Friday, November 02, 2007

Sitting on the fence

The photograph above, taken in Heidmühlen, Germany, in 1948 or 1949, probably represents the last time that anyone could say I was sitting on the fence. My mischievous uncle Bruno stuck me up there for a joke, then snapped the photograph. My rear-end may have been firmly planted on the fence, but even then I imagine I had a pretty good idea of which side I stood on many issues, at least those of importance to a three-year-old.

The extent to which many individuals are wishy-washy, indecisive, tentative, unsure, astounds me. Too few of us want to take a stand on anything. We sit on the fence until something, usually an external influence of some kind, pushes us to one side or the other and forces us to choose. It is a lot easier not to take a position on anything; that way we don't have to defend our premise, or our words or actions. Let the other guy speak and think for us.

I don't like it when others think and speak for me. I'm not arrogant enough to think that there is no-one smarter than I am. There are a lot of people smarter than I. I don't believe for a moment that there are no other principled and consistent individuals in the world. I happen to have friends that are all of these things: smart, principled and consistent. The problem is that these individuals seldom end up in positions where the wrong decisions screw up my life. It's the pragmatists, the compromisers, the world-improvers, the unprincipled yahoos who end up as politicians and enforcers, who make our lives hell.

Let's stop sitting on the fence. If you feel, as I do, that too many idiots make too many decisions that are bad for us, do something about it. Write letters to the editor. Join your local or national Libertarian Party. Write blog posts in defence of liberty. Hold politicians responsible. They fear more than anything else losing their status and power. Lobby against the dolts and the power-hungry maniacs who want to control you and your money.

The fence is no place to be. It is, in every sense, a pain in the ass to both the sitter and everyone else.


  1. Brilliant food for thought, here. I agree. Let's all start to be more decisive.

    I loved the song by Canadian rock band Rush that said
    "if you choose not to decide
    you still have made a choice."

    Called "Free Will," by the way.

  2. We are still ever gullible to the standard line "Oh, but you will dilute our party's chance to overcome the other one." Hopefully there is finally enough disillusionment for more than a few to take that chance, to at least send a message to those too-long established power brokers.

  3. That's a great song with the perfect sentiment expressed. The problem is, we may have free will, but if it means that 90% (or even 10%) of what we might wish to do is illegal, then we are basically free to choose slavery.

    I watched Ron Paul's recent appearance on Jay Leno and the old guy deports himself well. I'm thrilled that so many young people are supporters. Sadly, he may simply end up as just another footnote in American politics -- the only candidate who ran for President for two different political parties, whose voting record and adherence to the constitution was impeccable, but who still lost because too many citizens looked the other way.

  4. Amen, Sieg...Preach it!
    By damn, if I could find a woman that thought and acted as brilliantly as you do on this site, I wouldn't be single. These mealy-mouthed, spineless and scrotumless political animals are running (or is that ruining) the zoo and need to be run out, but folks just ain't got the sand, or refuse to manifest true grit if they do.
    And we're all getting our asses kicked because of it!

  5. I hear you, Galt, and thanks... There are too few Dagny Taggarts in the world and, while we're at it, too many Wesley Mouches. I liked some of Heinlein's heroines too -- bright, gutsy gals with raging libidos.

    The sad truth is that the human race, in areas that are reasonable affluent are seeking every form of instant gratification and are abdicating reason and responsibility. In areas that are still developing and are thus far from affluent, the preoccupation is survival at the most primal level.

    It's the complacency that is going to be the death or enslavement of us all.

  6. I really liked that last line of yours to your reply to Galt. I guess I never expected humanity at large to be so willing to abdicate their free will and freedoms for a few handouts. Colour me wrong and disillusioned.

  7. Lin: More and more Americans, Canadians, Europeans are leaving behind what they see as systems in decline and are moving to places that while they are more primitive, in some ways, there are more individual freedoms and certainly far fewer taxes. Of course, some brave souls like yourself repair to the American wilderness, where the excesses seen more so in developed areas are, at least, out of sight.

  8. I have noted this attitude prevalent among so many politicians.
    Needing votes so badly, they try to couch their words to please all constituents. We really, really do not need these people in elected offices. Thank you for putting out the Wake Up America call.

  9. What a wonderful post! First, you are too cute. Secondldy, "I don't like it when others think and speak for me" so mirrors my own thoughts that I must face how I taught my son to be the same way. How can I be frustrated with him for voicing himself when I taught him to do just that? You were sitting on a fence, briefly; I'm sitting on the horns of a dilmma. Sometimes I think I'm too good of a teacher, teaching him to be independent and think for himself so that now at 16 he doesn't feel the need for homework, or family time. :)

  10. Bellezza: I think that situation with your son will ultimately sort itself out. I taught my son much the same way -- think and act for yourself, be independent, don't be a follower. We then have to allow our kids the 'space' to do that. All I ask of my son is that when we differ on something, he act respectfully and that he present a cogent argument for his position. That doesn't always work out perfectly, of course, but we all try.

    Isn't raising kids grand? Lots of frustration along the way, but hopefully the payoff will eventually be having raised a decent and honourable human being.