Liberty, Democracy, and the State of Confusion

Gaye Levy, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

The news of the day in the modern world is filled with stories of civil unrest.  This is happening in the streets of Seattle, the ghettos of New York, and the back roads of middle America.  Wherever you look, the little guys are turning out in droves in an attempt to show their disgust and contempt with the power elites and sneaky elected officials.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I abhor violence and I oppose the destruction of public property.  I also disagree with the mass disruption of public transportation and other systems and services that we, as taxpayers, have paid for with annual IRS tithe.  But regardless of these personal feelings, a tiny piece of me is rooting for those that are brave enough and courageous enough to get our there and fight for the rights of the rest of us.

So all of this got me thinking.   What is it that we really want?  And why is a fight so necessary?  I think it all boils down to this: Liberty.

We want to take back our liberty and to restore democracy within our government.  And thus comes the confusion.  But first let us start with some definitions.  According to Merriam-Webster:

Liberty is the quality of state of being free including:

  • The power to do as one pleases
  • Freedom from physical restraint
  • Freedom from arbitrary or despotic control
  • The positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges
  • The power of choice

Now all of that sounds like good stuff – the very stuff that our founding fathers represented to the people in 1776.  Liberty as I see it is right to govern oneself in accordance with our own free will and with full responsibility for our actions.  So, other than the requirement to pay taxes and abide by the laws, liberty means no one – and more specifically, no government – can force us to do anything beyond that.  More on that later.

Let us move on to the definition of Democracy.  Again we go to Merriam-Webster:

Democracy is a government by the people, especially the rule of the majority.  A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

Okay.  That says that in a democracy, all people have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives.  It further says that the representatives of the people serve to insure that our needs, our wishes and our mandates are translated in to law.

And here is where it gets wonky.  The last time I checked, my understanding of the current rules of democracy say that any person or entity with enough money to purchase representation will prevail in determining the rules, the laws and the moral attitudes of our government.

But let’s continue to move on; there is another definition to be made:  Socialism.

Socialism is an economic and political theory advocating the collective or governmental ownership of the production and distribution of goods.  Furthermore, there is no private property and everything is owned and controlled by the state.

This is saying, in my own words, that Socialism means that the wealth of a society is government owned, government controlled, and everyone else in this society will be hunky dory because the government will give them everything they need.  Because after all, individual rights and needs cannot be more important than the needs of the collective “everyone”.

Change the words a bit and substitute “elites” for “government” and “working stiffs” for “individuals” and you will see why things are not looking to rosy.  As a matter of fact, this comes close to some other nasty political “isms” out there that are none too pleasant such as Marxism, Stalinism, and Communism.

Getting back to the civil unrest that is running rampant in our communities:  Who is to blame our youth for rebelling against a bleak and uncertain socio-economic future?  Who is to blame the unemployed and underemployed from crying foul to corporations, that,  with our government’s blessing, are moving high-paying manufacturing and service jobs overseas?  And who is to blame the rest of us, perhaps too old or too chicken to fight, to rally them on with a silent blessing?

I ask myself if I feel free and whether I feel empowered by liberty.  I also ask whether we – the middle class – have unintentionally sold out to our government and elected officials.  Have we given up our freedom and our liberty in the name of misguided safety?  I am saddened to realize that that the answers to these questions is not a truth that I want to face and that I fear for the next generation and the generation after that.

We currently live in a world of airport pat downs, forced healthcare, mandatory vaccinations, and the unauthorized surveillance of our whereabouts and our communications.  I wish I knew how we got to this place and even more, I wish I knew what to do about it.

So – trite as it may sound –when asked I will tell you that I live in the State of Confusion and that is not a very pleasant or comfortable place to be.

Should feel happy, should feel glad.
I’m alive and it can’t be bad,
But back on planet Earth they shatter the illusion,
The world’s going ’round in a state of confusion.
. . . The Kinks, 1983
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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