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Welcome back my friends and thank you for taking the time to read this edition of Wilksopinion! You might be asking yourself, what the hell is this title that contradicts itself? Soon, you will understand what I mean. At least some of you will, and others will chose to remain vigilant in their current mindset, and that is fine, because we have to be tolerant of differing opinions. What we cannot be is militant and belligerent in our attempts to shame others for their opinions and beliefs. For a little more on tolerating other people’s beliefs and opinions, check out the latest DerateTheHate.com Podcast “Perpetually Offended” or search for Derate The Hate wherever you get your podcasts.
Our country was founded by geniuses and fought for by warriors who knew that liberty, above all things, was the most important thing that an individual must strive for in this world. Those geniuses pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for the cause of individual liberty knowing if they did not succeed, not only would they be killed, but the lives of countless numbers of their fellow countrymen would be lost as well. In the forming of this great nation, after the initial dust had settled, those geniuses developed a constitutional republic based on the tenants of Federalism. Explaining that in depth is beyond the scope of this writing, but to sum it up in a few words, our founders understood that the government the governs closest, governs best, and local governments, instead of an all powerful centralized “Federal” government, was the best way to ensure the individual could maintain as much individual liberty as possible.
Fast forward to today. We are no longer governed by geniuses, but in many cases around our country, we are being ruled by power hungry career politicians &/or ideological idiots. I keep hearing people call these bureaucrats “our leaders”, but people seem to have forgotten that these people work for us. They are not to lead us or rule over us. We are not subjects that are beholden to a king or aristocracy, we are supposed to be free individuals that take pride in the liberty that so many have fought and died for. I never thought I’d live to see the day when so many of my fellow countrymen would so willingly surrender their individual liberties.
I know, there is a very scary virus that is killing people. The main stream media is doing their best 24/7 to scare the holy hell out of everyone and shame anyone who dares question their authority. They are doing what they do best and trying to pit Americans against one another instead of working toward any viable solution. Social media is an absolute dumpster fire of misinformation doing the same, when they are not inhibiting opinions and beliefs with which they do not agree and infringing upon the rights of their political adversaries. The virus is very real, and I do not think that is up for debate, and it is scary for the very small percentage of the most vulnerable among us that are in grave danger of dying because of it. What I do believe though is that reasonable people can disagree on the way it is being handled.
I, for one, am a die hard believer in individual liberty. Patrick Henry said it best in his address to the Second Virginia Convention in March of 1775, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”. I believe it is an absolute travesty, and a slap in the face to our founders, what has happened with the state’s responses to this virus, and the willingness of so many to so freely give up their individual liberty. For the first time in our nations history, do we have full statewide lock-downs and quarantines of healthy people. There are, without question areas that needed to be locked down and quarantined, but we are not only a country of diverse people, but a country of diverse states, and within the states there are geographic regions that vary to large degrees in how they are made up. The state in which I live, Minnesota, is hugely diverse, not only in population, but in the geographical differences. Our dimwit governor, who himself is a leftist ideologue, talks a good game in many respects, but acts as if this whole state is one big neighborhood drinking from the same trough. Nothing could be further from the truth! The people in Sabeka, MN have little more in common with the folks in Minneapolis or St Paul than the letters after the comma on the bills they have to pay. Our neighbors to the west in the great state of South Dakota have not had to endure nearly the intrusions upon their liberties as the great people in Minnesota, and they are not nearly as worse for the wear.
This whole thing will be Monday-morning quarterbacked for decades, maybe even generations to come, but I do believe it will go down as one of the biggest overreactions in American history, maybe even human history. I believe in social distancing, and I believe if given guidance and good information that most people will try to do the right thing without having their individual liberties stripped and trampled upon. I remember several weeks ago they were saying “give us 2 weeks to flatten the curve so we can better prepare our healthcare facilities. Thousands will die, (they were saying 22,000 at the time for Minnesota alone), but give us 2 weeks to slow the spread.” That was nearly 8 weeks ago and nothing close to that has come to fruition, (thank God), but the rights of everyone and the livelihoods of so, so many have been completely destroyed. Many power-hungry politicians throughout the country have gotten a taste for extreme control & they have loved it, devoured it and are excited for more.
