Originally posted 2009-09-01 22:54:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
August 23, 2009
Each and every day a child is born into a world of truths and lies, rights and wrongs, haves and wants. From its first breath, it is conditioned to understand the forces of action and reaction, the relationship between wanting and getting, and how to manipulate the circumstances to best serve its needs. Whether it’s crying to receive its milk or copping a smile to get a hug, the child quickly begins to understand how to acquire material and non-material things.
Our mind is conditioned to think in terms of acquisitions and possessions. It is human nature and, just like with any other emotion, there too is an emotion attached to one’s possessions. The value of one’s possessions (regardless of whether they are material, like a home or a car, or non-material, like professional respect or rich family traditions) is directly related to the effort exerted in obtaining them. The depth of the emotion attached to these possessions is similarly directly correlated to this effort, as well as their value. The three form an inextricable triad which is deeply rooted in human nature and natural law. From this simple observation, a basic conclusion about the human condition can be summarized as follow:
Your happiness is directly related to the value of the wealth (material and non-material) you’ve created and the effort you’ve contributed in creating it.
When we are first taught to play in the sandbox, we are told not to take the other children’s toys. Why? Because first of all those toys don’t belong to us – we haven’t earned the right to have them. Secondly, it would make the other children sad, since that for which they likely had to do something to get (i.e. earn it), would be unjustly taken away from them. It’s just common sense, isn’t it?
But some time very soon after the sandbox stage in a child’s development, these nascent links and deep-rooted relationships between ownership, effort and happiness begin to be eaten away. In the home this happens through parents who too easily accept the commercial media version of the world and who are not willing (or intellectually able) to espouse the basic principles of natural law and individual responsibility onto their offspring. Outside the home the society takes over with incongruent representations of the real world, manifested in attitudes such as:
- debt is good (and you don’t really have to pay it all back)
- your mistakes are everyone else’s problem
- less capable does not mean less deserving
- every effort is just as good as any other, and should deserve the same outcome (i.e. it’s the effort that counts)
- opportunity should not be equally apportioned, but instead should be skewed toward those who need it most, even (or particularly) if at the expense of those who can produce a better outcome from such opportunity
Does that make sense? Is a society which has these as its principles efficient, fair, equitable and sustainable?
Clearly, the answer must be “no,” since each violates one or more basic laws of human behavior and indeed common sense. Yet over the better part of the 20th century the American society has adopted and inculcated each of these values into its daily life and its government, media and cultural centers continue to promote even greater departures from the basic principles which make up the human behavioral DNA.
A modern society which is based on principles of liberty and freedom cannot at the same time be one which imposes unnatural laws and ordinances on its citizens. It is not, as most progressive liberals would like to see, a place and time where all are guaranteed an equal outcome, regardless of their individual contribution. It certainly cannot be one which irresponsibly uses its financial and human resources and violates the most basic principles of supply/demand economics.
Like the sea farer that knows the immovable nature of the stars and how they provide him guidance to navigate the stormy waters, so too a modern society must have its anchor in tried and tested core founding principles. And this is particularly true in a world where change is occurring at increasing speed and where losing its national compass, a society risks eternal disorientation in the sea of conflict and divergence.
In his 1776 political pamphlet “Common Sense” Thomas Paine looks at the political systems of his time, the monarchy, the British parliament, commons and constitution and questions many of the prevailing ideas of the role of government and its relationship to the citizens. In so doing he applies a rigorous discipline of logic and of common sense, and exposes nonsensical laws and political traditions. Most constitutional historians agree that this scrutiny and deep analysis of the British system of government at the time made a significant impact on the writing of the United States Constitution.
We could say that much common sense was applied by the authors of the American Constitution in formulating the principles of our founding. We know that because of its common sense it has withstood the test of time.
Each time we step away from these guiding principles, we lose one more star in the sky to guide us by.
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