Be Free! by Joe Blow

Are we free?

It’s a two stage question. Before we decide whether we are free individuals within our society, we have to ask ourselves whether we are free in our own minds. Are we prisoners of what William Blake called “the mind-forged manacles”? Is there a division in our psyche itself? Are we at war with some aspect of our own nature?

Often we look only at external social and political factors when considering the question of freedom. But whether we can be controlled or exploited by others depends on the vulnerability or otherwise of our psychological state. Divide and conquer is a basic principle of warfare, and, in the same way, if our psyche is divided then we become much easier to control.

The less we need, the freer we are. We only need to take a look at the life of any drug addict to see that where there is absolute need there is also absolute slavery.

The psychological foundation for any kind of meaningful state of social or political freedom is self-sufficiency in the area of personal esteem. If we really don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks about us then not only are we freer economically ? not having a need to make any kind of statement of self-worth through ostentatious material goods ? but we are much harder to intimidate.

The route to this kind of freedom is radical self-acceptance.

If we consider ourselves as we are at this moment, we know these things :

  1. The past cannot be changed, so anything which has happened to us in the past or which we have done in the past is best accepted without regrets or guilt.
  1. While our actions may harm others, our thoughts and feelings, in themselves, cannot. So we might as well accept those thoughts and feelings unconditionally.

One of the great ironies of life is that we spend so much effort on trying to improve ourselves, struggling with our feelings or trying to censor our thoughts. And yet, if we can learn to accept ourselves as we are and allow our thoughts and emotions absolute freedom to go where they will, we find that these thoughts and feelings ? even the most shocking and frightening ones ? are part of a movement towards wholeness in our being.

We are born with a capacity for unconditional love for all of our fellows. It never goes away, but only becomes subsumed by our struggle against accepting ourselves.

What would it be like to live in a world where nobody had anything to prove? Left wing politics, right wing politics, religions of various stripes… All dogma is a defense against free thought based on the fear that such thought might lead to a scary place.

The world is a mirror in which we see ourselves reflected. Those of us who are greedy think the government is greedy and wants to tax us too much. Those of us who are full of hatred see enemies everywhere. Those who have a hard time repressing their sexual desires see “sinners” on every side.

But freedom exists in the hearts of those who, unhampered by self-obsession, are open to love, that force of attraction which draws the individual to find his or her fullest meaning within a freely unfolding society which cannot be controlled by those in the grip of closed-minded insecurity.

This is already happening. The old dogmas are dying. In the middle ages you could be tortured to death for questioning the concept that the sun revolved around the earth. Today you can say pretty much anything you like on the Internet.

We live in the latter days of civilization. Civilization is socially-enforced repression. Anything which threatens its cohesive structure has to be made civil, that is tamed or repressed. This is what civilization means. So what is it which threatens the cohesion of society? Mainly two things ? sex and violence. If we were to act on all of our sexual desires or give our feelings of anger uncontrolled physical expression it would be very hard for society to keep functioning.

Of course, even without any externally imposed repression, each of us restrains those impulses which we recognize as being potentially dangerous to society. For various psychological reasons some have more to repress than others. The more someone is struggling to repress something within himself the more its expression by others seems to threaten that struggle. So, while the initial reason for social repression was to avoid forms of behavior which might be directly destructive to society, later the need to protect the feelings of the most repressed also became a factor.

And since the desire to control others arises in the struggle to control oneself, it follows that the members of society who most commonly sought power were also the ones who were the most repressed, and thus the most insecure or neurotic. As a result, civilization became patriarchal, sacrificing the freedom of women and children and homosexuals to avoid disturbing the fragile psychological state of the male hierarchy.

Will the collapse of this kind of sick civilization mean a descent into violent chaos? I don’t think so. While these structures were repressing our scary aggressive and sexual desires, deep below those impulses our profound capacity for unconditional love has also been laying dormant. Wars, terrorism, riots, etc. These are eruptions from this stockpile of repressed hostility, but they are the exception, not the rule. Often we see the dramatic, the violent, but not the gentle and the creative. But we have a medium now ? the Internet ? for voluntary global cooperation of an anarchistic rather than imposed variety. Our society has, historically, been a hierarchical one, and hierarchy is an attempt by the most frightened and unimaginative members of society to keep love and creativity from expressing themselves freely.

Set free that which is within you!

About the Author:

JOE BLOW is the author of the ebook How to Be Free. Find Joe’s ebook at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/88690

Photo Credit: Image: Chaiwat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Breaking Government’s Power Vaccuum by Charles Cooper

In America, government is a system.  It is a system whose object is to promote freedom for her people.  It is no mistake that the system manual, the Constitution, puts almost all of its emphasis on restraining the system instead of restraining the people.

And yet, our system grows in scope and power every year—often to the detriment of her people’s freedom.  Our government may have recently met the only restraint that could contain it, the availability of money.  Yet Congress sweeps this problem under the rug and out of view while concealing the ever growing financial crisis that if left unchecked threatens to throw the country into economic ruin sometime in the near future.

The only goal of our government is to ensure the most freedom for the greatest number of our citizens.  Everything else is up to those citizens and to some extent, luck.  To achieve this goal, the Constitution limits government’s power—not the liberty of its people.  But how do we the people ensure that the government obeys its own supreme law?  I would suggest, as a means of containing government, is an establishment of the scope of government as an absolute.  The only thing Government can do that individuals cannot is use force to achieve an end, moderate disputes among her people, and make agreements with our fellow nations.