There is no question heavily populated areas like New York City, Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis/St Paul have been hit hard, but there is no logical reason on God’s green earth that the people and businesses in out state New York, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota should have been treated the way they have been for the past couple months. This is not the way the government that governs closest, governs best. These governors should be ashamed, but they are not. They are drunk on power and they are digging it. People, as free individuals, demand your governor open up the outer parts of your state, coordinate with your counties and local municipalities, have faith that the people of your state can handle themselves and they should not be treated like subjects.
There you have it folks, as I said in the title, Close is Best, Just Keep your Distance!
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I had made a comment on a local news feed article in social media the other day that sparked a little outrage from someone who’s obviously of a different mindset than I am. In a way, based on the stuff he was saying, I believe our mindsets couldn’t be further apart if we were on different planets. You see, at a time when our country is faced with the virus pandemic that we are, it should be a coming together moment, but in many ways, it is driving people further apart, and needlessly so.
The news, partially local, but mostly national, have been working hard as they always do to instill fear in the masses. The old saying, “if it bleeds it leads” has never been more strongly in play, and instead of focusing on the dozens upon dozens of thousands of people who have recovered from the virus, many with little or no symptoms, every headline reads “XXX more dead from Covid-19” or something of the like. Social media is a virus in and of itself in that everyone with a mobile device that can access the internet is posting things and theories of all sorts whether they are fact checked, verified for any kind of accuracy or not, and it becomes a vicious cycle of misinformation. There are many among us who still believe that if you get this virus it’s a death sentence, which is nowhere close to the truth for the vast majority of those who will become infected.
In addition to the misinformation spread far and wide, with what we’re facing being what should be a coming together moment as stated earlier, peoples’ political ideologies are weaponized in a way that is just shameful. If it comes from someone from this side or that, it’s obviously a lie because “he” said it, or the intentions are bad because “she is trying to do this”, blah, blah, blah… Seriously, WTF is wrong with some of these people? Anyone who has read any of the things that I have written, probably understands which side of the isle I come from politically, but this virus should not be treated in any way as political. I want to be very clear on one thing, as I try to be in all matters, I am firmly on the side of individual liberty, period. This leads back to the back and forth I referred to at the beginning of this writing.
I had made a comment something to the effect that “when the final numbers come in, don’t forget to thank your favorite politician for saving your life when they are patting themselves on the back later because the numbers will be far, far less than any of the so called models or experts predicted” The statement was made because, while any deaths for any reason are tragic, it is very obvious to me, and as more information about this virus comes to light, I believe most people will see as well, that the government’s reaction to this will have been the biggest overreaction to anything in human history, and the number of lives and businesses destroyed, both here and abroad, will be far greater, and have much more deleterious consequences than the virus itself. While that may sound a bit presumptive, and to some maybe even harsh, my greater concern is the overbearing infringement upon the individual civil liberties that many state and local governments are engaged in.
In that back and forth, I was then accused of putting “money over lives”, to which I replied that I did not place “money” over life, but I did in fact place “liberty” over life. Patrick Henry said it best in 1775 when he said “give me liberty, or give me death”. You see our founders understood it better than anyone, that there is inherent risk in individual liberty, but without liberty, everything else is irrelevant. Our governments of our individual states have taken unprecedented actions to infringe upon the liberties of the individual, actions that stand in complete contrast to the founding of this nation. Nowhere within the constitution can the words be found, “all this individual liberty stuff goes out the window if some scary virus starts endangering people”. And just to be clear, the constitution was written to restrict the powers of the government, not grant rights to the people so we do have that. Our rights, as understood by our founders are natural and given by God, and are not to be infringed upon by government.
