Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Gift of Liberty

I love America. Always have. Always will, regardless of who is at her helm and the direction he or she tries to take us. I love the 4th of July because we celebrate, individually and as a society, our exceptional roots and history. Our founders were the true progressives, seeking to progress beyond feudalism, serfdom, tyranny, authoritarianism, government largesse, monarchies, aristocracies, and empires.

For the first time in history, people came together, thoroughly knowing and understanding the history of the great civilizations that came before them, and why they failed. The founders understood their own history and experiences in the colonies, and they decided to create a nation built on natural law and individual liberty. They built upon the tradition of previous Western civilizations, but they went the necessary step further, by saying that rights did not come from other men, or from government. Rather, individual rights are naturally inherent by the virtue of our existence as human beings, and whether you believe in God or not does not change that fact. Our liberty transcends any man or his laws.

Liberty is more than freedom. Liberty is freedom with responsibility. It means that you are free to pursue your dreams and keep the fruit of your labor, and to pass that fruit on to your children. Above this however, it means governing yourself. It is self-responsibility and self-governance, and the freedom to pursue your dreams is your reward. Liberty doesn't mean anarchy. Liberty isn't the freedom from work or duty. Liberty doesn't mean you don't have a responsibility to take care of yourself. Liberty is the single most precious gift you can give another person. It is the freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fail and learn, and to try again. The reason so many people try to immigrate to America is because we give them the gift of liberty.

We were, and still are, an anomaly in the history of mankind. Our forefathers laid the foundation in such a way that it allowed for us to grow and combat injustice while still preserving the best parts of our traditions. And if you think about it, any time we have faced down an act of injustice successfully, the result was more liberty to those that had none or had too little. That gift of liberty to black Americans and to women, for example, was inevitable because of the philosophy behind the words written in those founding documents. The founders knew that something like slavery and a Declaration of Independence that claimed that "All men are created equal" could not coexist forever.

I do not believe that many of the recently passed laws by this Congress and this President will result in more liberty, which is why those laws are fundamentally different from the gains we have made in the past against real injustice. Ironically, it is today's "progressives" that seek to take us backwards, to a time when people did not work for themselves, where they were forced to give of themselves to those that ruled over them so that those benevolent rulers could then graciously and generously give rights back to the people.

However, as I said above. America is exceptional, and it is her traditions, her promise, her beacon of hope and light, her burning fire of liberty for which we fight.

Have an incredible 4th of July. Today is 7-4-2010, and today I recommit myself to America and it is here that I pledge my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to ensure that generations of Americans will have the opportunity to enjoy the gift of Liberty.


  1. Thanks, LB. Long live lady liberty.

  2. I am happy that you describe the concept of inalienable rights as a philosophy rather than God-granted, a concept that cannot be backed up unless you believe the Constitution and Declaration of Independence to be part of the Bible.

    However I still disagree with your slur of "progressives." This seems to buy into the Glenn Beck narrative that paints progressivism as the precursor to Nazism or Soviet Communism, while ignoring Progressive institutions we all take for granted, like public schools and libraries. If you have concerns about government spending, fine. But why no concern over billions spent on wars against countries who have not threatened us? And what are these laws Congress and the President are passing that scale back our liberty? By the standards of what the Right is professing today, much of what GWB, GHWB, Reagan and Nixon supported would be "Progressive" as well I am disgusted that the right and Republicans are using football tactics against the president - like the defense in a football game, doing everything in their power to obstruct what the other side is doing. That's fine football, but in politics it the American people who lose.

  3. America, First, Last and Always.July 6, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    If Obama was to put everything in place that he wanted to, there would be no America left.
    Americans are already losing Dancar, have you ever been out of work with no hope of finding a decent job? I have and I know what millions of Americans are experiencing because we have a president that has no experience.
    This is my last post on this blog. I am sick of reading Dancars lies and propaganda. Goebbels would be proud

  4. AFLA,

    When you say "If Obama was to put everything in place that he wanted to" what are you referring to? Please stick to things Obama actually wants to do and not made-up things propagated by Fox News and the TP. If you are referring to health care, have you been to Canada lately? They provide health care, and is it fair to day there's "no Canada left?"

