We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A short piece at Stumbling helped me get a grip on a theme which had been nagging at me in an unformed way. As he says,
"Freedom doesn't make us happy."
If my memory serves me, Freud said sort of the same thing about freedom from neurosis. Indeed freedom does not, nor is it intended to, by the usual uses of the term happiness. However, everyone defines happiness somewhat differently for themselves, and many do not find it to be a worthy pursuit in and of itself. Indeed, many look back in their lives and recognize that some of their toughest times were their "happiest" in retrospect because they were contending with challenge and discovering things about themselves and about life.
A QQQ earlier today noted that democracy is simply an effort to provide individual freedom from State power (but it can be a path to tyranny too). We believe that freedom has intrinsic value, and is a correlate of the dignity and capacity for self-determination of the individual. It is thus a Western ideal.
Serfs and slaves know where they live and where their next meal is coming from, and thus have a foundation for material happiness. Being free is much more daunting and may not be for everybody (as Dr. Bliss often says) - but you get to chose your meal and take your own chances.
In a free country, which the US still mostly is, each of us citizens can be an aristocrat of the human spirit. (And with a little luck and a little determination each one of us, even those on welfare, can live with more material blessings than King George lll had - eg endless hot water, large-screen TVs - which I will not permit in my house -, iPods, genuine medical treatments, central heat, and abundant fresh, healthy, delicious food from all over the world.)
And, regardless of all of the above, I wish our readers a Happy Christmas and a re-birth of the Holy Spirit in all who seek it.
Editor's comment: Yes, materialists understand simple animal happiness but not spiritual and psychological aspirations, and they tend to misunderestimate the soul and the capacities of everyone, except themselves, to figure out life and reality.
This is one place where liberalism becomes so confusing. One tends to associate libs with 60's hippies, etc, who professed to love freedom. Yet, in practice liberalism limits freedom by forcing people to rely on government.