While everyone is bickering about the best way to open our economy back up, what the best way to do this or that, or when we can let people get back to living as normal, please remember this: just because we may not agree on the best way to do it, does not mean we have to tear each other apart because our ideas differ from one another’s. Neither I, nor the majority of the rest of the people who want to see government get out of the way of things going back to normal are trying to place money over lives. Reasonable people can disagree on what should be done, but ultimately, it has to be liberty that wins the day, because without individual liberty, the United States of America ceases to exist as founded, and as the greatest nation that was ever created.
Lives, Money and Liberty are not mutually exclusive. Working toward preserving one should not lead to accusations of lack of concern for the others. There must be a balanced approach, understanding that there are inherent risks with everything in life, and the risks associated with liberty may be somewhat greater, but I would never choose the alternative!
May God bless our nation in these troubled times, may he give those making decisions that affect so many the guidance they need to do their jobs well.
Please, treat others with kindness, even if they don’t believe or do things as you would. And lastly, please remember, it is ultimately up to you to make each day what you want it to be, because you cannot control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.
Unless you just came out of a coma in the last couple days, you’ve probably noticed our country is facing something unlike anything it’s ever faced before. You might think I’m talking about the Covid-19 Coronavirus, and yes, that is partially what I’m writing about today, but what is truly unprecedented is the action taken by our government in this extraordinary time of crisis. This is truly unlike anything that has taken place since the founding of our country and more specifically since our constitution was written. We now find ourselves at what I believe may be a turning point, and one that is most likely not for the good, no matter how good the intentions behind what is currently taking place in our country.
A phrase that most people have heard a time or plenty, and a principle that I can vouch for personally through several personal life experiences, is “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. This is the primary reason that I subscribe to the political philosophy that I do, and also live by the motto, “I make decisions based on logic and common sense vs. feelings and emotions”. Peoples’ emotions, rather than logic and proven results for certain actions, often drive their decision making process and as such, with the purest of intentions, bad and often harmful results are the product of said actions. I believe we are now faced, as a country, with the most crucial and critical of circumstances, and I’m afraid that what is happening may result in a precedent that will forever be to our detriment, though at this very moment it seems like it is the right thing to do, because it “feels” right.
What am I talking about you might ask? Well, setting aside what I already stated individuals should have done preceding this global crisis, (see Government is Not Your Daddy) , we are now faced with a situation where our individual liberties, that are supposed to be protected by the constitution, are being “temporarily” suspended by the government that is supposed to uphold that constitution. Thankfully, up to this point, our President has not federalized a stay in place order, or overstepped the bounds of the federal government, but has backed up the state governments in their requests in every way possible. This concept of federalism is lost on far too many these days, but is exactly the way it’s supposed to be by design. Ironically, many of this president’s biggest critics, who are constantly making baseless claims that this president is a fascist dictator like figure, are the same ones calling for the president to use the force and power of the federal government in a way that it was never intended, to dictate the actions of, and restrict the liberties of the individual. We are not a country, and were never designed nor intended to have an all-powerful, top down federal government.
With that said, mark my words when I say, the unprecedented actions of our state governments in this extraordinary time of crisis, or God forbid if the federal government steps in and begins to do the same, may be a means to an end for this temporary nightmare we are all living in at this moment in time, but may unleash a monster the likes of which liberty loving individuals will pray they never met.
