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What’s Best For You Is Best For The Country

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I recently read a comment online that included the directive to “do what’s best for your country.” It doesn’t really matter what the person was supporting, it was the belief by this person that any two people could agree on “what’s best” that got me to thinking.

What is best for our country? Is it to ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?

Hardly.

The truth is, there is no right answer. There is no “what’s best.”

Your definition of “what’s best” (for the country, your state, your city, family, or even yourself) may be completely different from mine. Even among people who agree on most things, “what’s best” will never completely be the same. Don’t believe me? Ever been married? On top of that, the more educated and informed we become the more likely it is our own definition of “what’s best” will change over time.

In a nation as large, diverse, and dynamic as America in today’s 24/7 technology-driven world, this maddening drive we are on to discover what’s best (and then get everyone to agree to it) presents ever increasing problems that become ever more magnified. It is no wonder, and should come as no surprise, that as a people we are more divided than ever. It is no wonder our leaders continue to fail in bringing us together. It is no wonder the rule of law is falling apart.

Everywhere, at every turn, during every waking moment, in ever louder voices, someone is telling us “what’s best” and why we should change to do “what’s best.”

Where does this lead?

It leads to large, widely read, national newspapers such as the Des Moines Register publishing articles literally calling for the murder of NRA members and the dragging our political leaders through the streets behind a pickup truck until they “get it”.

It leads to other internationally read newspapers such as the New York Times calling for the complete dissolution of the Constitution of the United States of America.

It leads to members of our government such as CA Senator Dianne Feinstein and Illinois state legislators declaring their intent to physically disarm Americans.

And it leads to US Marines such as Joshua Boston declaring to US Senators that he will never allow his guns to be registered, much less confiscated.

Folks, this is dangerous ground.  VERY DANGEROUS GROUND.

Unless we want to continue down this path into violence (and that may be where it ends), we must admit to ourselves that there is no such thing as a one-sized fits all answer to “what’s best”.  And, we must find a way to live peacefully with one another in that reality.

Fortunately, there is a solution. It is not easy. It is not moral. It is not religious. It is not secular. It is not statist. It is not popular. It is not political. It is not left. It is not right. It is not safe. It is not secure. And it may, in fact, lead to our extinction as a nation. But … it does not rely on the ability of one person or group to control another person or group, which indicates to me it has a greater chance of success than the road we are on now.

As such, I fear the solution will be roundly ignored. However, this does not change the validity of its promise:

The only way we can peacefully live side-by-side while maintaining our differing and changing beliefs is to respect our mutual liberties; we must allow one another to do and act on what we, as individuals, believe is best without preventing others from doing the same.

In a word, what I am referring to is: Liberty.

By definition, failing the preservation of liberty FOR ALL, one of us (you or I, your group or mine, and so on) will be put down.

Figuratively at best; literally at worst.

Stay with me here. I’m not suggesting some unicorn and rainbows, peace-symbol, dope smoking utopia. Nor am I suggesting we can “all just get along” without some people suffering while others prosper (I can hear my mother now, “It’s always been that way, and things will never change.”). I have already admitted liberty offers no guarantee of success or safety. What I am suggesting is that in the face of all the failure we see before us today, liberty offers us the greatest chance at success in a world where we are otherwise quickly on the path of shooting at one another over forcing people to pull up their pants or forcing others to let gay people get married.

People will always attempt to inflict upon us what they believe is best. In fact, by expressing my opinions as I do, I am attempting to inflict upon you, dear reader, what I believe is best. Of course, because I respect your liberty, I do not require your agreement or acquiescence; our relationship, as author and reader, is completely voluntary. I do not force you to read what I write. I do not force you to believe what I believe. I do not force you to do what I think is best.

But others do. Others, through the use of force, require you to do what they believe is best. With or without your consent.

Some of these people use laws you never consented to. Others, the ones we call criminals, use guns. Both are equally coercive; both depend on violence; both have one intention. Ignore the law and you’ll see I’m right. Those who make laws and force you to follow them without your consent are nothing other than a more polite version of those who skip right to the part of sticking a gun in your face and demanding, “Do what I say, or else!”

In either case, both have the same desire and goal – to force you to submit to someone else’s claim to your liberty.

In order to prevent ourselves from being overrun by those who would use coercion, force or violence against us, and more importantly to maintain peace among the rest of us, we must be able to defend ourselves against whatever another person or group might bring to the fight.

If they bring ignorance, we must be free to bring education.

If they bring intelligence, we must be free to bring our own intelligence.

If they bring coercion, we must be free to bring resolve.

But whatever they bring, we must bring an equal or greater force to bear against it.

And if their force includes a gun, it is our duty to ensure we are free to bring our own to bear.

Liberty demands it. Against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

In the end, for now, this is what I think is best for our country. I may be wrong, and you may think I’m a nut. And, who knows, I may change my mind later.

But I don’t think so.

I’d rather die standing free than live on my knees. I may submit to a more well armed force, but I will never consent.

You shouldn’t either, lest they make you a slave. And avoiding that…  is what’s best.

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