    And yes, I have been out of work for three periods of my adult life, the most recent being the past six months. My memory is good enough to recall that the economy and the sales at my last company took a downturn when BUSH was president.

    I am convinced the economy would be better at this time if it weren't for Fox and Republicans cheerleading for the failure of the economy, doing everything they can to undermine confidence among consumers and business, perpetuating the recession. This allows them to blame Obama and put themselves in a better position for the next election.

    Have you ever been out of work, had to cancel health insurance because you didn't have $500-$1200/month for private coverage, and feared that you'd have to sell your house, cash in your kid's college funds or 401k to pay for a medical emergency or for a condition that future coverage might refuse to cover because it is "pre-existing?"

    THAT is the situation which Obama tried to resolve but was blocked by the right. Apparently, "redistribution of wealth" is OK when it is from the middle class to the wealthy.

    If you're not going to read this blog anymore because of me, that is an example of what is wrong with many Americans. For our democracy to work, citizens need to expose themselves to opposing arguments. Too many people (on the left as well as right) insulate themselves from ideas that challenge their own and only expose themselves to ideas that validate what they already believe. To find solutions that actually work, all ideas need to be open to discussion and exploration. Solutions need to be selected according to their efficacy, not according to which ideology they conform to.

  5. LB, I believe that every right implies a corresponding obligation, which is to acknowledge the possession of that same right by others. Is that what you believe? If so, we agree on something fundamental. This something also suggests that political freedom cannot be understood if we assume that society is an atomized group of discrete individuals-- instead, that we must each of us acknowledge a negative obligation toward others, which is not assert our liberties in ways that infringe their rights.

    And if we can agree that free individuals have negative obligations toward others, I see no reason they should not also have a few positive ones -- such as helping individuals procure life saving goods or services that they cannot procure for themselves. I'm thinking of a middle aged woman, originally from WV, whom my aunt and uncle in Columbus have taken under their wing. This woman (let's call her Dreama) worked as a cashier at Walmart until cataracts forced her to give it up. She has little education and working a cash register was her one marketable skill. She has had to go on welfare, which she likes as little as anyone else would. I am hoping that through "Obamacare", she will be able to get cataract surgery and go back to her old job, I will not feel any less free if some of my tax dollars pay for this surgery. And there is no question that it would make me happy

  6. LB, By the way, I would like to commend you for publishing comments by me and others that question your positions. You have never altered or omitted a word in anything that I have submitted. (Please feel free to correct my missspellings.) By following this policy, you have demonstrated that your commitment to free speech is sincere, and that you are not afraid of a free exchange of ideas. Brother Limbaugh, please take note.

  7. Dancar must be getting paid by SEIU or OFA or a similar lefty org. to read and comment on everything LB posts...what a life.

    To Jesse Fell, you and your family sound like very nice folks. You said, " I am hoping that through "Obamacare", she will be able to get cataract surgery and go back to her old job, I will not feel any less free if some of my tax dollars pay for this surgery." This is the helpless cry of someone with no initiative. You don't have to wait for Obamacare to take some of your taxdollars for this. You don't have to wait to see if your friend is going to fit into the Whole Lives System (Dr. Emmanual) on which Obamacare rationing will be based. (See recess appointment of Donald Berwick to head of CMMS and his statements on health care rationing) You and your relatives could have taken the friend to an Opthamologist, explained her financial situation, and probably arranged something with the doctor/hospital to get the surgery for much much less. You and your aunt and uncle could have paid the portion not waived.

  8. CostOfFreedom:

    Next to the problem of insulating themselves from opposing views, another problem with many Americans is that when they do hear or read an opposing view, instead of approaching it logically, they make personal attacks or suggest the person is being paid to say what they say.

    I've always sought out views that challenged my own. I've always felt that a view that can't be explained or defended logically is not a view worth having. LB has stated that no one is paying her to express the views she expresses, and I've had no reason to question that.

    Now on to health care: One of the problems with health care in this country is that no wants to seeing people dying of conditions that can be treated. As Glenn Beck glibly points out, anyone who shows up at a hospital with a life-threatening but treatable condition DOES get treated. But who pays for it? Of course we all do, but some pay more than others. This is why hospitals make ridiculous charges, like $20 for an aspirin, or a $180 "facilities fee" on top of the doctor's fee when all you did was meet with a specialist to ask some questions (this actually happened to my wife & I).

