Monday, November 4, 2013

A Story About Peaceful Coexistence

By, Chris Rossini

New York Times columnist, Tom Friedman, describes what he has learned in his travels:
Having lived and worked abroad for many years, I’m sensitive to the changing ways that foreigners look at America. Over the years, I’ve seen an America that was respected, hated, feared and loved.
Looks like a couple of innocent sentences, right?

Wrong! I have a big problem with those sentences. And to explain the problem, I've created a simple story below:

"Hey buddy, I'm from ABC Surveys. I'm asking random people from Pennsylvania a few simple questions. Do you have a minute?"

"Sure, go ahead"

"Ok, great. As a Pennsylvanian, how do you feel about the people of Nebraska?"

"How do I feel?....What do you mean?"

"The you respect, hate, fear, or love them?"

"I have to be honest with you pal. I'm going to turn 50 next month, and I've never thought of a Nebraskan in my life."

"Really? Never? You do eat corn, right?"

"Yes, of course!"

"Well, there's a good chance that your corn came from did your wheat bread. And if you use natural gas, there's a chance that it came from Nebraska too! How can you not think of Nebraskans for 50 years?"

"Let me put it this way. I LOVE the marketplace, trade and commerce, which is what your describing. That, I can assure you, gives me a sense of tremendous gratitude. But I must have hundreds, if not thousands of different goods in my home. Do you think I go through each one and chronicle its origin? I couldn't do that if I tried!

Whether a good comes from Nebraska, Florida, or New Mexico makes no difference to me. The important thing for me is that I was able to obtain everything without having to fight, battle, or steal for them."

"So no feelings for Nebraskans?"

"Sorry man. I've got nothing. And by the way, you lump 'Nebraskans' together into one big blob. Let me ask you a question now: Are there any people in Nebraska who act as criminals and thieves?"

"Yes, of course."

Am I supposed to respect them?

"Good point." [Surveyor, caught off guard, starts to feel disdain for all the "social studies" courses he was forced to take.]

"Ok...Let me switch it up a bit."

"Go for it."

"You're a Pennsylvanian. Let's say that Nebraska's politicians give foreign "inter-state aid" to your state government. You then start to notice that Nebraska's politicians now have an influence in your state's affairs. Firms located in Nebraska start getting special treatment by your government. How would that make you feel?"

"I can't stand politicians, or crony corporations, as it is. But if I found out about that? Yeah, that would bother me."

"Ok! An emotion. Finally. Let's keep going with this."

"What if Nebraska setup a military base (or two, or three) across the state of Pennsylvania. Would that bother you?"

"Of course!"

"What if Nebraska tapped every Pennsylvanian's phone and watched all Internet and banking activities?"

"That's an atrocity."

"What if Nebraska had drones flying through the skies, that picked off Pennsylvanians?"


"How do you feel about Nebraskan's now?"

"I feel the same way that I did before about the Nebraskan people. I'd have a big problem with the Nebraskan government though!"

"Hold up!!!! Why are you separating the two?"

"The Nebraskan people are not the government."

"Haven't you heard of democracy? They voted for the government!"

"Here's a towel. Tap behind your ears a few times. You need to dry that off."

"Ok...nevertheless. Would you revolt?"

"No...I believe in peace. Violence is a tool of governments. Nothing good comes from it."

"Then what would you do?"

"Well, it would be obvious that the ideas that people are holding and believing are in error. As we talked about before with trade, commerce, and so much abundance that you can't chronicle it all; it's obvious that in this new situation, some nasty new ideas have been adopted.

At the beginning of our conversation, it was made clear that people, who even though they are separated by a great distance geographically, are more than able to live with one another in a peaceful and voluntary way.

I wasn't lying about what I said, I've never in my 50 years even thought about a Nebraskan person. Yet I benefit from production that occurs there, and there's no doubt that Nebraskans benefit from production that occurs here in good 'ole Penn's Woods."

