NEW JERSEY ELKS ARE GREAT AMERICANS
As the dawn of the 21st century is upon us, we should reflect on the crucial lessons of the 20th century. We found ourselves plagued by numerous ismís: Communism, Fascism and Nazism. Communism promised prosperity, security and equality but delivered hardship and a freedom equal to the security known by inmates of our state prisons. Fascism and Nazism promised that in return for unlimited state power, a paradise on earth. They delivered only death and ruin. Children have been taught that VOTING = FREEDOM = VOTING. But voting does not equal freedom. It is a peaceful procedure to register your preference among thousands for one of a small number of candidates to represent you. The chance that your vote will decide the outcome is practically zero. You do not pick your representative as you would pick a job, a house, college or a spouse. Now let us inject strong property rights into the equation. VOTING + PROPERTY RIGHTS. In our every day life, we routinely exercise our private property rights as we make choices that count. If you want a Ford rather than a Chevy, your choice. What you get among the available options does not depend upon the choices of others. You get what you want. Not so in elections.
You get only what the majority of the voting group wants. So what the majority of the voters want decides every election, each is a slave to the majority, mob rule. This has to be balanced by strong property rights so that you may construct and live in a life of your choosing. So we have VOTING + STRONG PROPERTY RIGHTS = FREEDOM. Freedom to do what? Should we become a Nation of individuals that declare if one wants to do whatever, they should have the right to do that? I do not think so as then we would have anarchy, not freedom. And the last time I checked, Anarchy is not good for children and other living things. Which brings me to the final equation, VOTING + PROPERTY RIGHTS = FREEDOM + FOUNDING IDEALS = PATRIOTISM. Patriotism is not Love of Country, if by ďcountryĒ you mean scenery Ė amber waves of grain, purple mountains majesty etc. Almost every country I know has pretty collections of rocks, water and stuff that people grow and eat. If thatís what patriotism is all about then Americans have little that is special or unique.
And surely, patriotism cannot mean giving your life for a river or a mountain. Patriotism is not the simple act of waving a flag or pledging allegiance. Patriotism is rooted in ideas that gave birth to our Country. The same ideas that our founding fathers put their lives, prosperity and honor on the line for in 1776. Read the Declaration of Independence again. Itís all there. All men are created equal. The Creator endowed all Americans with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Itís what almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet has hungered for. I know that this is an American view but we are Americans. I do not know how to be patriotic for Brazil or Iraq. I can only hope that they aspire to similar ideals when they wax patriotically.
As Elks, is our duty to keep alive the principals of our Founding Fathers in all citizens. That is our heritage. This is Patriotism. In Truth and Unity.