“[M]ake it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” – Voltaire
Recently, I was asked by an ambitious hardworking man how I envisioned the unfolding of the rest of my life. What did I want to accomplish in the next 20 years? My answer was prompt and simple: I want to continue living with my husband on our farm, work our woodcraft business, finish raising our children, continue raising our livestock and garden, do a little freelance writing, look forward to future grandchildren and enjoy a nice glass of wine on a sunny evening.
My questioner persisted: Didn’t I want to accomplish great things, become powerful and earn the salary of a millionaire?
I gave a snort of laughter. What would I do with a million dollars? And I meant that in a very literal sense: honestly, what would I do with money like that? I wouldn’t have any use for it. I do not long for a mansion, or fancy cars, or a designer wardrobe, or jewelry, any of the material trappings that are normally associated with wealth. So what would I do with a million dollars?
Bottom line: My life is content, and my ambition is bounded by the corners of our 20-acre homestead. My “wants” are simple: pay off our mortgage, fund our children’s higher education ambitions, maybe paint the house. I don’t need or want a million dollars. And most of all, I do not want power. At all. Ever.
You see, I am one of those quiet and unassuming souls who believes that happiness is best achieved from within, not without. My pursuit of happiness can be achieved right here and now. When I finally go to meet my Maker, I want it said that I was content to work with my hands, earn the respect of outsiders and not be dependent on anybody.
And that is why I am always left sputtering with disbelief whenever I witness someone plagued by an insane lust for power.
I believe power-lust is a type of madness, a mental illness. To those so afflicted, the “pursuit of happiness” means keeping everyone else in miserable enslavement through forced compliance with irrational edicts and laws.
There are many people afflicted with this illness, and almost without exception they make the lives of everyone around them a living hell. But here’s the thing: Most individuals do not have the means to COERCE others to comply with their wishes, to bring people to their knees in forced homage. No matter how much Bill Gates may want me to buy his software, I’m free to decline. Without a means of enforcing its will, no individual, no business and no organization can make me a slave.
It should be clear that the exception is the government. When MY pursuit of happiness clashes with THEIR pursuit of power, they win. Only government personnel (and other criminal enterprises) have the power to force someone to do something they don’t want to do. This force is backed up with firepower. History shows that governments can and have killed people for no other reason than a lust for power.
There is a deep chasm of comprehension between the power-mad and the power-indifferent. Neither one of us can understand the other. Hillary Clinton, for example, could never live the life I do. She would hate every quiet, simple, peaceful moment of it. Similarly, I could never live like her. I would hate every stressful, screaming, profanity-filled moment of it.
The difference is, as a powerful person she can boss me around through legislation. She can sic men with guns on me. She can take my money. She can take my farm. She can even take my life (what difference does it make?) without a qualm of conscience. That’s what government can do.
For many years, our nation was the bastion of individual liberty. Oh, the power-lusters were there (they’ve always been with us, like vermin), but except for occasional “victories,” they were always defeated. This is because the quiet, silent majority – those who cherished real freedom of choice – always stood up and demanded liberty over tyranny.
So what’s a poor dictator to do? Those annoying shopkeepers, factory workers and farmers keep bleating for liberty and getting in the way of autocracy. How can they effectively be silenced and brought to their knees?
The latest answer, it seems, is to engineer the destruction of the middle class. By creating more poverty out of a formerly prosperous and independent-minded group, the government creates more dependent people, which transfers more power to the government.
As one person put it, “Electricity. Heating fuel. Vehicle fuel. Food. Medical care. Education. Taxes. Regulations. Braid them all together and you have the rope to hang a previously thriving middle America.”
The vast majority of Americans do not trust their government. Congress has some of the lowest approval ratings in history. Yet our (cough) “representatives” – through chicanery, trickery, outright lies and the ever-present threat of force – continue to burden us down with things we do not want or need (Obamacare, anyone?). The concept of representatives “serving” us is now laughed at openly in the halls of Congress. This is the kind of “change” that is sweeping America into the dust heap.
What stands in the way of total victory are the quiet, unassuming Real Americans who have no interest or inclination to submit to the powerful. We who cherish liberty are antithetical to those who lust for power. We stand in the way of their ultimate dominance, so they must bulldoze over us and eliminate us.
To do this, the power-mad are pitting one group against another, creating phony crises to distract and confuse, convincing a large part of the population that rights are bestowed by government rather than God, and normalizing perversions.
So once again we quiet folk, the ones who just want to be left alone, must stand up. To paraphrase Tolkien, the times we live in are not for us to choose. Our only choice is to decide what to do with the time that is given us.
We must choose to stand up.
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