Thursday, August 14, 2008

U.S.A.: The New China

Americans who watch the Olympics are being treated to scenes of China's rapid accumulation of wealth.

Even if the Communist government blocks certain websites, the average Chinese worker has a whole lot more Internet freedom than 40 years ago, when tens of millions were being murdered by the Chinese Communists, and nobody had rice, much less a computer. A little Internet is better than none at all, right? That's why 85% of the Chinese favor government censorship of the Internet.

By allowing a little liberty, and a little wealth, Communist governments gain the adulation of those accustomed to brute force and savage oppression. The Chinese people love the Communists, as do the Russians, because their standard of living is increasing from dirt-poor to not-nearly-as-bad.

What most people in atheistic dictatorships lack is what Samuel Adams called "the spirit of liberty." Americans lack this spirit. But that's no surprise; Americans live under an atheistic dictatorship.

Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as saying:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor S

What is the opposite of "LIBERTY?" The answer is: SLAVERY.

What is the opposite of "SAFETY?" Some might answer: DANGER. But that's not the correct answer in this context. In the context of Ben Franklin and the American Revolution, the opposite of "SAFETY" is PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Personal Responsibility is the freedom to own property and make a profit from it, and keep the profit. There's risk involved, and no "sure bets," but those who are successful in the use of liberty and responsibility will profit. Note these well-known (in some circles) words of Samuel Adams, from a speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia, “to a very numerous audience,” on August 1, 1776 (and remember that "Tranquility" is what Franklin described as "temporary safety"):

In a state of tranquillity, wealth, and luxury, our descendants would forget the arts of war* and the noble activity and zeal which made their ancestors invincible. Every art of corruption would be employed to loosen the bond of union which renders our resistance formidable. When the spirit of liberty, which now animates our hearts and gives success to our arms,* is extinct, our numbers will accelerate our ruin and render us easier victims to tyranny. If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom—go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!
* Note that Adams and the Founding Fathers believed they were engaged in a defensive war against tyranny.

Samuel Adams said the opposite of SAFETY is "the animating contest of freedom." This can refer to the entrepreneur in the Free Market, or to a citizen fighting city hall. America's Founders often said that the price of liberty is "eternal vigilance." We must always be fighting for liberty, or we show ourselves to be slaves.

Notice that in the context of his day, Sam Adams said the opposite of LIBERTY is WEALTH. That will surprise many Americans.

Most people think that if you have wealth, you have Liberty. This is probably the most dangerous myth of the century in which we live.

Americans have been "bought off."

And billions of people around the world are about to be "bought off."

America's Founding Fathers would say that Americans today are slaves. Wealthy slaves, but still slaves. Slaves that enjoy luxury and tranquility, but still slaves.

Sam Adams tossed tea into the Boston Harbor rather than be subjected to a tax of 3 pence per pound. How much tax do you pay on each gallon of gas you buy?

Why do you pay 20 times more in taxes than America's Founding Fathers? Because you think the government guarantees you "the good life." You have your own computer, central air conditioning, a DVD player in your SUV, and you think the government made all of this possible.

China is experiencing phenomenal economic growth. Many are becoming wealthy. The poor are becoming middle-class. In a few years, China may be more powerful and wealthier than the U.S.A. In what way would America's Founding Fathers say that secular America with its 60% tax rate is better than Communist China with its flourishing capitalism?

There is no longer any fundamental distinction between the U.S.A. and Communist China. Americans and the Chinese are both slaves in an atheistic dictatorship. The difference is quantity, not quality. China may be a bit more enthusiastic about its atheism, and a little bolder in its dictatorship, but from the perspective of Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, and Patrick Henry, America is an atheistic dictatorship, and you are a slave.

Governments want you to believe they can give you wealth and safety. All you have to do is give up your liberty, and especially "the spirit of liberty," to quote Sam Adams.

But you don't really want "liberty" anyway, because that means personal responsibility. That means risk and uncertainty. Better to be a pampered slave.

Sacrificing Morality

Sacrificing "the spirit of liberty" and personal responsibility is un-American enough. But the price of "safety," "security," and a government-guarantee is the death of virtue and morality. To obtain a government guarantee of security, you have to give up your moral standards.

You would never use force or threats of violence to compel a customer to shop at your place of business. You would never steal, kill, kidnap or defraud others in order to get your HDTV. But if you're willing to have the government steal, kill, kidnap, or defraud others in order for you to get what you want -- "tranquillity, wealth, and luxury" -- then you are a slave. But the government calls it "security."

If you believe it's too "risky" to compete in a Free Market, you're a slave.

If you believe a secure, government-guaranteed life is better than the risk and responsibility of competition in a Free Market, and if you believe the government is capable of guaranteeing your tranquility, your wealth, and your luxury, then you are a slave.

To paraphrase Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death" Speech,

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
Is security so dear, or wealth so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

If you cannot stand competition, if you are afraid to compete in "the animating contest of freedom," if you're willing to kill, steal, or in any way initiate force against another human being in order to obtain "tranquillity, wealth, and luxury," you are a SLAVE.

America's Founders would also say you are an idolater, a believer in the false religion of statism.

But there is hope. Really! We'll describe this in a future post.

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