I’m home from Brooklyn, you could say “No Sleep ’till We Leave Brooklyn.” The trip was great but tiring. Home feels so good.
I woke up in my own bed this morning and was struck by how nice it was to do just that. To be home in my space, with room and with comfort and with peace. It would certainly be easy for those who disagree with me to find data, Europeans rank their happiness higher than we do, but I find the creature comforts America has to offer to be a significant satisfier.
In other words, it is better to be poor in America than it is to be at the median in other countries.
However, I am struck that this time of ours, this pleasant state may be peaking. That the essence of what makes America America is fading. It’s clear that we’re moving towards a more socialist-democracy favored by Western Europe. A nation that feels it’s more important reign in individual liberty so that others may receive care and access to goods and services.
It’s hard to go back to my college self and reflect on how I felt about the issues of the day. I certainly didn’t think about them through the lens of liberty and of limited government. Rather, I simply went with my then gut. I was certainly pleased when the minimum wage went up, but I also understood that as I raised the rate on my lawn mowing business I mowed less lawns. I’ve always opposed taxation but understand that things like roads and cops and schools need to be payed for. I had some very special teachers; people that shaped my life. But I had some horrible horrible teachers that I knew had no business teaching.
Anyway, the me of today enjoys the rush of emotion I still get when I consider the incredible courage required to create the America of then. And the me of today feels more and more like Dr. Chambless:
Somewhere on a country highway today I learned of the gutless assistance John Roberts gave the liberals on the Supreme Court in ruling that the federal government has the Constitutional right to tax all of us if we refuse to purchase something the government demands that we purchase. Roberts said that the government cannot require us to buy health insurance but can “tax” us if we do not.
This means that if the government decides some day that a certain type of car is best in fighting global warming or that a certain type of school is best for our kids or that a certain type of food is best for our health that we will not have to buy the small car, go to the local school or buy carrots but can be taxed on these decisions to not partake of these goods.
Folks, I am sorry, but it is over for this country.
I believe Thomas Jefferson would say, “But of course” upon reading today’s Supreme Court decision.The fact is, as we approach the 236th birthday of this dying experiment that it is somewhat of a miracle that a republic could have lasted this long. The “makers” in our nation are now so outnumbered by the “takers” that we will most likely not be able to get back the liberty we have now lost.
Historians will record, with bewilderment, that the people who were given the gift of liberty on this Earth turned over their gift to the same forces that always destroy liberty to begin with.
And then this on his thoughts on July 4th:
Today was about celebrating the original gift, the concept, the idea of The United States of America. It was about being joyful that we have had all of these years of relative liberty when compared to the rest of the world – and still have when looking around the globe today.It really does not matter what the future holds for America at this point.
Every Founding Father who signed the letter to King George on that muggy day in Philadelphia must have known – or should have known – that the moment the ink from their courageous signatures dried it would herald the beginning of the end of their selfless sacrifice for posterity.
No nation that allows covetous men and women to vote can maintain a system of liberty and property rights. Eventually, those who covet what others have – when allowed to vote – will engage in the abrogation of the rights of their fellowman. It is inevitable, it is with us now and it will herald, as Ben Franklin said, “….the end of the republic.”
Those of us who still reside in America must realize that we live in a post-Constitution United States. When those among us who care about liberty come to grips with the aforementioned reality we can refocus our energies on delaying the inevitable end of this grand and glorious experiment with human liberty and limited government.
I agree. It is my hope to delay this as long as we can so that one day my kids too can wake up and enjoy the fruits of America.
Well, having lived in Europe I can honestly say that the US is not at all superior in creature comforts than are most European countries. Not that the Europeans have more — in some ways I like the creature comforts of Germany or Italy more than the US, in other ways the US is superior. Overall the industrialized West has a much higher standard of living than the rest of the world. I love Maine, I loved living in Minnesota, and I loved living in Italy and Germany. And if you look at the economies of Germany, Norway, Sweden and Finland, those states are doing very well – better than we are. I think the reason is community — yes they have advanced social welfare systems, but also a strong sense of societal solidarity that promotes a work ethic and sense that it’s wrong to try to live off the state. The state is there when necessary, representing the community coming together to assure basics. But you shouldn’t abuse it. Americans tend to see the state as impersonal and separate, an outside entity that just takes freedom and taxes away. If one sees the state that way, it’s also easier to rationalize scrounging off it – it doesn’t represent something one values. One can have an advanced social welfare system and strong market economy. Democracy can be stable — but only with a culture that mixes self interest with a sense of duty to the rest of society.
in some ways I like the creature comforts of Germany or Italy more than the US, in other ways the US is superior.
I’m interested in both examples.
if you look at the economies of Germany, Norway, Sweden and Finland, those states are doing very well
Yes, it seems that the German/Nordic states are doing alright. The rest of Europe, not so much.
a strong sense of societal solidarity that promotes a work ethic and sense that it’s wrong to try to live off the state.
This is missing here.
In terms of living space, the US has larger houses and plots of land – Europe is crowded. That said they tend to make their smaller homes quite comfortable. In terms of convenience and appliances I think they out do us – in terms of electronics (TV, cell phones, etc.) I don’t perceive much of a difference. I look around my house and can’t really see anything that I couldn’t have in Europe, though the ease of kayaking, inexpensive skiing, etc., is a perk here. But that’s due to population density (I’m sure I’ve got an advantage over heavily populated areas of the US). Restaurants are interesting. The US gives larger portions for less money. The Europeans tend (though some restaurants are adopting the US model) to focus on the eating experience. Their portions are smaller (but enough – plus you can fit dessert), and the waitstaff will not come to you after serving you unless you call them. That’s to assure you have no pressure to hurry and can eat in comfort. That sometimes upsets Americans waiting for the bill (they won’t bring it until you ask), but Europeans here get annoyed by the constant “are you enjoying your meal” interjections.
Europeans are very good on mass transit and train service — but that’s due to population density again. The Germans are really pushing alternative energy – you can see wind turbines, solar panels, etc., everywhere. The Europeans get four or five week paid vacations every year and travel a lot. In material terms I can’t really see a big difference, the same comforts, appliances and consumer goods are easily found on each side of the Atlantic.
The sense of social solidarity is less in Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain due to an authoritarian heritage (the latter three weren’t democratic until the seventies) and endemic corruption in the Italy state through the late 80s. France is doing OK, I think their debt levels are slightly lower than ours, but they’ve got problems making structural reforms (just like we do). The Brits are in a double dip recession, but aren’t doing any worse than we are. Ireland had a massive collapse, but they do have a real economy (unlike Greece). The East European states are behind, but catching up, thanks in large part to the EU. But to me the key is the last part – a sense of ethics to contribute to society and not leech off it. Where that ethic exists, you can have everything from a minimalist state to a social democratic welfare state. Where it doesn’t exist, problems grow.