Rebirth of Reason

John Mecham

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I haven't decided what political label I will use, if any, to label myself, but I thus far established a couple things in my mind that are certain: 1) The purpose of our existence is to have joy 2) There are self-evident, universal, absolute truths - independent of time, space or persons that if followed will result in greater joy. 3) Liberty is our second most basic and most important right. Because it can be taken away by others it ranks second behind free-agency. Free-agency is superior because it is 100% self governed; it can't be taken away by others - it can only be given away. Call it will-power, personal responsibility, mind over matter, obedience to conscience, or moral fortitude - but I prefer the term free agency - because it has the most powerful antonym, no agency. Nothing on earth could be more miserable. (the word "free" is added to denote it was given by God) I will fervently fight for both peoples' liberty and free agency, but will fight more passionately for their free agency. Why? A person abusing his or her own free agency can be infinitely more destructive to his or her ability to obtain joy than anything anybody else can inflict. Also, nothing protects liberty better than the preservation of free agency. Cut my arms and legs off and put me in a prison, and attempt to control all "active" choices for me: what I eat, who I talk to, what I say when I talk to somebody, etc. and you have basically completely wiped away my right to liberty, but you haven't begun to take away my free agency. Only I can give my free agency away. So how do you fight for others' free agency? Influence & Persuasion. There are lots of ways to do this, but charity (agape - as defined by C.S. Lewis) is clearly the most powerful way to persuade and influence people to make personal choices that will protect their free agency and result in joy. Stong evidence of free agency being preserved is in situations where people have lost their liberty but have maintained joy. The joy of those special people with sever disabilities, those who live in communist countries, people in prisons, people who are slaves by force is all inspiring evidence. Like I said - they have reduced liberty, but they are still fulfilling the purpose of life - which is to have joy. I just read the other day that 75% of the current 2.2 million prisoners in America have some substance addiction, and that the greatest predictor of addiction of one substance such as heroin is an addiction to another substance such as alcohol or nicotine, etc. Being a slave to a substance has a domino effect. In a related article it was estimated that $250 Billion is lost/yr in productivity due to substance addictions. Add $60 Billion lost/yr to operate prisons for 2.2 million prisoners and add the estimated $450 billion lost/yr directly and indirectly as a result of crimes - i.e. property damage, crime inflicted disabilities, mental, emotional damage to families from the murder of a loved one etc., then add the most rampant addictions of pornography and other sexual addictions - the total cost would go beyond $1 Trillion lost/yr. And I haven't even addressed undisciplined eating which leads to heart disease, can encourage cancer and can lead to all of the complications related to obesity. So there is no question that $1 Trillion lost/yr is a gross under estimation. If you were to figure in opportunity cost year on year of all those who were killed and disabled due to crime, and all the other non hard dollar calculations - i.e. we all understand the power of example and how it can lead to generation after generation of addictive behavior such as child abuse, etc. So what is the total cost of people not preserving their free agency - the amount has got to be much more than 10 to 15 times the $1 Trillion/yr I quoted above. Who foots the bill? Those who have preserved their free agency. With the preservation of free agency I believe our $14 Trillion GDP would double. Can you imagine what $28 Trillion dollars worth of labor and materials channeled into producing products and services that are truly beneficial to building the quality of life of consumers would do for our country! I agree that innovation is perhaps the greatest key to increasing productivity and maintaining America's position as the number one economic powerhouse, but that is only after people show up to their jobs with a positive work ethic in tact. What I am sharing seems like such common sense; that is why it is often brushed aside and not addressed. But we can't afford to brush it aside and say - "everybody knows that - that goes without saying" and then declare unbridled liberty for all! This would result in total chaos, for the simple reason that there are many who can not handle the responsibility that comes with unbridled liberty. For example - giving liberty to all 14 year olds do drive without requiring drivers ed. is bound to result in catastrophe. Liberty isn't free, and there is a price to pay for each measure. For example - the harder one works in school, the better grades they will get, the better grades they get, the greater the liberty they obtain - more scholarships become available, more schools are willing to accept them - through paying a price people are able to increase their liberty. How is this done? Through the preservation of free agency.


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