I’ve swung back-and-forth quite a bit during this pandemic. The two ends would best be characterized by denial and anxiety. Today something new is bubbling up. I’m beginning to feel like I’ve been bamboozled.
It started as I considered this notion of “essential”. Actually, it started by reading what exactly was “essential” according to the government, and seeing how markedly it differed from my previous understanding of the word.
Now, it continues to build as I focus on how this is exactly how a socialist economic system works: Central planning. In other words, someone, not me, decides what I believe is essential.
Before the pandemic, Americans were doing just fine determining what was essential for their life. If we made a lot of money, we couldn’t live without extravagance. If we didn’t make any money, we survived by driving for Uber.
We were never satisfied with our fancy cars and ever changing diets, or we were eternally grateful to be able to make more money at will.
Now, the government is both feeding us the horrifying information about the disease and determining which parts of our lives are essential. This is a problem.
More pointedly, I just want to repeat that Major League Baseball is essential to summer.
Hey, You! Sleepy-head! Wake up! What is essential to you?
As an officer in the United States Air Force I defended more than an idea. I defended more than a way of life. I defended more than a nation. I defended individual people. And I believe that my experience qualifies me as an expert on defense–at least of individual people. The following is one particular defense tip for daily use.
The national politicians are going to use whatever words they believe will help gain and retain their power. But you and I are not national politicians, so our game is different. Our goal is not obtaining power, it is encouraging people to think for themselves. Our goal is encouraging people to become individuals.
Last night, I heard what I’m beginning to hear more and more as the election nears.
“I agree that Russia and Venezuela are bad socialism. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the good socialism–like Sweden and Norway.”
Now, on the national level, President Trump has declared, “America will never become Socialist,” while his opponents respond, “Yes, I am, in fact, socialist. It is the best way.”
(Again, you and I are not national politicians or pundits. Stay in reality.)
At this point, I could have (and shamefully began to, until I quickly retreated) discussed socialism with this individual. That never works. Never. Instead, I volunteered, “The government should not be able to take my money. It is my money. Not theirs.”
As any good socialist would respond, he said, “They’re not going to take your money. They’re going to take the rich people’s money.”
I must have gotten a look that said, “What if I become rich?” because the man, while not instantaneously converting to truth, seemed to realize the immorality of his suggestion (that someone besides me gets to have my money) and we paused the discussion.
To recap: Unsuccessful defenses of the individual include, “Have you read what socialism is?” “We are not Sweden.” “Socialism is always evil.” “There is no such thing as ‘good’ socialism.”
Successful defenses of the individual include, “The government should not be able to take my money.” And, “Gas tax and tolls (the answer to his additional clarifying query, “How do we pay for roads?”).”