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|On The Ballot This Year: Freedom||01/08/2004|
Another election year is upon us. It is time for the people to make a choice: keep our freedom or give it up.
Over the last century, the dirty little secret of
democracy has gotten out. That is, if enough people vote for the candidate
who promises the most gifts from the public treasury, then our voting
ballot acts as a check that we write to ourselves. Whether it is a union,
minority group, entire state or any other voting bloc, once a segment of
the voters becomes self-serving special interest groups, the rest of us
pay for it. If a voting majority adopts this attitude, we give up our
Alexander Tyler, an 18th-century historian, wrote in Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic:
"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance, from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back into bondage."
Certainly our history is one of courage and liberty. Most of our early forefathers escaped the religious persecution in Europe (bondage to spiritual faith) by crossing the Atlantic and establishing the colonies (faith to courage). Then they fought the King of England for their freedom (courage to liberty). The African-American population was largely brought to America in bondage, yet their faith thrived (bondage to faith). From the underground railroads all the way to the civil rights movement, they fought for their rights as citizens (faith to courage, courage to liberty). At the same time, all Americans fought numerous wars to protect our borders and ideas. Through this century of courage, America became the wealthiest nation on earth (freedom to abundance).
But now the real test comes. Certainly, the last few generations have become complacent. They are satisfied to live their comfortable lives and leave the rest of the world to their problems (abundance to complacency). Before 9/11, the vast majority of Americans were unconcerned to the point of ignorance when it came to the plight of other nations. Even today, many U.S. citizens are indifferent to anything that does not directly affect them, whether it's international or within our own borders (complacency to apathy).
Mark Rank, Ph.D., co-authored a study of America's welfare system and concluded that "65 percent of the population will encounter at least one year of welfare use." Of those people, 90% will receive welfare support more than once in their lifetime.
The study states, "Although the U.S. welfare state may be minimalist in terms of the scope and the level of benefits it offers to impoverished people, it is far from minimalist in the extent to which it is eventually relied on by the general population." Translation: the people of America are becoming more dependent upon the government (apathy to dependence).
The more we depend on the government for the creation of jobs, redistribution of wealth, housing, food and other needs, the more freedom we forfeit.
In his letters to historian Samuel Kercheval, Thomas Jefferson claimed that the forerunner to the collapse of a society is public debt, followed by taxation, wretchedness and oppression (dependence to bondage).
Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law observed, "The map of the territory Bush won was (mostly) the land owned by the people of this great country. Not the citizens living in cities in tenements owned by the government and living off the government."
Professor Olson believes that our country is now between the apathy and complacency phase of democracy, although he asserts that 40% of the nation's population has already reached the dependency phase.
So as we go to the polls once again this year, we have a choice to make -- and it is not between Republicans or Democrats. It is between those candidates who feed our complacency, apathy or dependency, and their opponents, who uphold a system that puts the burden of success back upon the people -- a system that works merely to create an atmosphere of opportunity, not one that promises a level of gain.
To keep the freedoms we have, we need to familiarize
ourselves with our candidates, from the mayor to the president. In
November, let's get out and vote... for freedom.
Author: James Robison