Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

12 November 2011

Thoughts on Veteran's Day

I was drafted out of graduate school to serve in the Army during the during the late phase of the Vietnam War. We had not been winning that war early, but were winning in its later phases under General Abrams.  Being involved in this war was a strange experience.  We had won a war that academia and the media thought we had lost and eventually the American People bought into that wrong assessment.  Then we did leave dishonorably, having abandoned the South Vietnamese to the North Vietnamese Army when our Congress shut off all support, but the USSR and China continued support to North Vietnam.  Our national interest had not been great enough to get into the war and to use a draft to provide the manpower to fight it, but once you tell a nation you have their back because you believe in freedom and the universal rights of the individual, you do not abandon them in a dark alley surrounded by the enemies of freedom and the individual.

America has not lacked for brave and dedicated men and women to save it from foreign threats to our security.  What it has lacked is enough Americans who understand what legitimate government is.  Our Declaration of Independence defined that as government that protects the equal, sovereign rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  At that time, it was well-understood that this implied property rights, freedom of contract, and the right to earn a living were all secure from government interference.  The Constitution was a mandate from the People to the government that it had very limited powers for the purpose of protecting our individual rights and for dealing with foreign governments and persons.  Its internal powers were very few and limited to a postal service, post roads, patent protection, copyright protection, and establishing a uniform system of weights and measurements.

Unfortunately, we Americans have corrupted that legitimate concept of government in favor of a tyranny that offers a veneer of material security at the cost of our individual rights.  The real battle for our freedom today is not with foreign powers, though that matters, but with our own understanding of why we need limited government and a healthy and vibrant private sector in which we each choose our own values and have the freedom of association to cooperate with whomever we want for the purposes we want on a voluntary basis.  Government is always a last resort because government dictates values and suppresses the individual whenever it exceeds the very limited function of protecting the rights of the individual to life, liberty, property, the ownership of one's own mind and body, and the pursuit of individual happiness.  Government cannot deal with the complexity and uniqueness of the individual, which is why it can only function usefully to protect our basic rights.  It is the private sector that allows us to be who we are and accommodate to the fact that we are all very different, have many needs to cooperate with one another, and have unique hierarchies of personal values and goals.  To understand this is to understand the American Principle.

I salute the Americans who have served in our armed forces.  But, even more critically, I salute those Americans who understand and stand for, the American Principle.  May you ever Stand Sure!

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