    So through absurd pricing, these costs get passed to people who do have resources to pay but are not covered by insurance, and insurance companies. Who do the insurance company's pass these charges to? Not big organizations like governments or Boeing. Large organizations have lots of negotiating power. If the cost per employee is too high, they take their huge contract somewhere else. But small companies and purchasers of individual policies have little negotiating power and get the shaft.

    I used to work for a company with fewer than 20 employees. Every year they had to switch insurance providers because every year the provider wanted to increase rates 10-25 percent. So every year we'd switch to different policy which cost only 2-5% more and had only slightly higher deductibles and worse coverage, awful plans compared to what employees at large employers get.

    Then comes Obama, who instead of proposing single-payer like many in left wanted, proposes changes to the existing system that keep private insurance companies but attempts to fix many of problems with the current system. At the beginning of the process, as well at end, he invited the participation of Republicans in the process. But Republicans refused to cooperate, called many of the reforms in the plan they had supported in previous years "Socialist" or "taking over heal care," and even spread complete utter falsehoods like "Death Panels."

    Many Republicans want "free-market" solutions to the problems, but they haven't come up with ideas that would actually work. In the case of health care, free market solutions won't work because some people just require a lot more health care than others. You wouldn't sell fire insurance to someone if you were 100 percent certain their house would burn down, right? You wouldn't sell auto insurance to someone who is unable to drive without getting in an accident, right? So in a free market, why would a health insurance company sell a policy to a person with a chronic condition they know they'll lose money on? We're OK with people just can't drive safely not being allowed to drive (and so they don't need auto insurance), but we're not OK with people dying of curable conditions.

    So if you don't want people dying because they can't pay, if you don't want middle class people selling their homes or cashing out their retirements to pay for a medical emergency or expensive chronic condition, and if you're not confident that charities have the means to cover all of them, then you have to come up with some way of "redistributing the wealth" to pay for it, hopefully one that doesn't make individuals and small companies pay disproportionally for it.

  9. Dancar...nobody who isn't a paid troll or who isn't retired, with nothing else to do, is going to have the time to be checking a blog like this one all day long and writing excruciatingly deceitful passages almost before the "ink is dry" on any new post or comment.

  10. CostofFreedom,
    Thanks - I'll look into the Whole Lives System and pass the information on to my aunt and uncle. It is my aunt and uncle who have been providing Dreama's family with information, advice, and (might as well write it) love and doing a good job generally, but they are now 90 and 91 years old, respectively. (My wife and I live over 800 miles away.)
    Dreama obviously needs to see an opthamologist and work out the insurance details as soon as possible.

    About Mr. Dancar: I wonder if the respondent who urged him to "get a life" has been talking with my wife! But I suspect that Mr. Dancar (and I) are merely trying to get our share of what Thomas Jefferson called "public happiness" -- the satisfaction of participating in public debate on the issues of our time, and of perhaps having some small influence on how these issues are decided. I think that posting comments on LB's remarkable website has advantages over writing one's beliefs on a sandwich board and parading back and forth at a busy intersection downtown.

  11. Jesse Fell, you have a point about public debate. My frustration with folks like Dancar is that they spread half-truths and untruths without blinking an eye.

    Dancar said above that, "Republicans refused to cooperate, called many of the reforms in the plan they had supported in previous years 'Socialist' or 'taking over heal care,' and even spread complete utter falsehoods like 'Death Panels."

    First, there were many Republican suggestions and even bills introduced ( by Sen. Coburn, etc.) on health care. The Democrats in Congress and Pres. Obama would not have a serious discussion on any of them...the only "cooperation" they wanted from the GOP was acquiescence in the plan THEY wanted.

    Second, while the words "death panels" did not appear in the bill, there are many provisos of the bill that will give bureaucrats, in charge of the many new agencies created by Obamacare, the authority to determine the cost effectiveness of medical treatments, at what stage in an illness/age they should be considered, etc., ie, rationing.

