A Few Thoughts On Integrity

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been kind of silent these past couple weeks. Don’t mistake my silence for lack of caring about the things that are going on, it is just that I have been asking myself why waste my time talking about things when what I have to say won’t make a damn bit of difference. How many times must a person bang their head against a wall before they realize that they are not going to break through the wall, and all they will do is give themselves a headache?

All the facts that I write about are easily found on the internet, or in books, if only people cared enough to look for them. If they can’t be bothered to do that, am I to honestly think that by my putting them into an article is going to cause them to alter their beliefs or change the way they act? I seriously doubt it.

I read a pretty interesting article this morning about the zombie culture, about how people castrate their own thinking to fit into a group. I don’t like putting links into my articles but you can Google it by searching for “sipsey street irregulars zombie culture”. It all boils down to the old adage that people don’t like to rock the boat, they would rather remain silent when they see something they know to be wrong, than to stand up and be the only one to question it. Which leads me to question what these people stand for, where is their individuality?

The other day I was at the grocery store and I was wearing a hat that said, “Oathkeeper Since 1979.” On older guy behind me asked what an Oathkeeper was. To paraphrase the conversation, I told him it was someone who had sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution. He gave me a thumbs up and asked how he could join. I asked if he’d ever been in the military, to which he answered yes. I said you already have, now all you have to do is live up to that oath.

What does it mean to live up to an oath, to have the integrity to stand behind your principles no matter the outcome? How many people these days can say that they will defend the things they believe in to the point that it cost them their lives? I’m sure there are many, but I’m also sure that they are vastly outnumbered by the average person who only wants to survive.

I am constantly reminded by many to ignore the sheeple, the uninformed masses, that during the American Revolution only 3% had the courage to actively fight for their independence, while roughly 1/3 of the people supported them, 1/3 supported staying loyal to the Crown, and 1/3 not caring either way. I understand that, I truly do, but there is a huge difference between then and now. You see, back then most of the people inhabiting the colonies were self sufficient, they either owned a business, or they farmed their own crops and bartered for what they lacked. Those who fought were fighting against a government imposing its will upon the people without their having any say in the laws being passed which infringed upon their liberty.

Today we live in a society where a huge percentage of the populace somehow relies upon the government for some form of sustenance, all of which is blatantly unconstitutional. I just read another article which stated that 11 of the states in this country, with my state of California being among them, have more people on welfare than are employed. To quote from the article, “Last month, the Senate Budget Committee reports that in fiscal year 2011, between food stamps, housing support, child care, Medicare and other benefits, the average U.S. household below the poverty line received $168.00 a day in government support. What’s the problem with that much support? Well, the median household income in America is just over $50,000, which averages out to $137.13 a day.”

So, it seems it pays more to be poor than it does to work, and more and more people are becoming poor and on the receiving end of these government programs to support them. Even among those who work, at least from my own personal experience, I have found that many do not want to earn the wages they receive. They do the bare minimum to get by and nothing more. I am constantly told by others that they won’t ‘bust their ass or kill themselves’ like I do. I do not kill myself otherwise I would not be hear bitching about them. But I do bust my ass, and if they aren’t willing to break a sweat doing their job maybe they ought to find a job the does not require them to work so hard to meet the standards set by the company. But then you have the union which will stand behind, and fight for, their members even though it is obvious certain people are incapable, or unwilling, to do what is required to meet the job expectations.

My question is where is the integrity of these workers? Don’t they feel the slightest amount of guilt when they take home that paycheck knowing they didn’t earn it? It’s the same across the nation with all these subsidies that people obtain from their government. Don’t these people feel any guilt taking money that they have not earned?

And that is the difference between 1776 and 2013. We now have a nation full of people who think they are entitled to these benefits and that anyone who says they aren’t is either racist, cold hearted, or worse. Sure, if 3% of the people rose up in this country we could possibly restore our government to the limited government established by the Constitution. But what would we do with all these people who cannot provide for themselves?

And I haven’t even begun to address the belief by most Americans that it is okay for government to curtail liberty and our rights in the name of public safety. That is another aspect altogether. Combine the two and the thought of restoring America to country with limited government, where the people were self-sufficient, and we face an almost insurmountable obstacle.

I have the hardest time trying to get people to understand that the job of our government is to pass laws which protect and strengthen our rights, not diminish them. In 1850 Frederic Bastiat wrote a 78 page treatise entitled The Law where he explained the purpose for which laws where to be passed, and how the law might be perverted. From it I quote, “If every person has the right to defend—even by force—his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right—its reason for existing, its lawfulness—is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force—for the same reason—cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.”

