Protecting the ones who pay the bills

One of the books I am currently reading is a biography of James Madison, penned by none other than Lynne Cheney (wife of the former Vice President). It is a fascinating read. Most well-written biographies of our Founders and Framers are. I am not yet a third of the way through, just now getting to the part where the Constitution is ratified.

James Madison was one of the writer of the Federalist Papers, written after the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in order to win support for the newly-framed document as it navigated the waters of ratification. One of the quotes that caught my attention asserts,

“[I]n Federalist 10 he emphasized the owning or not owning of property as a source of faction. A stable and just society required that property owners and creditors, though they be a minority, have governmental arrangements that protected their rights….”

In present-day parlance, government has the obligation to put the rights of the ones paying the bills ahead of the rights of those who are receiving “free” stuff. Except that’s not how it works anymore. Unfortunately, American society has devolved to the point that those receiving “free” stuff are allowed to dictate the terms, with the Democrat Party serving as the vehicle.

Take the Affordable Care Act. Republicans just won an election partly on the premise of repealing this behemoth. Democrats are hosting rallies in various cities where protestors are demanding that Donald Trump and the GOP not take away their health care. This is the victim class that is continually paraded around as justification for keeping the “free” stuff in place.

No thought is ever given to the family that just saw its health care premiums double or triple, with a corresponding decrease in benefits. No thought is ever given to the employees who have had their hours cut or entrepreneurs who have had to shutter their businesses because of the prohibitive cost of ObamaCare.

This is immoral. If you are a taxpayer who actually pays for the entitlement programs Democrats have dreamed up, your voice really ought to be heard before the voices of the ones who don’t pay. Even if the ones carrying the load are a minority, their rights and the products of their labor ought to come first. If you are a recipient and you don’t like this mindset, then figure out how you can become a producer. Otherwise, your voice ought to be heard last.

It turns out the Stoics have gotten a bad reputation

I stumbled upon a recent article in the UK Guardian regarding the ancient Stoics. I remember briefly learning about the Stoics in high school, probably when we read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar my sophomore year. About all we were told about the Stoics was that their philosophy told them not to get too optimistic during good times and not too pessimistic during hard times. And that was it. So I’ve always stereotyped the Stoics as being humorless, emotionless robots completely devoid of passion (sort of like your average liberal).

How wrong I was.

Stoicism is a school of philosophy which was founded in Athens in the early 3rd century and then progressed to Rome, where it became a pragmatic way of addressing life’s problems. The central message is, we don’t control what happens to us; we control how we respond.

The Stoics were really writing and thinking about one thing: how to live. The questions they asked were not arcane or academic but practical and real. “What do I do about my anger?” “What do I do if someone insults me?” “I’m afraid to die; why is that?” “How can I deal with the difficult situations I face?” “How can I deal with the success or power I hold?”

Leave it up to the foreign media to come up with a decent article. Also, soon to be added to my reading list is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.

Our vanishing veterans

A little more than 5 years ago, on February 27, 2011, a gentleman by the name of Frank Buckles died at the age of 110 years. He was the last living American veteran from World War I.

It has been sixty years since Albert Henry Woolson passed on at the age of 106 years. He died on August 2, 1956 and was the last undisputed veteran of the Civil War, having fought on the Union side.

Lemuel Cook was one of the last remaining Revolutionary War veterans when he passed on May 20, 1866 at 106 years. He lived long enough to be photographed as an old man. He was one of only four Revolutionary War veterans to witness both the start of that war and the end of the Civil War.

We are now quickly losing our World War II veterans. A man who turned 18 in 1945, the year that war ended, will be turning 90 years old next year.

And our Vietnam War veterans are the age my grandparents were when I was a child. (I am now 46.) A man who turned 18 in 1975, the year we pulled our last troops out of Vietnam, turns 60 next year.

Gulf War veterans are now my age. Although we aren’t disappearing yet in large numbers, thankfully, we are old enough to be parents of grown children, and some of us are no doubt becoming grandparents.