    I mispelled Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel's name in previous post...he is the brother of Chief of Staff Rham Emanuel and White House Health Care Policy Advisor. You can read for yourself the Complete (sorry, not Whole) Lives System he and other physicians wrote up in the English Medical Journal:

    I'm sure that Dr. Emanuel is a good person, but the rationing system he writes about would set up some arbitrary guidelines that, in the fullness of time, a bureaucracy such as created by Obamacare would adopt, adapt and apply. They argue that rationing is now happening via third party insurance entities...we may want to have a public debate on this and reach a public concensus on what to do about it...but even if it is happening, it is not monolithic and emanating from one central source. These bureaucrats and agencies will, in effect if not in name, become the equivalents of death panels.

    Then there is Dr. Donald Berwick who was given a recess appointment to head up the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Senate Committee never even called for a hearing on him although he was nominated in April. Since the Senate Committee is totally controlled by Democrats, why did they not want to have a hearing before the American people on Dr. Berwick? Obama waited for the recess and appointed him, saying that Republicans were going to obstruct the appointment. This was a straw man...Obama did not want to have a debate on Dr. Berwick's public statements that are part of the record. Following is just one of the statements he has made:

    "We can make a sensible social
    decision and say, “Well, at this
    point, to have access to a particular
    additional benefit [new drug or
    medical intervention] is so expensive
    that our taxpayers have better
    use for those funds.” We make those
    decisions all the time. The decision
    is not whether or not we will ration
    care — the decision is whether we
    will ration with our eyes open. And
    right now, we are doing it blindly"

    You can look up the article and read it for yourself:

    Good luck to your uncle and aunt and their friend in getting her to an Opthamologist soon. Doctors and hospitals do, in fact, cut the costs for patients who have no income and no insurance. We do need to review our health insurance system as well as other pieces of healthcare but we need to do it in a measured, non-ideological, piece by piece sort of way...not in a 2000+ page law that we are only now finding out what is in it. That is no way to run a health care system or a country.

  12. CostofFreedom, Thanks for the best wishes - I will convey them to my aunt and uncle this weekend. I'm not sure what exactly has been done for Dreama yet -- but she still has the cataracts, I'm pretty sure.

    As for the quality of public debate, I keep thinking about Matthew Arnold's characterization of people with true culture as people who are willing to entertain thoughts that cause them pain -- either because these thoughts point out weaknesses in their own pet beliefs or because they show the strength of their opponents' ideas. We are making little progress in finding even small areas of agreement because there are few people now of any political persuasion who are willing to accept this sort of cultured pain as the price of arriving at a clear and honest understanding of the issues that divide us. Here's to Tylenol, my fellow patriots!

  13. CostofFreedom, Thanks for the best wishes! We appear to be in agreement that the involuntarily uninsured deserve some sort of coverage. I also believe that most Americans are in agreement with us on this. The question, then, is how? You have to know an awful lot to have ideas about this that aren't sheer fudge. I try to confine myself to guesses. My guess is that while Obama's health reform is not a step in the right direction, it is a stumble or lurch in the right direction. Another guess is that Obama regards the reforms in this way, too. So much the better if he does -- he'll be more willing to tinker with the system if he regards it as a more or less botched sketch than as an achieved masterpiece. We shall see -- we have ring side seats!

  14. CostOfFreedom:

    I agree that the half-truths and untruths batted about in the health care debate are frustrating, but which side is really more guilty of that?

    You acknowledge that the term "Death Panel" refers actually refers to agencies with "the authority to determine the cost effectiveness of medical treatments, at what stage in an illness/age they should be considered." So is referring to these agencies as "Death Panels" a full truth, a half-truth, or a 1/100th truth?

    "They argue that rationing is now happening via third party insurance entities...we may want to have a public debate on this and reach a public concensus on what to do about it...but even if it is happening, it is not monolithic and emanating from one central source."

    You are referring to the practice of insurance agencies over-ruling decisions made by a patient and his or her doctor as rumors, on the same level as UFOs or the 9/11 for Truth accusations. If the term "Death Panel" is an appropriate term for a government agency that ensures that health care dollars are spent wisely, then is it not also appropriate to refer to Insurance company Death Panels and what is the conservative/tea party plan to fix them?