Yet we have all these laws which have been passed to restrict our liberty in the name of protecting us from ourselves. In a letter written in 1819, Thomas Jefferson declared, “Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrants will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”

The basic premise of what Jefferson was saying is that you can do whatever you want as long as what you do doesn’t hurt anyone else. Yet we have all these laws now which make, what I call, victimless crimes. I’ll give you an example. Say I was to grow marijuana in my back yard for my own personal use. It is both a state and federal crime for me to do so. Why, who am I hurting? Just because it offends you does not make it a crime. You DO NOT have the right to go through life not being offended! You may as well take a lead aspirin if you think you do.

But there is a side issue here that bears a moments discussion. In a society it is imperative that there be certain guidelines, a moral code if you will, that guide our actions. For a society to say that people are free to do as they please as long as they don’t ‘hurt’ anyone else could lead to anarchy, or at least chaos. In the exercising of our rights we must consider how our actions will affect others. It would be ridiculous for a person to simply walk down the street naked, even though by their doing so they are not actually ‘hurting’ anyone else. The flip side of rights is responsibility, and if you want to exercise your rights you must also show some responsibility for how you choose to exercise them. Free speech does not mean you should walk down the streets uttering the “F” word every five seconds. Nor does the right to keep and bear arms mean that simply because you can you should walk through a mall with a semi automatic rifle slung over your shoulder. Show a little responsibility is all that I’m saying.

This whole gay rights issue is another thing I think the government has no business in. It offends me, I find the idea of two men, or two women having relations a sin. But it is not my place to judge, and if it is a sin, God WILL judge them at the appropriate time. But leave government out of it!

But for these people to say they want us to be tolerant of their lifestyle choices, THEN turn around and say that I may not own certain types of weapons, high capacity magazines, or assault rifles, they are now being hypocritical. They want tolerance for what they believe in, but believe in intolerance for what someone else believes in.

I know I kind of got off the beaten path there, but it only shows that our country is so discombobulated, so fragmented, that finding unity amongst the people and standing up for our individual rights, with little to no governmental interference in our lives is next to impossible.

So my question is, why should I continue to bother when the people I am reaching out to have no desire to learn from what I am saying? I know I have a few devoted followers who read what I write, and share it with others, but in the grand scheme of things, what difference am I making? I can’t force feed people to thing, I can’t demand they go see their physician and get an injection of integrity.

It seems all I can do is sit back and watch the country I love fall apart before my very eyes, and it sickens me more than you’ll ever know. It sickens me so much that sometimes I just want to grab people by the head and shake them, screaming “Would you please just THINK!” But I realize that isn’t going to happen. People have their lives, or their immediate concerns which dominate their thoughts. The big picture is too big for them to consider, and therefore they ignore it. Yet it does, and will continue to affect them.

Anyway, these are just the things that I have been thinking about these past couple weeks. I could be wrong, but only time will tell. But, if you don’t hear from me for awhile, at least you know why. I’ll still be here but I probably won’t write as much as I used to unless something happens which REALLY pisses me off. But don’t expect me to waste my time on people who don’t have the integrity to stand up for what is right no matter the cost.

I would like to close this with some of the lyrics from a song by Rush entitled Bravado for you to think about. “When the dust has cleared, and victory denied. A summit to lofty, a river a little too wide. If we keep our pride, though paradise is lost. We will pay the price but we will not count the cost.”

That is integrity, or as Ayn Rand said in the Fountainhead, “Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.” I know what I stand for. The question is, do you?

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3 Responses to A Few Thoughts On Integrity

  1. Don says:

    I read everything you write Neal. I have for a long time. And not only do I appreciate it all, but I agree with just about all of your positions. And I forward much of what you write to my private topic-specific lists. Of course, since I’ve been an oath keeper since 1971, you’re preaching to the choir, but I appreciate the fact that you send me everything you write. And I know that you are frustrated, discouraged, and angered by the lack of positive response you think you get from your writings. . . but I would say you just never know. So keep on keeping on. As the good book states; some plant, some tend, and others reap. You just never know Neal what impact your writing will have on someone.

  2. Neal says:

    Thanks Don. The only way I have to judge whether I’m having a response is by feedback, and that comes very infrequently. It is either that or by the actions of the people I come into contact with on a day to day basis, and that is even more disheartening.

    So yeah, you could say I’m frustrated, but I don’t think I’ll ever give up, its in my blood, like it or not. But my tone may become a bit more bitter as time goes on as I see our country fall deeper and deeper into a tyrannical state.

    But thanks for at least taking the time to give me a moral boost up.

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