Examining the curse of living in these interesting times
A supposed Chinese curse says may you live in interesting times. Well, the 21st century so far has not disappointed with depressed economies, wars overseas, and authoritarianism and cronyism at home.
But, we can make these curses into blessings. Already there has been stiff shifts in public opinion and conventional wisdom and massive grassroots movements to activism. Governments surely govern by the consent of the governed, and the governed lately are expressing their disapproval en masse.
Tax resistance increased early in the century by individuals unwilling to support U.S. government wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, believing them to be immoral actions. These military interventions, the government argues, are in response to the massacre innocents suffered on 9-11 (itself a response to U.S. government military activities over several decades) and the war on terrorists that the government claims encompasses a global battlefield.
But, there are many skeptical of the government's motives, the righteousness of these aggressions, and the alleged benefits to our security, our troops and to the unfortunate individuals and communities overseas we harm.
This militarism and the extension of human rights infringements on individuals' privacy and guarantees of due process by The PATRIOT, Military Commissions, and Real ID acts, along with invasive Transportation Security Administration body searches and the discovery of U.S. secret prisons and torture programs lead many to anti-war and pro-civil liberty protests.
The Ron Paul revolution/presidential campaign in 2007-08 enlightened many to the universal benefits of greater peace and prosperity that only liberty and non-intervention allows, exposing millions to the Austrian School of Economics' business cycle theory and how the inflationary practices of central banks benefit certain bankers, impoverish the rest of us, and allow for the warring that harms so many. Paul's supporters hit the streets and the Internet with his message.
It was the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the trillions of taxpayer dollars handed out to private financial institutions, essentially the socializing of private losses, the economic recession caused by Federal Reserve Bank and U.S. Congress interventionist policies that created moral hazards and perverse incentives on Wall Street, and the Fed's quantitative easing that rapidly expanded tea party and tax day rallies. The passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, legislation seemingly written for the benefit of health insurance companies rather than patients, further inflamed the movement.
Currently at Occupy Wall Street (and elsewhere) rallies, individuals are rightly protesting other types of unjust crony capitalism, that is the collusion between private business and the government, and other such corruption. It's true that many private players receive from government unfair advantage.
Civil disobedient Mohandas Gandhi said, "If I seem to take part in politics, it is only because politics encircles us today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter how much one tries. I wish therefore to wrestle with the snake." But, historically and currently, dissenters are bullied, silenced, and purposefully mischaracterized impulsively by statists who tend to be intolerant of resistance. Since most public policies are coercive, it's right they be debated and for dissenters and victims to voice objections. And, may they be indefatigable, regardless of how they are treated.
There are four issues so basic, universal, and important to human wellness, fairness, peace and prosperity that most individuals will agree upon and on which we ought to unite to effect positive change - ending government wars, protecting human rights to due process and against unreasonable searches and seizures, ending corporate subsidies and similar crony capitalism, and auditing, if not ending, the Fed. These are the positions promoted for so many decades by independents, Libertarians, Greens, constitutionalists, and even a few politicians, like Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader and Gary Johnson.
United on these principles we can achieve terrific benefits for mankind. Imagine it. "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." I hope today you'll join us.
Marc Guttman is an emergency physician and editor of the book "Why Liberty - Personal Journeys Toward Peace and Freedom." His website is www.WhyLiberty.com.
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