    "First, there were many Republican suggestions and even bills introduced ( by Sen. Coburn, etc.) on health care. The Democrats in Congress and Pres. Obama would not have a serious discussion on any of them...the only "cooperation" they wanted from the GOP was acquiescence in the plan THEY wanted"

    I recall Obama meeting with Republicans at the beginning and near the end of the process. I also recall the content of the bill changing constantly as Democrats desperately tried to gain the support of enough seats to pass it. The members of Congress and the Senate who wrote the bills work in the same office buildings and the Republicans. They have contact with each other in their offices, in the hallways, at lunch and in the restrooms all day. This process went on for months, and it incorporated many ideas that Republicans proposed in previous years. This was not something that Democrats whipped up and tried to slip through while the Republicans were out getting a coffee. The notions that "Democrats would not allow Republicans to add their ideas" is simply absurd.

    As for Dr. Berwick, I agree that the appoint was done this way as to not re-open this can of worms. But change his quote to read "shareholders" instead of "taxpayers" and it is something a health insurance CEO might say. The biggest difference is that Dr. Berwich and his immediate reports won't have $10 million bonuses riding on whether or not costs are kept in line.

    Please don't interpret from my last comment that I am anti-business. I believe that private enterprise does a better job for most things, but to say "private enterprise is always better" is dogmatic and demonstrably false.

    So the health care bill is a flawed, watered down attempt to fix what's wrong with the healthcare system. I'll haven't heard Republicans suggest anything better that would actually work.

  15. Dancar, I think you are right about the pointlessness of the GOP's proposals. From what I've seen, the Republican proposals have extended coverage to only a few million of the uninsured, and have not included mandates that prevent people from gaming the system by joining it only when they are sick. Republicans are offering their own proposals merely because they don't want to appear to be the party of 'no'. Liberty Belle, you point out that any concept of liberty that could command the assent of people with adult minds would have to lay emphasis on the need for individual responsibility. I couldn't agree with you more! But Obama's health care will not take away anyone's need to provide for themselves. It will not make life a nerveless spineless idyll, free of care, where sacrifice and initiative are no longer required of anyone. It will provide care for people who have not been able to get it through their own best efforts. Maybe they would have gotten it eventually if they had continued their job search -- but maybe they are already too sick to search, or maybe their health problems need attention immediately.

  16. Dancar and Jesse are both hopeless. You say: "The members of Congress and the Senate who wrote the bills work in the same office buildings and the Republicans. They have contact with each other in their offices, in the hallways, at lunch and in the restrooms all day. This process went on for months, and it incorporated many ideas that Republicans proposed in previous years. This was not something that Democrats whipped up and tried to slip through while the Republicans were out getting a coffee. The notions that "Democrats would not allow Republicans to add their ideas is simply absurd."

    I have personal experience working for a House of Representatives Committee and later for a Democrat Congressman, in his D.C office, for several either of you?? What proof do you have that the original 2000+ paged HR3200 was written by a House Committee? I was following this legislation very carefully as it was marked up in committee and realized that the Congressmen were becoming familiar and working their way through it even as I was. If their Committee staffs had written it, the Dem Congressmen would have had ongoing briefings from staff with intimate expertise on every article and proviso. And "it is absurd to say that Dems would not let Republicans add their ideas"???? Where were you as the Democrat majority in the Committees voted down each and every Republican amendment??? Want a little more proof about the way that Democrats have run the House of Representatives like their personal PLANTATION? Go read one of several news reports about how the Dems locked Republican members out of a committee room to prevent a GOP move for a full investigation of Countrywide.

  17. Dear Midnight Rider,

    First, Dancar and I are not the same person, have never met, and never will meet (in this life). I have merely indicated my agreement with things that he or she has written in several postings.

    And, I admit to being hopeless. But if you reach the age of 60 (as I have) and don't realize that you are hopeless, you aren't a very observant old party, are you?

    And, I am sure that the Democrats have on occasion used their majority party privileges in a high handed manner. I'm sorry to see this. It isn't even good politics. But the GOP has also been guilty of political arrogance, so the question we need to ask is not "What makes the Dems/GOP such a bunch of jerks?" but "Why has our political life, in DC and across the country, become so embittered -- to a degree unseen since the unhappy time preceding the Civil War?"

    The last question is the one that interests me most -- is in fact the reason why I come to this site, and find it interesting (to say the least). Would appreciate an answer.

