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It’s always about freedom

You may remember the words of our Great and Benevolent Leader when he opined that getting vaccinated, or not, “…is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you.” A lot of people agreed and continue to agree. Regardless of how I may or may not feel re: the various covid vaccines and whether I have or have not received one or more of them,* Biden and those who support(ed) his statement was wrong. Of course it’s about freedom.

Let’s begin with a quote I’ve shared more than once. William Pitt the Younger once said that “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” It’s important to note that, at least in this quote, Pitt didn’t address whether the necessity was real or whether the abridgement of freedom was reasonable. It was still about freedom. Government cannot mandate/order/require something without infringing on freedom. That is simply the nature of government, of government mandates and of laws. Freedom is always a casualty. Pretending otherwise is, at best, self-deceptive folly which hides the cost of what government forces one to do or to which it forces one to submit.

As soon, then, as there was a government mandate intending to force businesses with over 100 employees to pressure their employees, under threat of loss of their livelihood, to accept the vaccine or submit to testing, it became about freedom. Most of us recognize that the federal government lacks the constitutional authority to require the bulk of the population to be vaccinated. The mandate is an attempt to do indirectly and through the private sector what it lacks the authority to do on its own. Which leads us to this: “Since we (the federal government) lacks the authority to mandate x, we are going to force the private sector to mandate x with the understanding that if you do not submit, then you will suffer consequences y, also enforced by the private sector.” To put it another way, “We’re going to force the private sector to carry water for the infringement of your freedom for which we have no authority whatsoever.”

Look. Get the vaccine…or don’t. Either way, do it because it is what is right for you in your circumstances. Don’t do it because a bunch of authoritarians, busybodies and quislings, many wearing the guise of public servants, insist you must or else, or even because they promise a benefit they simply cannot guarantee.

Remember, those who so easily, so readily and seemingly so giddily bend the knee to the cry of “necessity” (whether to obey or not) will always belittle those who decline to do likewise. And don’t buy into the lie that it’s not about freedom.

It is always about freedom.

*I’m a registered nurse and a big believer in vaccines in general. That said, I assure you I haven’t shared enough information here for you to accurately determine whether I’ve received the covid vaccine or not. I intend to keep it that way.

Our rescue

Over the last almost 60 years I have had the privilege of living and traveling across a good portion of the United States. Between both coasts, mountains, deserts and plains, the deep South and the upper Mid-West, farms, small towns and some of our biggest cities, I’ve seen quite a bit of the nation, along with a fair number of my fellow Americans who live here. During that time, or at least since I’ve been old enough to notice and remember, there is a scene I have seen play out many times over. People who are unhappy about the “way the nation is going,” or even the way it is, become convinced that if only the right Special People are elected and the right laws passed, the problems the “regular people” see will be dealt with. As a result, there will ensue the desired conditions (peace/love/happiness/respect for religion/abandonment of religion/security/low crime/equality/equity/widespread affluence — take your pick of any combination of those and a myriad of others). Regardless of what some might suggest, this belief is not peculiar to people at any particular point along the American political spectrum, or to people of a given political party, or to any other group. It’s that widespread, that pervasive.

It’s also an erroneous belief.

Regardless of where you are, politically/socially/economically (and/or any other distinction you care to make), neither the politicians you might prefer, nor the parties they represent, nor the laws they might pass, are coming to save you. They aren’t coming to save the United States, either. They pretend they are, of course, and the various pundits and media arms that support them will tell you they are, though not always in those words. But, regardless of the words or how subtly that message of salvation is suggested, they lie. They lie, fervently and incessantly, in the hope you and I will believe them enough to spread the lie, even to teach it to our children.

Let me be more clear. If you are a Democrat or lean toward the left end of the traditional American political spectrum, neither Joe Biden, nor Kamala Harris, nor the Democratic Party are going to rescue you or the nation. The same is true of their Democratic contemporaries and successors. Likewise, if you are a Republican or lean toward the left end of that same spectrum, neither Donald Trump (or some other politician(s)) nor the GOP is coming to the rescue. The same is true of his contemporaries and successors. Some other combination of party and politician? Same thing. One or more of all the above may come on the scene, but they ain’t riding to our rescue. Stop pretending they are. Stop lying to yourself. Stop spreading the lie.

On this date…

On Oct 9, 1967, good ol’ Che got his. Accordingly, I propose we celebrate Oct 9 as a holiday, an example of some real social justice.

For those still stupid enough to follow him, we could have an alternate name. I favor “Eat a Bullet for Che Day.”*

*Chile might want something like “Take a Leap for Che Day.”

California thoughts

Call this one “Observation from a man who Despises most Politicians.” The Democrats hold the slimmest of all possible majorities in the US Senate. With the current 50/50 split (two independent senators caucus with the Democrats), should a vote reflect that split, they rely upon the Vice-President to cast the tie-breaking vote. One can reasonably anticipate that she could be counted upon to vote with her party. Politics being what it is, the same thing would be true if the Republicans held the White House. What does this have to do with California?

I’m glad you asked.

Larry Elder has said that should he be elected in the vote to oust and replace Gavin Newsome, he will appoint a Republican should either of California’s Senate seats become vacant. What I want to suggest, given the more-than-normally acrimonious nature of the 2020 election and the various promises and accusations that followed, is that the Democrats simply cannot lose the election. Note that I did not say they cannot afford to lose the election. Rather, they cannot lose. They will not allow it. There is simply too much riding on it. My prediction is that Newsome will win, regardless of what polls say or right wing pundits suggest.