Second, we must agree on three principles as fundamental and then integrate them into a staged-gate algorithm where failure at any one stage prevents something from becoming a law.  These principles are:

1.       Equality: Toward that end, all people will be treated as equal under the law without regard for any characteristic or choice they have made.

2.       Property Rights and the right to contract: All people will have without fail the fundamental right to own property and to make bargains and trades as they see fit.  Two consenting adults make an agreement.

3.       Justice: Government cannot correct for the natural results of decisions made by people.  It will only be allowed to interfere where some fraud or other violation of rights has occurred.

Through those filters, the algorithm for law making looks like this:

1.       Is the purpose of the bill to enable freedom, choice, or otherwise create the opportunity for people to further their potential?  Yes, continue to the next question.  No, stop here:  this is not a question for our government.

2.       Does the law apply equally to all citizens all of the time?  Yes, continue to the next question.  No, stop here:  this is not a legal action for our government.

3.       Is there a private sector, market based solution currently in place?  Yes, stop here: this is not an issue for government.  No, continue to the next question.

4.       What is the best approach for solving this issue, creating a market or creating a law?  If market, then create a private sector solution. If Law, continue.

5.       By now, you’ve found that Government only has two purposes, defending the people and their rights and ensuring that people reasonably uphold contracts.  Everything else belongs to the states or the people, and I question the role of the states outside of the same algorithm.

Every individual in this world has a “power pie” that divides neatly into only two pieces.  Those pieces are the power that one has and the power that one gives away.  In order for all people to achieve their full potential, they must retain as much power as possible.  It is no wonder, then, that when the Government of the United States was so small and constrained, our people achieved so much.  Government is a power vacuum, drawing on your potential, feeding itself and growing larger and stronger.  This is why every generation is called on to fight for its freedom.  This is why the fight to constrain government seems so futile and so lost.

But the fight for freedom and to limit government’s power is not futile: a biannual peaceful revolution is built into our government, every four years a complete revolution at the ballot box.  It is designed to allow for a reset constraining its growth.  This begs the question, where is the will to reset?  Where is the will to eject the specter of power from its place of establishment?

The answer is just as simple. The will to reset government’s seeming one-way track to more power and more resources is in each of us. The desire to make our own destiny instead of accepting a mundane fate of common outcomes and common mediocrity pervades who we are as a people.  We must seize on this desire to be free and act on it by choosing elected representatives who share a love of freedom before the cost of our patience is blood.

About the Author:

CHARLES COOPER is the President of C3 Acquisitions, a company that conducts analysis, builds effective business processes and provides proposal and project management services to companies seeking to expand their business base.  He is a long time conservative activist working to restrain the growth of government.

A Heart-Shaped Box…OF CHOCOLATE CONTRACEPTIVES!

Ahh love! It’s Valentine’s Day, so what better topic to discuss than love…and contraceptives?! Contraception is all the rage the past few days.

First, a quick look at how we got here.

In August last year, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius announced that the Obama administration would enact new guidelines for women’s health to take effect on August 1, 2012. The guidelines are authorized by the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Health Care Law or as some have called it, “ObamaCare”) and are an example of the many vague holes in the law which give the Secretary of HHS the authority to issue new regulations. The specific mandate was that all new health insurance plans would have to provide free contraceptives without a deductible or co-pay.

The real firestorm came on January 20, when Mr. Obama announced that churches would be exempted from the requirement, but that faith-based non-profit organizations (e.g., Catholic Hospitals) would be required to provide employer insurance plans including free contraceptives.  Today we stand with an odd compromise where religious charities don’t have to pay for contraceptives—but the contraceptives must be offered to anyone who asks—at no charge to the religious organization.  This compromise leaves insurers not charging separately for the contraceptives (preventing a direct charge to religious organizations)  but having to pay for them—the cost being charged back to consumers in general.

This is the sort of chicanery that accompanies government intrusion into private affairs.

For the record, Freedom Forge Press is not against contraceptives, women, women’s health, religion, government, or insurance companies.  We do stand against the government pretending that it has the authority to create new rights.

Right: Choosing to buy and use (or choosing not to buy and use) birth control (and in a larger sense, health care in general)

Not a right: Free contraceptives (and in a larger sense, health care in general)

Let’s pause on the term “free” for a moment. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Cupid doesn’t go around shooting free birth control from his quiver. Someone or some company has to pay to research, produce, package, and transport them to a store. So when a government bureaucrat, Department Secretary, Congressman, or President says that birth control has to be offered “free” with no deductible or co-pay, insurers will either try to capture a birth control fairy, or raise their prices across the board to cover the prices they will have to pay for contraceptives without being able to charge co-pays or deductibles.

The media storm has blown the issue askew, presenting it as a question of women’s rights. Anyone siding with the Catholic Church is viewed as standing against women’s reproductive health. The truth is, this isn’t the issue at all. The issue that should be debated is not whether insurance providers must offer birth control free of charge, but whether the government has any right to make this mandate in the first place.

If you stand as part of the camp that cheers this sort of government intrusion into the private sector, consider this: the same government that has the power to grant the right to “free” contraceptives also has the power to revoke this right should public opinion change and even deny individuals the ability to have contraceptives.

Freedom Forge Press: Draft Logo!

Thanks to the incredibly talented Voula Trip of Voula Trip Photography, we now have a draft logo for Freedom Forge Press. Let us know what you think!

Stay tuned for a welcome message and our mission statement.