David Hines
To die for
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By David Hines
March 30, 2012

Some people, including prominent politicians, tell me that some guy in a mud hut on the other side of the world wants me dead. Therefore, they say, if I don't support eternal war and constraint of Constitutional rights I am being naïve. As you may have already gathered, typical sales pitches don't work all that well on me.

There are worse things than dying, which is after all a predestined part of life. We all have to do it once. This is rather self-evident, but most folks seem to understand it only when it's somebody else doing the dying. Fallen soldiers are honored. Christian martyrs are canonized. Words are spewed in quantity about the person dying for some great good.

But politicians and their echoers make it personal — "they want you dead." That supposedly changes the equation, causing me to beg for protection. The mud hut guy likely doesn't even know I exist, yet is heading straight for my front door. What could possibly be amiss with this picture?

Statistically, I'm more likely to be killed by lightning than by a terrorist. Zeus is more of a threat than is Ahmad. So why aren't they selling fear of rainy days?

Other fears are indeed sold, though. There are those who say that if government doesn't manage health care, doctors won't exist and I will die. If government doesn't tell me how much fat I may consume and doesn't cause me to fear sodium chloride, I will die. Thank goodness Congress is working on so many laws to repeal fate!

Our part in the land of the free and the home of the brave is to bask in reflected glory. We can praise those who exhibit bravery, while obediently fearing our own shadows. We are to not be permitted even the bravery of deciding what to eat nor how to spend our own money. Those decisions are to be made for us by brave politicians and courageous bureaucrats. Our words might praise fallen soldiers as heroes, but our timid acceptance of nanny government condemns them as fools. It's a poor tribute to their sacrifice.

A life controlled by fear isn't much of a life. Knowing life must eventually end, it behooves one to live well rather than fearfully. Sure, most if not all of us have probably avoided some action for fear of the consequences. Sometimes it makes perfect sense. But fear as a driver of life and political advocacy seems a bit extreme.

When it's check-out time, how would you prefer to leave this world — worn out from pursuing your passions, or regretful of the things inordinate fear prevented you from doing? The former requires freedom; the latter is what the fear mongers are selling.

What seems to bother many is that Mud Hut Guy isn't motivated by fear, as our self-proclaimed leaders tell us is mandatory and civilized. He values something else — perhaps his liberty — over the continuance of a more timid existence. So did many of those people, such as saints and soldiers, to whom lip service is given.

Mud Hut Guy, the fear mongers tell us, gains magical powers by valuing something else over life. To deliver death to my door step, he can overcome the vast American and Israeli military apparatus; thousands of miles of ocean and landmass; and a distinct lack of resources on his part.

And maybe he does gain some magical powers. Freedom is like that. Overcoming fear of the pre-eminent military power of the day gave our nation liberty and built an unrivaled economic powerhouse. Now we are to believe that that liberty has become a liability. We must line up like sheep at airports; we must accept irredeemable debt and economic management by government, else we might die.

I don't know about you, but such a timid existence doesn't seem much worth dying for. Or even not dying for.

© David Hines

 

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David Hines

Born in a mill town, David Hines has seen work as a furniture mover, computer programmer/analyst, and professional musician... (more)

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