Jenny’s Legos

Jenny brought her big box of Legos to school so that she could play with them during recess. It was a rainy day so the kids stayed indoors. Jenny moved off to one corner and began to build something with her Legos.

Billy saw what she was doing. He kept glancing at her from across the room. Finally he headed toward her. He said, “Can I have some Legos?”

Jenny replied, “Sorry no. I will need all my Legos to build what I want to build. I was thinking about it all the way to school today. It’s going to be a really tall tower.”

Alternate ending A:

Billy pushed Jenny out of the way and grabbed two big handfuls of Legos. He then ran to the other corner and began to play. The teacher, seeing what happened, walked over to Billy and said, “Billy, we do not push other people and take their stuff.” She then returned Jenny’s Legos to Jenny, who proceeded to build her tower.

Billy learned that pushing people and stealing their stuff is wrong.

Alternate ending B:

Billy, seeing that he had no Legos and Jenny had a lot, went and told the teacher. The teacher came over and said, “Jenny, you have a lot of Legos and Billy has none. You should share your Legos.”

“But these are my Legos and I need all of them to build what I want to build.”

“Stop being selfish. If you do not give Billy some of your Legos I will not let you have recess the rest of the week.”

Jenny looked at the teacher. She looked at the Legos. Part of her realized she had very little power compared to the power the teacher had. She gave Billy two big handfuls. He went off to play and Jenny just spent the rest of recess thinking about what she could have built.

Billy learned that stealing is much better if you can get somebody else to do it for you.  Especially somebody in authority.

Ceding the High Ground – or How to Lose the Battle for Liberty

In the early hours of Gettysburg, the Union Army’s first commanders on the scene seized the geographical high ground. The Confederates spent the next three days trying to charge up hill in the face of rifle and cannon fire. Since time immemorial, defending the hill has conferred an advantage. Holding the high ground has allowed a smaller force to sometimes prevail against greater numbers. Even in Star Wars III, Anakin Skywalker learned a burning lesson about trying to take high ground held by a Jedi master. In the realm of morality and outside of warfare, we often refer to somebody who is doing the right thing as taking the high ground. Unless a society has completely gone to hell, the moral high ground can even confer an advantage in the marketplace of ideas.

liberty-pirate-meme-ceding-the-high-groundThose who support liberty, self-ownership, and non-aggression as first political principles are in a seeming perpetual battle against those who believe that society owns you and has a right to initiate force against you in support of its progressive programs. And because progressivism is largely based on an appeal to emotion, those who support progressive ideas are used to reinforcing their views of their own moral goodness with their ideas. Thus, one who believes that government has no place in providing charity must be bad. One who believes that people should be left to themselves unless others decide voluntarily to assist them is downright horrible. And, if you are wont to believe that you have a fundamental right to arm yourself in defense against force from both criminals and tyrants, you are downright evil, the devil’s own spawn directly from hell itself.

Unfortunately, conservatives and libertarians and others who support the principles of liberty often fall prey to such thinking themselves. They willingly cede the moral high ground to the enemy at the beginning of the fight. They do so mostly by agreeing that their opponents are morally right but then arguing that their opponent’s ideas just do not work in practice. So the argument about socialism becomes one of the liberty-minded arguing that it doesn’t work and its supporters arguing it just hasn’t worked yet, but give us this one more chance and we will get it right. Or the liberty-minded agree that gun control sounds logical but just doesn’t work and its supporters argue that it’s not broad enough, or we haven’t taken enough guns, or (in Great Britain) maybe we need the knives too. If only people were good socialism would be a great idea and gun control would work right?

Wrong. Socialism is an evil idea. When imposed by government it is nothing but a system of extortion and slavery. When voluntarily entered into, it is an arrangement of the gullible choosing to support those who immorally want more than they are willing to produce. Gun control is fundamentally immoral because it limits an individual’s fundamental human rights to defend themselves against criminals and tyrants and places them at the mercy of both. It is not logical. It is not ideal. It is not even moral. Yes. Neither of these immoral ideas works in practice. But if you resort to arguments of utility as primary and give up on arguments of morality and natural rights then you begin by ceding the moral high ground to the enemy. You are essentially saying socialism is morally better but just doesn’t work. As soon as you make that argument you have lost.

