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Saturday, October 2, 2021

The Ideal of America Is Not For Sale

The Goldfinch – Carel Fabritius

If forced to label myself, I would say that I'm an egalitarian. I believe that each person has the right to live life in any way they choose as long as it doesn't hurt or infringe upon the rights of others. 

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

It's a deceptively simple doctrine to live by, because it takes strength to see yourself in the next man when he can't see himself in you. 

While I believe in local government, I also believe that like Gollum's precious ring, power corrupts. It turns God's best into greedy little trolls and makes it easier for the next man to dismiss you as being beneath him. And, while a federal government may seem like a progressive next step, it is actually antithetical to the movement started by the libertarians and egalitarians that created the ideal of America. None of us, including them, ever lived in its ideal -- a place where all men are created equal, endowed by their creators with certain inalienable rights, among them, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Can you imagine thinking that our leaders were taking steps to secure our happiness? It is unimaginable to most, but the founders of this country took the first step. They stepped on the ideal of others to create it for themselves, but it was created nonetheless and we are, for better or worse, who we are because of it. Either way we have a debt to pay and it cannot be paid in dollars. It must be paid by your own pursuit of liberty and justice for all.

Money and freedom are not the same

It is wrong to believe that money and freedom are the same. The brainwashing begins early on in life, so it's hard to decouple the two, but you don't need money to gain your freedom. In fact, the pursuit of money is often at odds with your freedom. You don't need capital for liberty. Liberty is an unalienable right endowed upon us by our creator(s). And, if our creator(s) bestowed it upon us, why let a man, or even a nation led by a man, take that unalienable right away. 

So I fight for liberty for all. These aren't mere words -- they mean everything. They can seem lofty and ephemeral, but there are ways to anchor them to reality. The best way to do this is by asking the right question with every action. Is your goal to be rich or free? Do you strive for acceptance or freedom? Do you worship the dollar or liberty?

Many good people are conflicted by these questions and with good reason. What good is liberty if your child is hungry? It is this fear that causes delusional thinking. Instead of logic and reason, we turn to whatever works, which usually doesn't.

The beautiful thing about the system we live in is that there are many options. It may feel as though your path is pre-defined, but this is yet another delusion. In reality, your options, from minute to minute, are unlimited. And, you don't have to quit your day job to choose a different path.

The right path begins with the right question

José Clemente Orozco's painting, The Demagogue 

I’m a big fan of Elon Musk. In an interview about how he and his team tackled challenges when creating Tesla, he lamented, "A lot of times the question is harder than the answer. If you can properly phrase the question, then the answer is the easy part." I like this quote because it exposes a truth that we often get wrong—finding your holy grail in life (whatever that may be) is about asking the right questions. If you ask the right questions, the answer will come. 

According to INC magazine,

Musk recalls that his first questions as a founder were pretty mundane, like, how can I make enough money to live and still have time for games and computers? His first few companies, like Zip2 and X.com, were designed to make money. As he got more money, he got frustrated with how money was transferred, and that led to PayPal. Today, the market cap of Tesla is around $40 billion and SpaceX is estimated at $15 billion. As Musk's founder questions have gotten better, his companies have gotten bigger. "To the degree we better understand the universe, then we know which questions to ask," he says.

Elon’s first question was “how do I make money”, but he didn’t start making real money until he asked the question “how can I make transferring money easier?” The answer to that question was Paypal and the rest is history.

So, the right question is not:

How can I make more money? (wrong)

It is:

How can I get more freedom? (right)

Another question I used to ask myself was:

How can I fight the power? (wrong)

But the real question to ask is:

How can I stop supporting banks? (right)

Another question I used to ask myself was:

Which political party should I donate to? (wrong)

But the real question to ask is: 

How can I create real change in my neighborhood and beyond? (right)

I haven't voted in an election for many years. I believe in mutual aid, not electoral politics. I donate to the People's Party and Jimmy Dore, but that's it. Any other donation goes straight to the people in need and the people most in contact with those people. 

Take the time to learn more about where you buy groceries. Is it a corporation or employee owned? Before supporting your favorite brands, find out if their employees are on strike and why. If you have the luxury, as much as possible, make your purchase decisions based on liberty rather than the lowest price and our collective freedom will come.