about each and every one. Do your research. Talk to friends and family. Talk to those who will challenge your opinions. Again, I’ve asked many questions, but I’ll leave you with one more: I’m willing to do my share of fighting for my freedoms, are you?