My whole adult life I’ve watched as power hungry politicians describe this event, or that crisis, or some made up boogey man as an “existential threat”. This type of hyperbole is primarily one sided, but not completely exclusive to one party. Examples of “existential threats” include, but are not by a long-shot limited to, ozone layer depletion, our dependence on fossil fuels, our dependence on foreign oil, our dependence on coal, greenhouse gas emissions, global cooling, global warming, Donald Trump, capitalism, socialism, etc., etc… The list goes on and on, and politicians love to keep people in fear because it keeps them in power. Rahm Emanuel once said “never let a good crisis go to waste”, and a sitting Democrat US Senator recently said something to the effect of “the covid-19 crisis is an opportunity for us to push things in the direction we want to govern” when discussing one of the covid-19 relief bills. Very little, in fact almost nothing, scares me, but to quote Ronald Reagan, one of the scariest phrases any freedom loving American will ever here is, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
I can wrap up all I’ve said in this writing by making this point. Today, over 200 million Americans are under mandatory stay-at-home orders to be enforced by some local or state government body, for your, mine and our own good. Today it is a virus, and the merits of such an order can be debated until the cows come home, but if you believe that this is the last time our liberties as individuals will be inhibited in this way, for our own good, or the good of the collective, I’ve got some oceanfront property to sell you in southern Minnesota. We just have to wait to go see it until the governor says it’s OK…
I’ve heard a lot of parents with high school seniors lately worried that this “lockdown” due to the Covid-19 coronavirus will ruin their kid’s senior year. I know that things like hanging out with friends, dances, sports and the like will be severely hampered, but, is that really what high school is all about? I mean, I definitely get the whole social aspect of those events, but what if we look at this from a different angle, what if we look at this as an opportunity to do something that many attending public high schools rarely do? What if we were to think a little outside the box and take some of this social distancing time to actually gain some wisdom?
One must first acknowledge, and then understand, that knowledge is much different than wisdom. To break it down to its most basic form, knowledge is knowing that water boils at 212 degrees, wisdom is knowing not to stick your hand in boiling water… I’ve known plenty of very knowledgeable, (smart) people in my life that were dumb as a stump when it came to common sense, lacking any real wisdom. Once one acknowledges that smart does not equal wise, one is on the way to wisdom.
What I am about to give you may be the most valuable advice you may ever obtain in your lifetime, but in order for it to be of value, you must not only take the information given, but absorb the information and implement it in your life knowing that your future depends on it. Generally wisdom comes with time. For some, it takes a lifetime of mistakes, many of which are made time and time again, but for others, there is a shortcut. This does not mean you will not make, and hopefully learn from those mistakes, but you can fast-track some of the learning. It really comes down to knowing what books to read.
I have often said that there are a handful of books that if made mandatory for high school curriculum, we could drastically change for the better the trajectory of the future for young adults everywhere. I’m not going to get into full book reviews in this writing, that may come later, but in my opinion, if read and implemented, the principles within the following books will forever change your life for the better…
This is not an all-inclusive list as to the best books to change the trajectory of your life, but I can promise you, without hesitation, that if you read these 5 books, and implement the wisdom and principles found within them, your future will be a much, much better place. I only wish that someone had provided me with this list 20 years earlier. Thank you for visiting Wilksopinion.com, and hopefully this post has provided that fork in the road that leads you to a greater destination…
Imagine if you would, for just a second, a country where everyone took the initiative to have an emergency fund. Not an extreme amount of money necessarily, like for a catastrophic illness or injury, that is what insurance is for, which everyone should have as well, but an emergency fund that you kept in an account, or under your mattress maybe, that could help you pay the bills for 3 to 6 months in the event of some unforeseen circumstance? When I say unforeseen circumstance, I mean a layoff, your employer goes out of business, or maybe some wild virus from somewhere you’ve never been starts to sweep the whole planet and your representative government decides to crash the economy as a preventative measure for your own good?
I’m not writing this to debate the validity of the bill currently being debated by all the bureaucrats in congress, or all the people that are very much in need of the assistance that said funding bill would provide. I am writing this in the hopes that it will possibly make people realize the importance, now more than ever, of a personal emergency fund to keep you whole in the event of a mess like the one we currently see ourselves in. The tragedy our country is currently facing will be Monday morning quarterbacked for generations, but in reality, if each of you reading this had your financial house in order, can you imagine what a different narrative it would be amongst all the talking heads? Instead of everyone fighting over how the deck chairs are organized as the Titanic is sinking, they may be contemplating punishing those who allowed it to happen instead of running cover for a communist regime or better yet, focusing on the important question of how to prevent such a tragedy in the first place?
