Saturday, January 26, 2013

Essay Contest Submission by Pam Fredericks

"How do Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans?"

Liberty or Death

by Pam Fredericks

            Although Patrick Henry's famous statement, "Give me liberty or give me death," was made at the Virginia Convention to persuade Virginia to send troops to the Revolutionary War, it is a profound statement about the human spirit and illustrates the ideals conservative principles are founded.

            The United States of America was founded upon valid conservative principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, personal responsibility, hard work, pride in accomplishment, and the idea that government should protect its citizens freedom of choice and the ability to pursue dreams. Under conservative principles, government empowers the citizens to solve their own problems. We need empowerment not entitlement. We need accountability not blame.

            Responsible use of our liberty and freedom results in something powerful. This power to choose, complimented with the ability to work and produce, leads to happiness and prosperity. Liberty is the power to control our own actions and therefore some of life's natural consequences. The most important right we have is the power to choose and when that is taken, we are left helpless and hopeless. It is the most basic and individual right and privilege. This ability to act for oneself, possessed by all Americans,  is what drives the human spirit.

            Would a lack of liberty produce the drastic consequences to which Patrick Henry  eluded?  The answer is a resounding, "Yes"! It may not always mean death to the body, but definitely a death to the soul. Being in the chains of tyranny is what produced such strong ambitions in the early patriots, including Patrick Henry who would rather have died if his freedoms and liberties were not recalled. He was not asking for liberty, he was demanding it. Being in symbolic chains of tyranny or anarchy do produce such strong feelings. Ask any teenager who's parents have taken away their ability to choose or used force to get them to comply, and most would respond with a dramatic, "I would rather die then do what you say"! What causes such rebellion? Often it's because they feel they do not  have any control in their lives. This idea of being told what to do, is like telling someone what their favorite color is. We can force actions but we cannot force convictions.

            Happiness is a state of well being, a frame of mind, a feeling of contentment. Wanting to die rather than comply,  due to lack of power and choice, is not contentment. The pursuit of happiness requires the freedom of choice and the power over our lives. Without this the American spirit can suffer a loss of dignity, honor, and self-respect. With pursuit of happiness, human endeavor can lead to prosperity. Prosperity is a feeling of success, an action of thriving, and spirit of well-being.

            Conservative principles impact the happiness and prosperity of all Americans because these principles are based upon fundamental values and have an affect on the human spirit, heart, and mind. These principles can be applied to all areas of government. It does not matter if you are Democrat or Republican, young or old, male or female,  everyone deserves the opportunity to choose for themselves how to direct their life as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of another. The only thing we're entitled to is freedom and the ability to act for ourselves in order to pursue our own ambitions and dreams.

            Alternative to conservative principles are liberal policies based on their belief of equality and that government should be responsible to provide equality for all. These policies also believe that government should guarantee no one is in need and that government should be responsible to solve all of our problems. With this attitude, there is no accountability to the individual for their choices, status, and well-being. This idea has become entrenched in society and people are adopting the belief that problems are always someone else's fault or dilemma to worry about and solve. This attitude is detrimental to all Americans. The idea of government running everything looks good on the surface and can appear very tempting and reassuring. However, this false assumption that loss of care and freedom to direct our own lives is not only vital to our prosperity and happiness, it is doomed for failure. If all Americans would accept that truth, we would catapult our country into a whirlwind of positive change for everyone. We would stop competing, complaining, and criticizing.

            History is replete with examples of governments who tried to operate on the false premise of control and the theory that people existed for the government and not that the government existed for the people. Big governments that attempt to be all things to all people have in the past and will continue to bring down entire societies, mired by war, poverty, and failure. True happiness, prosperity, personal accountability, and dignity are the casualties of liberal policies.

            Our country is being weakened by the paradox of a strong government as the politics define it. More and more of the citizens are losing passions and convictions for personal liberty once possessed by men such as Patrick Henry, and have become dulled to their individual responsibilities, which build strong, productive, healthy and happy, families, neighborhoods, towns, counties, states, and the United States of America, the greatest country in the world. Too many are willing to hand over their personal liberty in exchange for a hand out and that someone else should and will take care of them.

            The conservative principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, personal responsibility, hard work, pride in accomplishment, and the idea that government should protect its citizens, uphold the unchanging reality that all Americans are the creators of our own happiness and prosperity. These principles provide for the highest standard of living for the most people the world has ever known.  Let us continue to work hard to uphold them and have that fighting spirit Patrick Henry displayed during some of our country's most inspirational moments in time.

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