Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Defiance Lost

We were a nation born of defiance, which makes it ever so ironic we now condemn ourselves to a fate of decay through complacency.  How unfortunate as few things are as uniquely American as the confident attitude we inherently exude.  While some may label this as arrogance, our current president included, it is something of much greater substance.  It is the audacious byproduct of a people that refused to settle.  A nation declared and designed to oppose the suppressive government apparatus that was the world’s status quo.  We dared to be different, proclaiming and successfully defending our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  We not only defeated the military power of the world, but forever deposed the reigning European establishment that said an individual was simply the product of their place at birth.  The accepted societal model that the masses were meant to be ruled by those few who proclaimed they were ordained by God through noble status was soundly rejected when an upstart band of British colonies proved victorious in their bold endeavor to unleash the limitless potential of self-rule.  The world and the American identity were forever changed.  We established ourselves as a people of action, preferring to take charge and force the issue instead of meekly holding back in the hope things would eventually go our way, or at least we used to be.   

Regardless of skills, talents, and abilities, the chance to explore one’s limits was deemed unattainable for all save a select few.  Potential was dismissed in favor of government decree as the purveyor of deserved.  Sound familiar?  We were revered, relied upon to prevail when victory seemed impossible because we refused to succumb to defeat.  A reputation we cemented with a history of epic feats of achievement, overcoming inconceivable odds, and doing what others could not.  Time and again trials and tribulations fell before our limitless perseverance.  We constantly proved our mettle not because we were always the most talented or best prepared, but because of the prize seized by our ancestors and passed like a torch to succeeding generations - our defiant attitude.  Refusing to concede combined with a relentless drive to achieve was the irresistible force that fueled our ascent to the apex human of civilization.  Our undeniable swagger, the calling card that distinguishes us even from those that share our ancestral roots, is the product of our daring liberation. 

We revealed mankind’s unimagined potential by being more resolute than any that had come before us, by believing in the possibilities that come from unleashing ourselves from self-imposed doubt.  Only when chance is allowed can full potential be discovered.  Self-reliance flourished in the fertile soil of a nation that we created to embrace it, to reward it.  A new form of society that promised nothing save the liberty of defining oneself.  Not all would succeed, as not all are equally endowed with the requisite combination of grit, skill, and resolve, but those that did were celebrated as examples of what was only possible here.  Unfortunately, after two plus centuries practicing a national religion of defiant resolve the endless siege waged by the enticements of comfort and ease is beginning to yield results.  The edge we enjoyed blunted as we allowed ourselves to be lulled into a state of contentment.  The defiance that freed us to be great and defined us as an extraordinary people was lost, replaced by a growing addiction to the repressive state of dependence.

The ultimate defense to the dangerously oppressive expansion of governmental power is a defiant citizenry, a fact our founders knew quite well – Don’t Tread On Me.  So much so they made it the lynchpin to the masterpiece they crafted.  Understanding that government will seek and exploit every opportunity to siphon power and with it freedom from its people, the American citizen was tasked with the essential duty of always questioning the actions and motives of those in elected office.  No one was above reproach, as all answered to the people.  In order to face the immense challenge of checking government’s insatiable drive to amass power, the citizens were armed with a natural distrust of government and the ultimate trump card – the mighty vote.  Both were necessary to give the people a legitimate chance of maintaining self-determination against the leviathan of the national government.  If defiance, the genesis of our nation, falls democracy falls.  

When the people forsake cynicism of an increasing national government, accepting bribes of government assistance in exchange for removing themselves as the stalwart check to executive and legislative intrusion, something is surrendered that may never be reclaimed. Defiance for dependence is far from a fair trade.  Freedom and liberty are thorns in the side of those that want to horde power.  Freedom and liberty breed opposition and opposition is not welcome when the goal is to suppress motivation and achievement in the name of some distorted and deceptive notion of equality.  Equality and fair share are soothing words, especially for those that are struggling, but in reality they are words of suppression and diversion.  When one is more concerned about how they have apparently been wronged, and how they can even the score with those causing the perceived injustice, logic becomes a casualty.  They lose sight of the fact that no human force on this planet can elevate all individuals to a motivated and aspired state; therefore, the only path left is to cap ambition at the lowest common denominator.  A defiant people will fiercely oppose any attempt at limiting opportunity understanding it is the only path to true happiness through the realization of each person’s own unique potential.  A despondent people will embrace any effort to legitimize their self-view as victim.  Prominence was never a prize seized by those who were satisfied by what others told them they were deserving of.  The compromise of a new and lesser normal we so willingly accept today would not have been tolerated by previous generations.

The wild mustang that was once the essence of the American people has been systematically reduced to that of a broken plow horse.  A nation that thrived due to its foundation built of an ingrained belief that defiance was the key to remaining forever free, now forsake it and willingly follow a pied piper of a president down the path toward irrelevance.  The priceless exchanged for the trinket of excuses and the chance to feed our new found insatiable greed for the next round of government dispensed swag.  Placated by a procession of shiny new objects, all the while our pockets are being picked of that which made us the envy of the world.  Only those with a passionate resolve have the fortitude necessary to withstand the unrelenting assault waged by the power obsessed entity that is all forms of government.  Government is necessary to provide a structure preventing freedom from devolving into anarchy, while a defiant citizenry is necessary to prevent government from devolving into tyranny.  America was created and defined by its defiance, as it fades we are losing the source of our distinctive exceptionalism.  Hope and defiance are intertwined, what a sad future we face as both are extinguished in favor of self-induced apathy.