Much of what I’m about to say may be unpopular with some, and I’m sure it will be offensive to those who tend to be offended by everything else anyway, but the fact of the matter is, you should not be depending on the government to send you a check to get you through the hard times, Government is not your Daddy! As nationally syndicated talk show host, real estate investor and financial advisor Dave Ramsey always says (paraphrasing), you should live on less than you make, build an emergency fund of 3 to 6 months of your living expenses, and strive to live a debt free life. Can you just imagine how much of a difference this global tragedy would be, and how differently it would be affecting our country currently if this was practiced by you, your neighbors, and the vast majority of your fellow Americans? Instead, the vast majority of us live beyond our means, buying stuff we don’t need to impress people we don’t like (again, something I heard from Dave Ramsey). With that said, so many of our fellow Americans are left incredibly unprepared for the most minor of tragedies, let alone a catastrophic national, or worse, global event. This is not the fault of your neighbor, or your community, or your state or federal government, this starts with you and can be fixed by you, and must begin with you making a commitment.
I’m not trying to call anyone out, or say that living this way makes you a bad person, because it does not. I lived most of my life this way, and I don’t see myself as a bad person. I can tell you this though, I’m not looking for a check from the government right now to keep me whole though, and I’m thankful for that. I chose not to live that way anymore. If there has ever been a time for people to do some self-reflection, and think about how things could be different by making some different choices, maybe now is that time. Maybe this tragedy can be used for some good, maybe it’s time for a little personal reset, a paradigm shift when it comes to your financial housekeeping? Maybe next time, it won’t be a matter of hoping some far-away bureaucrat votes the right way to get you a check, because remember, THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT YOUR DADDY…
Propane Engines | Successful Farming
Hello and thank you for visiting Wilksopinion.com. Regrettably, it has been quite some time since my last post, but between working in excess of 70 hours a week on the road, health issues, and working on the completion of my bachelor’s degree, time has been scarce.
Folks, we find ourselves facing one of the most crucial elections of our lifetime, not simply because of the candidates we are asked to choose from, but because we are faced with two drastically different ideals in direction for the future of the United States of America. On one hand, you have the current president, Barak Obama, whose vision includes a larger, more centralized government approach, redistribution of earnings, and what he terms as “Shared Prosperity”. On the other hand, you have Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan, who subscribe to a more traditional approach of free markets, state’s rights (federalism), and individual liberty where an individual is able to achieve as much as their abilities, talents, and initiative will allow, and keep as much of the fruits of their labor as possible.
If you will recall, in his 2008 campaign, Barak Obama boasted, “we are 5 days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America”. Is a fundamental transformation of the greatest, most charitable, most freedom enhancing nation in human history what we needed &/or wanted, or should it have been a return to the principles that this nation was founded upon that our great nation was in need of? You see, I do not believe that Barak Obama even understands what it was that made our county so unique and exceptional, and while I believe that Mr. Obama could very well be the most leftist president in US history, it could have been anyone from the left (Reid, Pelosi, Biden, Gore, Kerry, Edwards), because it is the policies and ideals from the left that are so damaging, not the person.
When Barak Obama talks about “Shared Prosperity”, what does that really mean? It means, he has a vision of material equality for all people, by whatever means necessary. This is why he so adamantly uses the politics of envy when addressing the public. He is in essence saying, “look at your neighbor, he has more than you do and that just isn’t right!”. Now, I think all reasonable people can agree that it would be nice for all people to have all things, having all their wants and needs met with a reasonable amount of effort, but that just isn’t how things work in the real world, and to try to force the situation goes against the very essence of human nature. There will always be some with more talent, drive, initiative, and also luck than others, and to take punitive action against people possessing these qualities in an effort to enhance the lives of those who do not has and always will have many deleterious effects. This does not mean, and NOBODY (even republicans despite the demagoguery from the left) is suggesting that we do not have a safety net for those who are truly incapable of taking care of themselves. The stone cold and hard to swallow fact is, there will always be some who win and some who lose, and any attempt to distort this fact is a lie no matter what the intentions.