  18. The use of the term "death panels" by opponents of Preident Obama's health care reforms strikes me as demagogic, however I look at it. In any health care system, however structured or funded, there will always be an ultimate court of appeal, where requests for treatment are approved or rejected. This has to be, because any country, having only a finite amount of money, must make choices. And it is also right to reject requests for unproven or harmful treatments.

    Rationing is here, now, and it will never go away, The brother of a friend of mine recently died of pancreatic cancer. His family is bitter because this man's private insurer denied his request for an experimental treatment. And for myself, I would rather have my request go before a "death panel" of federal employees than before a panel of insurance company employees who are accountable, ultimately, to shareholders at the end of the quarter,

  19. Hey there, I'd love to reply more but I just don't have the time right now. However, one thing I couldn't let go by is Jesse's false dichotomy. The health care debate is/was always presented (by those left of center) as a choice between federal employees rationing your care or the insurance companies rationing your care.

    Well, those are not your only choices. Jesse you are right about there being finite resources - a great reason btw for those resources not being in the hands of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats - but how about people being in charge of their own rationing. In a free market health care system the people themselves choose whether or not to use their own resources.

    For instance, if we were allowed to put more money into HSA's (not less as the Dems' legislation has now mandated) and could buy catastrophic health care insurance, these decisions would be left to us, rather than any bureaucrats, whether they be public or private.

    The plan I would like, (which is illegal in the state of WA!), is an HSA that has a very high cap, and a catastrophic plan with a $10,000 deductible. A catastrophic plan with a deductible like that only costs around $30-$50 per month, easily afforded by almost everyone. And really, health insurance was only ever meant to cover catastrophic events. It was never meant to cover getting a check-up or some antibiotics. For this, I would use my HSA. My HSA rolls over from year to year and is pre-tax dollars so I'm not paying taxes on it, just like big corps don't pay taxes on the benefits for their employees.

    If something awful happens, I'm covered under my barebones, catastrophic plan, and my HSA covers my deductible and my everyday, routine medical costs. This isn't a fantasy. In some states these types of plans are allowed, and the costs there are lower because everyone is in charge of their own care. Because you are responsible for paying your bills, you shop around for the best prices, and inevitably, prices fall. People are more free, and again, rationing is implemented at the personal, private level.

    I'll also briefly mention community clinics such as those at Walmart. My huband has an HSA and catastrophic (though in WA the caps are so low and the deductible is so low that it almost isn't worth it) and so he went to the eye doctor at a Walmart, used his HSA to pay the $60 and got a wonderful eye exam. The doctor spent about an hour and a half with him, took his time, and just did a fabulous job. We need MORE of these clinics, that are inexpensive and of good quality, not less of them. Unfortunately, these types of clinics will not be able to function for long once all of the new legislation is implemented. These are the types of creative, innovative solutions that would have cut costs significantly so that more people could afford health care (which, btw, is TOTALLY different from health insurance - i.e. in England, everyone has health "insurance" but you wait a loooooong time for the actual care, and sometimes never receive it) while still allowing for freedom of the individual.

    I can write more about this later, but it was too important not to call out. There is a third option, so let's not pretend that there is only those two, more flawed choices.

  20. Liberty Belle,

    You are pretty good at cranking it out even when you don't have much time!

    Here are some questions about HSAs:

    1) How can HSAs give you access to the type medical care that can prevent you from having catastrophic illness in the first place?

    2) What happens if your HSA is depleted before you finish needed treatment? This could easily happen even if you have contributed as much to your HSA as you can. (Stayed overnight in a hospital lately? I have. Ouch!)

    3) How are people who hardly have two nickels to rub together going to build up significant savings in their HSAs?

  21. You all just don't understand that you never owned this country, it has always been built upon exploitation and lies. Liberty, your blind allegiance to this country's ideals is laughable. Why don't you all quit typing away your grievances and actually work to fix the country? Well, I suppose it wouldn't do you much good anyway.... Prepare to watch the Middle Kingdom speed past us, America's descent and equalization is imminent.


I believe in free speech, including offensive speech, and especially political speech. Comments that are left on my blog do not necessarily represent my views nor do I necessarily endorse them. I am not responsible for other people's views or comments. That is how the 1st Amendment works.