This is a true story, which happened recently.
 
A young man finished high school and went to work for a company in the electronics business. He had a natural adept ability for the electronics field. A dedicated employee who worked long and hard, he applied his talents and in a few years rose up in the ranks of the company to a managerial position.
 
In the course of events, he purchased his own home, a house he restored and furnished with all the latest appliances and electronic gadgetry. Then he added a fish tank to his decor. Not one of those small fish bowls with a couple of gold fish, but a larger tank, operated by electricity to keep the water oxygenated for the fish.
 
Who doesn’t enjoy watching fish live, eat and play, swimming around all day in a fish tank?  The owner furnishes all their needs—food, air and comfort—and all they do is swim, eat and play.
 
Here in Georgia is the world’s largest fish aquarium, a facility that houses thousands of all kinds of fish from the largest whale to the smallest fish. An attraction draws millions from all over the world to come to Atlanta to visit this huge aquarium.
 
There is something about the life of a fish that is fascinating to us. Whether in the ocean or in captivity, they do not have to work for survival. Everyday they swim, play, eat and reproduce without any worries about their wants or needs.
 
Much about the life of human beings depends upon fish life, especially for food, but fish do not depend upon man unless taken out of their natural habitat, for whatever reason, but mostly for pleasure. Fish are colorful, alive and entertaining to watch.
 
The young man I mention, who bought a house and installed a fish tank, went to work as usual one day and returned to find the inside of his home totally destroyed and blackened with smoke. The structure of his home was still standing. The inside and furnishings had not burned down, but it was declared a total loss from a smoldering of black smoke that had slowly penetrated everything that day.
 
At first glance, this seemed a mystery. How could the inside of a house and all the furnishings and personal belongings be destroyed by smoke when there were no visible flames?  Apparently, there was an electrical shortage, which created a fire. However, as the fire heated the fish tank, the tank burst, and the water from the tank put out the flames and left the smoldering debris.  Since no one was home, this condition of smoldering continued all day until the owner upon his return home from work that evening discovered it.
 
The devastation from the smoldering was so extensive, nothing in the home was salvageable and the inside and all the contents were declared a total loss. The reality of this amazing story fascinated me. A rather tragic mishap no one could imagine because of owning a fish tank. In our wildest imagination, we cannot fathom the course of events that sometimes occur from the most innocent actions and decisions in our lives.
 
Fortunately, this story had a good ending because of the personal responsibility of a good insurance plan that restored the inside of the structure and covered the replacement of the personal property damage.
 
It’s a story I found so interesting, I began thinking about the analogy of the actuality to the current happenings and events in this country.

First off, in this year 2008, an election year, we listened to the political candidates’ debates and speeches, and the news pundits express their views on the politics of all of it. The one very pervasive area in the feeling and thinking of the American people is the concern and belief this once prosperous economy is tanking. This downward spiral has proven to be more than a feeling and a belief as this year ends. Reality has set in.
 
This feeling, concern and belief has been “smoldering” within individuals. That which has existed in a latent state, with no visible flame, has been smoldering and doing a lot of damage as we look back over the happenings in this country. Historical and recent events of economic disaster are so staggering we are left wondering, how did it all happen?
 
Like the electrical wiring to the fish tank that sustained the life of the fish and malfunctioned, the system that caused such prosperity in this great nation malfunctioned. That which furnished the life and energy to produce such greatness, malfunctioned. And the life force that propelled such greatness was freedom of the individual, the free enterprising system and the right to own private property.
 
The fire in the belly of the greedy power-mongers, the movers and shakers of socialism—a sinister force—has extinguished the fires of individual freedom and one’s inalienable right to private ownership of property. There is no great mystique as to why we have been smoldering. It’s a natural outcome and out-picturing of the system of thievery we have been reduced to endure. By a gun and threat of a gun, our property is taken without any apparent recourse. The smoldering is manifested in our suppressed feelings as we view the damage from an invisible fire and wonder who and how did it start.
 
As we enter another year in this first decade of the 21st century, we are only kidding ourselves if we say the economic future looks bright. It does not. If we think some elitist politician is going to magically lift us out of the smoldering embers, he cannot. If we think some magic bullet creating more paper money will somehow restore economic stability, it will not.
 
In just a few days, as we make New Year’s resolutions, are we going to continue this fantasy of that which does not, cannot and will not? Or will there come a time when as we view the smoldering embers of freedom and private ownership we will stop wondering how the fire started and admit that we have done it to ourselves?

We allowed it to happen by abandoning our responsibility of “eternal vigilance” or our freedom and well-being. We must remind ourselves that freedom is no “free lunch” but self-responsibility and self-control, no more and no less than just that.
 
We can only begin by cleaning up the debris from all the welfare programs, from welfare schools to banks and auto bailouts, and the long list—too many to mention—of government sponsored programs.
 
We can begin by admitting to ourselves we have all participated in the immoral system of legalized plunder operated by a political government and supported by all of us, to one degree or another, as citizens of this once great nation.
 
Just as the fire in the fish tank started by a malfunctioning electrical wire and extinguished by the tank of water, we as thinking human beings must turn the water hose of reason, rationale and morality onto the system of legalized thievery operated by a centralized political government.

We must begin by an admission that we abandoned self-government and surrendered our control over to a group of strangers thinking they could manage our affairs better than we as individuals could. We became irresponsible.
 
We became irresponsible by forgetting or refusing to accept the basic premise of the very fact that ownership of property always carries with it a responsibility. We were sold a bill of goods and bought into the notion that a greedy political stranger could manage our lives and property better than we could.

How did we arrive at such a foolish state? And do not kid yourself into believing it does not matter “how.” It’s essential to understand “how” to know the “why” and to somehow reach a conclusion as to “how” we are going to extricate ourselves from the current disastrous mess we are all in.
 
Freedom is not a groupie state of being. It is individual. We surrendered our individuality to collectivism and wound up in a collectivist welfare, socialist state of existence whereby a centralized group of strangers takes from all to give to a few. With doles and controls, and the threat of a gun, individual freedom and private property rights have been stripped away from the individual.
 
Where do we begin? The most important thing to do is begin. Decide whether you want freedom or bondage. “That’s elementary, dear Watson.”

Let Freedom Ring!

From “The Freedom Lady.”

JUST ME,
AC

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