The problem is the way the poisonous policies & ideals of the left play out in real life. While those on the left claim to be the party of compassion, and I do believe that most of them have good intentions, the idea that you can take from those who have and give to those who do not without any repercussions is simply false, and that is wildly obvious by the abysmal failure that is the war on poverty in this country. This has led to such a sense of entitlement amongst many people in this country that we are rapidly approaching a tipping point when it comes to the number of people on government assistance. This administration has doubled the number of people on food stamps, having removed any kind of stigma associated with taking government handouts, and still has the audacity to run ads promoting and encouraging the use of said handouts. I also constantly hear taxpayer-funded “public service announcements” about children that are hungry and the only meals they get are the free meals they receive in school. How could this be people? How is it that food stamp rolls have doubled under this president, yet we still have children in this country that now are receiving 3 free meals a day at school, including summer months? This is very troubling, yet I never hear democrats wanting to address the issue of how we got here, only that we must throw more money at it. Throwing more money at the situation does absolutely nothing to cure the problem, but merely treats a symptom of the bigger problem, and I would contend that perpetuates the root cause of what ails the system. I can’t remember who said it, but to paraphrase, “a job is the best anti-poverty program”, and during this administration’s failure of a recession recovery (slowest economic recovery in post-WWII history), job creation has not even kept pace with population increase.
What we have here folks, is an administration that promotes and encourages a system of government dependence in search of material equality in the name of compassion. This administration is forcing people through the back door of bondage, by convincing them that they can have things they can not afford, that it is the fault of those who have more, and that because of their good nature, they will right the wrongs by taking by force from those who have and giving it to them. I was talking to a good friend the other day, and while she was registering her kids for school, they were trying diligently to convince her to sign them up for free/reduced lunch program. Although she declined, deciding that she would make some sacrifices to pay her own way, she told me of a local attorney’s wife who was there applying, because “she said she could”. What happened to a time in this country when, just because you can, does not mean that you should? I have also experienced, and have heard first hand countless similar stories of being in line at a grocery store, seeing another customer using EBT, using no sense of frugality in their purchases, and being dressed in more expensive fashion, having a better cell phone, or driving a nicer vehicle than that of people who choose to support themselves.
All of this leads me to my greater point, and that is, when you work for, or apply your talents and your initiative to earn the fruits of your labor, not only does it give you a sense of achievement, but it makes you appreciate things much more, builds your sense of self-worth, increases your drive & initiative, and makes you a more frugal and fiscally responsible member of society.This in turn puts everyone on a much more even playing field in the marketplace without penalizing those who are doing more in an (intentional or unintentional) effort to enslave people to government dependence. Having the government take from some and give to others brings great distortion to the marketplace, and ultimately, it is all consumers who pay the greatest price.
Food stamps are only one of many such examples, and the new healthcare law (Obamacare) is another, which will be, if left to implementation, the largest, most damaging entitlement program of our lifetime. Just as with the abuses of the food stamp program, when you remove the “cost to customer” factor in purchasing a product in the marketplace, people have no regard for the cost of what they are purchasing, demand more than what they would ever receive otherwise. Market distortions, price controls and rationing ensue, overall productivity is decreased, and ultimately everyone receives equally miserable products and services… Material equality….
The government can not continue to pick winners and losers in the marketplace, as it will continue to cause deleterious distortions in the marketplace and our economy. It is our duty as citizens to stand up against these practices. Continuing to take more disproportionately from the more productive members of our society, and to continue saddling the coming generations with insurmountable debt in an effort to give people what the government can not afford is morally reprehensible. This administration’s undying effort to encourage and enslave people to a life of entitlement & dependence upon an ever-growing centralized government is the antithesis of our founding and what has made this the most prosperous, freedom enhancing, and charitable nation in human history.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan may not be your ideal ticket, but there is an undoubtedly intense contrast between their idea of what America is supposed to be and once was, and what Barak Obama is trying to “fundamentally transform” America into. We did not get here overnight, and it will not be an overnight fix, but we must return to the principles of individual liberty, free markets, federalism and, freedom for this greatest nation on earth, and I believe that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can get us on solid footing and started down that path.
Thank you for visiting Wilksopinion.com and God bless America!!