20 years

And I could still grind my teeth into powder in anger. I was headed into work at Balboa Navy Hospital when I got the call from my (then) wife. I ran to the OR in time to begin the standard military speculation, only to watch the second tower be hit. Then came the collapses. The first wave of “terrorist” speculation had already begun before anyone claimed responsibility.

We rushed through the day’s load of blessedly few surgeries. Word came down from the Admiral. We were secured for the day. Go home. Ensure your teabags are packed and ready to go. Update your wills and other documents.

By the time I left Balboa civilian flights were long since grounded. Since the hospital is on a major approach for the San Diego airport, it was weird seeing the skies empty. Driving home on the 15 was eerie. I did not see another vehicle between the hospital and Poway.

When all was said and done, thousands of my fellow citizens were gone, their lives snuffed out by fanatics who were aided and abetted by a repressive government. Casus belli if ever there was one.

I hope we learned some vital lessons from that day and its aftermath. I fear we have not.

Feel free to share your thoughts and memories.

Some things are not worth their cost

Australia is providing a fine example. Safety, I submit, is not worth surrendering liberty. Liberty is far too valuable. Sadly, politicians in Australia seem to believe otherwise. Disturbing though the article is, what I find more disturbing are those who tell me they desire something like that in the US. Yet another thing with which I will decline to comply, should it come about.

So much silence

Larry Correia has written an interesting piece that he has posted on many sites (click here for one of them). While I don’t necessarily agree (or disagree) with all the points he makes, the silence is very real. It’s like someone told a bad joke and the only response is crickets. I’m not a big fan of the GOP, but if they don’t ride this thing to the ground like a pony in both 2022 and 2024 (regardless of who is on their ticket), they deserve to lose.


Feckless leadership gets people killed. Again.

1975 Redux, anyone?

Let’s call this one “how to screw up a withdrawal,” shall we? I submit that is much more honest than “we miscalculated” and some version of “not my fault.” A major charlie foxtrot is still a charlie foxtrot, regardless of how you spin it. People need to stop being stupid and ask the question about any proposed or current military action: What do we get in exchange for our blood and treasure?

If only people were honest and other popular lies

As a nurse with significant experience in psychiatric nursing, as well as a hypnotist and life coach, one of the things of which I sometimes remind people is that we never truly escape our family of origin. It is always with us. When we were kids, most of us, at some point, probably said “I’m never going to do (insert something your parents or siblings did),” only to discover, years down the road that we are doing that very thing. That’s an easy example. Here’s another: We say “never gonna do (insert thing your parents or siblings did),” and we are successful in not doing it. That, too, is an example of not escaping our family of origin, if only in that our family or origin provided a real motivation for not doing whatever the “thing” was. Our family of origin influences our actions as well as the way we think and how we look at things. There is a reason that family is often considered the most powerful subculture in the world, in terms of its influence on family members.

We never escape our culture(s). Ever. Just like the family subculture, the greater culture around us, as well as any other subcultures of which we are members (there are a lot of those), influence us. Remember, culture (and subculture) is “the lens through which we see the world.” Likewise, we never escape our basic personality. Finally, we never escape our own, individual philosophies, which we’ll define here as everything we know and how we allow it to affect us.

All of which brings us to the following.

There is a tendency among people all along almost any political or ideological spectrum to argue that if two honest people, of equal intellectual ability and sincerity, are exposed to the same factual information, they will inevitably draw the same, or very nearly the same, conclusions. This is a very comforting belief. After all, if you don’t draw the same conclusion(s) I do, especially about something which matters greatly to me, it clearly means that you (pick one or more)

  • aren’t honest
  • aren’t adequately informed
  • are allowing your political/ideological beliefs, rather than the facts, to form your conclusions
  • suffer from a significant intellectual disability

Sometimes, of course, that belief can be true. It is not, however, always true…or even true most of the time. It is, again, a comforting belief. It is also false. It is a lie, if you will, and one which many of us, perhaps even most of us have come to accept as true. Widespread acceptance is irrelevant. It is still a lie. I submit that it is the acceptance of this lie that makes many of our conversations about things which matter to us so difficult when speaking to someone who disagrees. Self-examination can help here, especially if it helps us identify those beliefs we accept as axiomata. Allow me to illustrate.

I object to virtually all gun control laws. To be clear, I care deeply that people, including and especially children, are often victimized by those who use guns criminally or irresponsibly. I deplore violence. I have no desire to ever harm anyone, in any way, ever again. Holding or carrying a firearm produces no particular feelings for me. Why then, do I oppose gun control?

As far as I can tell, at least part of my family had its origins in Scotland. The Scottish Enlightenment owes a lot to Scottish Presbyterians. The US is an outgrowth of the Enlightenment, especially the Scottish Enlightenment. I was raised in a faith tradition that owes its existence to, you guessed it, Enlightenment-era Scottish Presbyterians. Those are some of the lenses through which I view things and which have influenced my philosophy. For me, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, are almost impossible to read sensibly without those particular “lenses” in place. As a result of those lenses, and the way they have influenced my philosophy, two of my axiomata are:

  • Individual liberty is of greater value than safety, and
  • the only legitimate limitation on individual liberty is that I may not use my liberty to infringe upon yours and vice-versa

I know people who disagree. Their axiomata are different. That does not make any of the things in my first list true about them or me.

People are funny.