Liberty Letters to my Grandchild – Number 1
*Editor’s note: My friend Robert Hartford read this letter aloud during our most recent CAUTION meeting. I asked if he would share with PunditHouse, and he was grateful to do so. Feel free to share with your grandchildren!
When you were young, you wondered about Santa Claus, and I answered your questions as best I could. Now you wonder about freedom. You wonder if freedom has a future. Yes, Virginia, freedom has a future.
I am optimistic because of you and so many like you. You have created your wonderful self by thinking clearly, building your character, and setting goals for your well-being and happiness.
You know that others have their own dreams and goals as well. You would not dream of forcing them to support your goals, and they shouldn’t force you to support their goals. You deal with others in the only fair, just, and moral way possible, by mutual consent, each person freely choosing to work with the other, or not.
But now you wonder if such a society of mutual respect, voluntary consent, and political freedom is possible. You see too many others who want to take away your freedoms. They want to force you to act the way they think best. Most would not directly use force against you; instead they hijack a proper government. They turn government from protector of your freedom to violator of your freedom. They turn government into an agent that controls you and takes from you. No wonder you wonder if freedom has a future!
Freedom does indeed have a future, because people’s understanding of political freedom is growing. Political freedom means you can think, choose, and act for your own well-being and happiness as long as you respect the right of others to do the same. That truth, when widely understood, leads to a society of good-will, kindness, mutual respect, and political freedom. To secure that blessing, our founders gave us the justification for freedom in the “Declaration of Independence” and the means to implement freedom in “The Constitution.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful? You and I, and everyone else, free to pursue our own happiness in voluntary cooperation with others; neither using force on others nor being subject to force from them. Each of us free to pursue our own well-being and happiness in our own way. This vision motivated our founders, is the essence of political freedom and political equality, is the fair, just, and moral way to treat one another, and can be the freedom in our future.
In this, my first Liberty Letter to you, I want to explain one of the worst threats to that future. Without understanding the threat, we don’t have a chance of finding a fix. The threat has been growing because of the failures of my generation, and earlier generations, to control our government.
We allowed government to set up a huge Ponzi scheme, with you and future generations the ultimate victims. We allowed government to take our money because they promised to give it back in our old age. The government didn’t save or invest the money for us, they simply distributed it to others, or to other government programs. The money taken from us is gone; the IOUs given to us can only be paid back by taking from you and your generation. That is not fair, that is not just, and that is not moral.
You should be saving and investing for your old age. You should not be forced instead to pay for our mistakes. We can’t fix a problem until we honestly state the problem. It is impossible to take enough wealth from you and your generation to provide the promised entitlements to me and my generation.
Before you were even born, the government was promising to take from you so it could promise to give to us. How could we have let that happen? Were we greedy, ignorant, asleep, lazy, incompetent? Whatever the reason, we made the mistakes and we should reap the consequences. We must be willing to take the moral high ground of reducing our so-called “entitlements.”
Undoing the harm we did will not be easy, but we must support those who will try. The solution is difficult, because so many people are getting government money, and no one wants to be the first to lose benefits.
The government can give those benefits only because it takes money from the taxpayers directly, borrows money it can’t pay back, or creates money out of thin air by printing it or using bookkeeping tricks, thus making all our savings worth less. Government then gives that money as subsidies to: individuals, organizations, educational institutions, farmers, energy companies; the list goes on and on; always taking, always redistributing.
The government taking of our wealth for entitlements and redistribution is our greatest economic threat. My generation must acknowledge it, and make a solemn commitment to you and your generation to help solve this most pressing problem. The future health of our society is at stake.
It is certainly true of this society that we are all in it together. All the more reason to respect each other’s political freedom, and move government toward its proper role of protecting political freedom. We have nothing to lose but our chains.
We grandparents like to think of ourselves as kind and caring to our grandchildren. For that to be true, we must try to stop the government from stealing your future. We must speak, write, and fight with our strongest logical arguments. We must fix the problem we have created, and clear the way for your future.
With love from . . . . Every grandparent who shares these ideas
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