Threats from within are far greater than anything outside
I just became aware of a funny story that brings into serious question the wisdom of teaching our children the value of earning money without simultaneously teaching them that there are both acceptable and unacceptable means of earning a few bucks.
The story happened a few decades ago to my old banking friend Len D. Cash. Here’s what happened.
Ol’ Len has two daughters. At the time they were roughly in middle school and probably the third or fourth grade, respectively. Both daughters normally rode the rural school bus to school and back each school day. But, one day the elder daughter had an after-school activity and wouldn’t be riding the bus home. So, she wisely (she thought) decided to send her school backpack home on the bus with her younger sister. The younger sis readily agreed to help out her older sibling.
However, when the youngest arrived home with both backpacks, she proudly announced to her mother that she had earned $7.50 on the way home on the bus.
That raised a red flag to mom, so she asked her youngest daughter how she had earned the money.
Without hesitation, the youngest daughter said that on the ride home she had gone through her older sister’s backpack and discovered a stash of “love letters” from a “boyfriend” and that she had sold the letters to the other students on the bus and earned $7.50.
That financial news triggered an outburst from mom, which escalated higher when the older sister arrived home. It wuz in the midst of this three-way tirade that Len innocently walked into when he arrived home from work.
When Len heard the entire story, he contained his mirth with difficulty, and took his wife’s suggestion that “he have a talk with” his youngest daughter. But when he sat her down for the “talk,” her defense wuz, “But, Dad, you always tell us we need to find ways to earn money on our own and I earned $7.50.”
That’s when Len faced the difficult parental dilemma of defining to a third-grader the value of personal privacy and the acceptable and unacceptable ways of earning money.
I guess it worked because both daughters reached responsible adulthood.
The above story hit upon the subject of security and personal privacy. Just the mention of security and privacy is enuf to cause me to get upon my own personal soap box to vent a bit. Call it a “stump speech” — my own personal observations about the status of America. Call it my Independence Day rant.
Despite the massive presence of the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, I have never in my life felt more insecure about my privacy, my personal security, and the security of my constitutional rights and freedoms.
Even relatively safely ensconced out here in the vastness of the Flint Hills of Kansas, my government can — and apparently is — capturing and storing my emails, phone calls and internet use. When I go to town, every store I enter has a camera on me. If I buy anything on the Internet, the web store records the purchase and shares it with other retailers so they can tap into my likes and dislikes. If I drive in a big city, obscure cameras record my license tag number and my movements. Above me in the sky, unmanned surveillance drones sweep the rural countryside seeking environmental regulations that might be broken and, I’ll bet, counting livestock and checking on government farm program compliance.
On a national level, I’ve been portrayed as a “potential terrorist” for merely holding the belief that governments at all levels are too intrusive and for owning personal firearms for recreation and protection of myself, my family, and my property — a right guaranteed by the Constitution — even though I’ve never broken a law nor threatened anyone.
The Internal Revenue Service is targeting groups, organizations and individuals for their beliefs. The White House has targeted the Associated Press and other journalists for their investigative reporting. Everywhere I turn, the government at some level is targeting the Second Amendment, a freedom that I cherish.
Dependence on government is pervasive in our land. Governmental interference is accepted by the populace — dictating what our children eat in school lunches, over-regulating our energy sources and our automotive industry, everything down to issuing a 30-page regulation on how to make brownies (believe it or not).
Top it off, our borders are porous. Illegals are afforded all sorts of welfare benefits to which they are not entitled and for which all of us pay. And, although the list could go on and on, I’ll end with the profligate federal spending of trillions of dollars of borrowed dollars whose principle and exponentially compounding interest are not payable.
In conclusion, I feel more threatened by out-of-control government than by any external threat.
I’ll get down from my soap box now and leave you with these words of wisdom from Founding Father Thomas Jefferson: “The policy of the American government is to leave citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.” Also, “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.”
I may be in a “minority thinking” these days, but at least my thinking is in the good company of Mr. Jefferson. Have a good ‘un. ❖
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.