Progressives advocate theft and extortion cloaked as compassion because it makes them feel good. They call people greedy because they want what they earned but they accept the mistaken idea that it is acceptable for other people to want to take what they did not earn. They believe it is perfectly acceptable to initiate force against others to pay for whatever they feel might be compassionate at the moment. They accept theft, extortion, and slavery as the fundamental foundation for the political and economic solutions they advocate. They are why there is a second amendment. They are the problem with America. Their feeling good does not trump my rights. Ever. No matter how many votes they can muster. People should not be enslaved to their flawed reasoning and emotional whims.

So, if you are liberty-minded, stand up and fight back. Start with the premise that they are morally wrong and that their ideas are evil. Then, if necessary, follow up with all the facts that show that their ideas do not work. But they do not work, not because they are good and people just aren’t good enough, but because they are bad and most people aren’t trying to be. You might be surprised at the response. Usually, they are shocked because they have so much emotional capital tied up in the notion that their ideas make them good people. Sometimes they will even run like cowards in the face of the truth because they have no answer other than their “feelings” and they certainly are not equipped to handle truth. Other times they will immediately resort to attacks on you and name calling because they are intellectually weak and incapable of separating the false ideas they hold from their own concept of self-goodness.

Do not cede the moral high ground in this most critical battle. If you do, then the battle is lost before it has been seriously joined.

To The Last Extremity

fort-mifflin-photoNext year will be the 240th year anniversary of the siege of Fort Mifflin in the Revolutionary War. The Fort, located just down the Delaware River from Philadelphia, held out for almost 6 weeks in the Fall of 1777 against the largest naval bombardment of the Revolutionary War although badly outnumbered and outgunned. The Fort’s fewer than 500 men, ordered to hold out “to the last extremity, but wifth only ten cannon, held out against a large fleet that at its high point delivered over 1,000 cannon shots in a single hour. This brave resistance gave Washington’s army the chance to get to Valley Forge after their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Brandywine. Even one of the British officers commented on the defenders saying,

“the behavior of the enemy did them honor, nor did they quit the place ’till their defenses were ruined, and the works rendered to rubbish, setting the works in a blaze when they could defend it no longer.”

Even with all the misadventures of the Continental Army, one has to wonder if somebody in the British army or admiralty had to at some point say, what were we thinking when we tried to seize the colonists muskets, cannon, and powder in Massachusetts? Who could have thought that trying to seize the arms of a free people would result in such a firestorm of resistance and rebellion? Obviously, they did not consider this in foresight. They must have been the Progressives of their day. Because they do not seem to understand this lesson.

With the ridiculous gun laws just passed in California and the bans in other progressive states like Connecticut and New York, one must wonder where the line will be drawn. Professional politicians repeatedly claim they aren’t “coming for the guns”. But then the President repeatedly cites Australia as an example of what should be done – and that is exactly what they did in Australia. Senator Feinstein of California said of “assault weapons” (in 1995):

“If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, ‘Mr. and Mrs. America turn ‘em all in,’ I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren’t here.’”

This is all part of the traditional Progressive movement. It has been gunning for guns almost since its inception over a hundred years ago. Recently, a judge in California stated that he would like to see all guns gone, even from police and security. It is not that progressives do not understand the concept of individual rights. They just think that liberty is obsolete and that it stands in the way of “progress”. The erosion of the fundamental human right to defend oneself against both crime and tyranny will continue as both sides of the political equation in this country bring us progressive choices.

At some point, unless the trend is reversed, it may become necessary for Americans to once again resist “to the last extremity”. Hopefully this will not be the case. The fact that Connecticut gun owners have largely openly ignored the newest restrictive gun laws even to the point of showing up to protest armed with what are now “illegal” guns gives some hope. One can hope that a significant group of Californians do the same. Ultimately though, our fundamental rights are not subject to a vote. Should it come to confiscation, non-compliance and resistance will be the only moral option remaining. Don’t believe it? Neither did the British governor of Massachusetts when he initiated force to confiscate the people’s arms. I’m guessing that by Fort Mifflin’s brave defense, somebody on the British side was beginning to believe it.