"I have to admit. You did teach me something. But what would you do with this new situation? How would you handle all the nasty things that Nebraska is doing to Pennsylvanians."

"Well if ideas are where the bad turn was made, then ideas are where the corrections must be made. So to the best of my ability, I would speak about the ideas of Liberty to my fellow neighbors in Pennsylvania. They're obviously no longer free, and need to hear them."

"That's it?"

"Yes, but now with the Internet, I'll also write about the ideas of Liberty on a blog, and my social networks. Hopefully that will reach some Nebraskans. They're obviously no longer free over there either."

"Wait a second!! Nebraskans are doing just fine. Go ask them. They'll brag to you about their freedom."

"That may be so, but logic dictates that the opposite must be true. If the Nebraskan government has military bases in my state of Pennsylvania, drones, and what sounds to be a sophisticated surveillance apparatus....believe me, those people are far from being free. Such an apparatus bears a tremendous cost.

In fact, Nebraskans better be careful. Give politicians the ability to use surveillance on others, and it's only a matter of time before they turn it around and start spying on the Nebraskan people too."

"Interesting." [Surveyor starts to feel disdain for his political science textbook in college].

"So you're just going to speak about Liberty at home in Pennsylvania, and write about it on the Internet with the expectation that people in Nebraska will read it? What about mobilizing the masses? What about making Pennsylvanian voices heard at the ballot box? What about rockin' the vote?"

"Here's another towel. Go wipe yourself down."

"And you think that'll be enough? No revolutions? No muskets, drummers, or liberty bonds to fund Pennsylvania's revolt?"

"What are you nuts?...Nothing in the world is more powerful than ideas, especially the ideas of peace, commerce, and no entangling alliances.

The wrong ideas were obviously adopted. They have be replaced with the right ideas. Put away the muskets. Like I said, violence is the go-to for governments. Look at the history books. They're littered with government wars and violence. Ideas, on the other hand, are shared peacefully."

"You know, this morning I was reading a column in The New York Times from Tom Friedman and he said that he was sensitive to the changing ways that foreigners look at America. Over the years, he's seen an America that was respected, hated, feared and loved.

You've actually taught me that when people live in harmony with one another, they don't think in those terms. As you said, you never thought about Nebraskans in your life!"

"Or people from Montana, Oklahoma, New Hampshire....I've got news for you. They've never thought about me either."

"So why should foreign countries ever feel "respect" or "love" or "hate" for America? Why can't we just produce, trade, and voluntarily transact with them? Obviously, it's possible to peacefully coexist when that's the case."

"We can....The U.S. federal government on the other hand..."

"Bad ideas?"

"You got it!"

[the two start to walk off together for a beer]

"I notice you mentioned Tom Friedman. You may want to dial him down on your priority reading....Did you ever hear of Ludwig Von Mises or Murray Rothbard?......."

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  1. Fantastic, Chris.... Sums it ALL up.

  2. "Nothing in the world is more powerful than ideas," Only a frustrated writer would come up with that old chestnut. "Ideas" are a dime a dozen and are used to confuse and obfuscate at worst and misdirect at best. History shows time and time again that ideas are used to prevent listeners from seeing what the speaker is doing! No, its not ideas that are powerful, action speaks louder than words for those who are not blinded by ideas. A wise man once said: "Well done is better than well said." That's not an idea, that's an observation of fact.

    1. Brian,

      Your statement is incorrect and self-refuting. What irony.

    2. Brian...tell us this:

      What precedes every action?

    3. A need or want precedes every action.

    4. A need or want precedes every action.

    5. But you must need an idea about how to fulfill that need or want.

  3. Back in the early eighties, I bummed all over North Africa and Southwest Asia.
    Never felt isolated and Never had a problem.
    I wouldn't do it now.
    And the same fraudsters like Rove,Hannity,Levin,Rush,Erickson,etc......called Ron Paul an isolationist.
    Who is isolated now?