Monday, July 04, 2011
GOD SHED HIS GRACE. If you're smart like me, you'll relate to this experience. Ideas are constantly bouncing in, out, and around my head. Memories, schemes, songs, jokes, raw concepts, violent revenge fantasies, depraved sexual scenarios involving women I've just passed in the street, soul-rendering imaginary contacts with The Divine, all kinds of mental stuff. And with all that stuff ricocheting in a thousand directions a minute, these ideas are bound to smash into each other from time to time. And combine.
Sometimes these combinations are silliness; two words that land next to each other on my mental soundtrack. "Ketchup nipple." Ew. Ha ha. Sometimes they're more complex. Sex robot documentary I watched last night + Mad Max flashback from when I watched it three months ago + observation of the proliferation of dull but physically attractive women I made six weeks ago + memory out of nowhere of a paragraph on the ethics of brain transplants I read almost two decades ago = best movie idea ever DIBS BACK OFF.
But once in a while, once in a blue ass moon, an idea is simple AND brilliant. Last night, it was 4th of July + New Years Resolutions.
Thank this video. It shot unbidden into my forebrain as I was trying to hash out an Independence Day post.
(incidentally, the Boss's resolutions from Chinese New Year are identical. Especially the "E" mail thing. Don't get me started)
We already have more than one New Year. There's regular New Year, then you've got your Fiscal New Years, and there's even a Chinese New Year, which is the cheap lead-enpoisoned knockoff of real New Year. Why not a... Freedom New Year? Liberty New Year? Prerogative New Year? Does prerogative work as an adjective? It's got "tive" right there at the end, like an adjecTIVE should.
I think Civic New Year is the winner. An occasion for every American to reaffirm his committent to the founding principle of his republic: Self-Determination.
The Foundation for Economic Education has an excellent checklist of things you can do every day to advance the cause of liberty.
____ I raised it in a conversation and hopefully turned on a light in at least one person’s mind
____ I defended it when it was challenged by error
____ I improved my own knowledge of the literature of liberty so as to become a better advocate
____ I recommended a good article, book or film that advances values consistent with a free and civil society
____ I sent a personal check to an organization I know to be working for the advancement of liberty ideas
____ I resisted temptation to subvert liberty by accepting something from government that didn’t belong to me
____ I took action to clean up my own act so that I can be a solid exemplar of the virtues necessary for a free society to flourish
____ I told at least one of my representatives that if he or she ever voted for more government again, I would pull out all the stops to see him or her defeated in the next election
____ I told my college or university alma mater that if they didn’t start hiring faculty who know how to present and defend the case for free enterprise, they’ll never, ever get another dime from me
Glenn Reynolds had a similar idea for this Fourth, insofar we ought to plan to defend freedom, instead of just celebrating it. He's only thought in the short term-- which is absolutely fine, and great, and necessary, don't get me wrong. But we shouldn't save this kind of watchfulness for emergencies. As Jefferson famously said (maybe not famously enough), "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." That vigilance doesn't have to be never-ending panic and paranoia and worry. It just has to be consistent. An open ear. A ready eye. And once a year, a renewal, a refreshing, and a rededication.
It's what we owe to those who paid the last full measure. They wanted us to live free. Why don't we understand that?
Civic New Year's Resolutions. I'm making mine now.