The Land of The “Free”: The True Cost of Free Stuff

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs…”

Some of you may already know where this famous quote comes from and who wrote it, but for those who aren’t familiar with it and its context, I want you to ponder its meaning. It sounds pretty straightforward: Those who can contribute more resources should and the resources should be given to those most in need of them. On its face it sounds like a great way of running a community, however have you thought deeper into the implications and perhaps unintended consequences of such a policy? How much should people be obligated to contribute to wider society? What types of resources should be given to the collective whole? Labor? Materials? Food supplies? Healthcare? Shelter? Do those who give get compensation for their output or not and if so, how much is fair? Who gets to receive this bounty of whatever is given by those who are able to give? What exactly makes one eligible to receive it? Perhaps more importantly yet more abstractly, is it fair that some can get with little effort what others must work hard for? Just because someone has a harder time acquiring some resource for themselves, does it mean they shouldn’t have to put in equal effort into getting it as someone who puts in great effort and is able to obtain more of it?

If it hasn’t been clear by now, the person who this quote is attributed to none other than Karl Marx. Yes, the one and only communist “revolutionary”. In Marx’s vision, society would collectively provide for the needs of everyone and there wouldn’t be social inequalities. However, communism in practice rather than theory in countries such as Russia, Venezuela, Cuba etc… has only led to turmoil, unrest and drastic shortages of the very resources this ideology claims to distribute equitably so that there would be no shortages! People flee in droves from countries with Marxist policies including the quote above. A great case study being how badly East Germans wanted to go escape to West Germany. One country, yet divided with two different social policies and everyone wanted to go to the non-communist side! Countries with communist and socialist policies overall are plagued by shortages of resources such as food/water, clothes and other goods, materials, decent shelter, healthcare and more!

So what does this have to do with the United States since technically we aren’t a communist country? We have a capitalist system, yet this is often highly criticized as being too cut throat and sink or swim in nature to serve everyone. We also do in fact, collectively give to certain resources such as taxpayer money funding infrastructure such as roads and the upkeep of public spaces, public schools, emergency services as well as resources such as social security, welfare, food stamps etc. However there are privatized industries here too, including healthcare, private schools, housing, higher education, supermarket chains, and businesses that cater to one’s every need or whim. Some of these privatized industries many argue, ought to be collectively funded and given for free to everyone like in other countries. For example, Canada and many European countries have free healthcare paid for by everyone’s tax contributions. Same for higher education in many other countries. Many countries have paid maternity leave for far longer than America. People cite inequalities and obstacles to getting these resources here, and say we ought to be like those nations and all our problems would be solved. The grass may not be greener on the other side though…

Have you ever heard the phase “too good to be true”? Something sounds really cool and the best part is, there are no strings attached and yet, it would be incredibly naïve to think that there wasn’t a catch! When we think of the word free, we tend to think this means there is literally no cost involved in acquiring something. Free samples are just handed out at no charge to you in the supermarket. Free items like those dinky office supplies are given out at a career fair. You can just take whatever you find in the free box at a yard sale. So why not then, wouldn’t that apply to “free” healthcare, higher education, food, shelter etc? Well, doesn’t it still require labor and resources to make these a reality? Imagine how many moving parts and people it takes to smoothly run a large hospital, or University. How many hours of labor and manpower does it take to grow food then distribute it nationwide? How much do materials cost to build houses as well as hours of labor to build them? Should those who are able to work hard to give us these incredible resources do it with no compensation for themselves? Would it be remotely fair to ask people to do it for free? To give the raw materials for free? Their expertise they had to get at a cost to them? Case and point is, these so called free resources aren’t truly free! So then the question becomes, who’s paying?

Most often, it’s YOU! You’re paying for these free resources out of your own tax dollars. You might pay into a collective system that isn’t even relevant to your own needs while another benefits but doesn’t pay a cent for it! You may not ever need welfare, but have put your blood, sweat and tears figuratively or even literally, into providing a decent home for your family yet have to also foot the bill for another family’s home who hadn’t even put in a fraction of the effort you have to get it. While some people have a genuine need for resources such as welfare, or food stamps, and work hard to get off both, the system as it stands is ripe for abuse and freeloading. Why put in effort to have what is easily given to you for free? The Left’s perfect excuse for giving out these resources like candy is that since shelter is a basic need, it therefore must be an indisputable human right, justifying others footing the bill! Since it’s a human right to have a decent place to live, people are entitled to live in a neighborhood or a house you worked all your life to be able to barely afford. The homeless put in fancy hotels in some cities are living in suites you saved years to spend a night or two with your family for a luxury vacation. They may need shelter, but do they need the king sized bed, panoramic view, and the jacuzzi that goes with the room? People need food and water, yet is it fair you have to pay a large grocery bill each week and your water bill and some don’t? Some may argue that you have the privilege to afford these things so you shouldn’t be so selfish to think others who aren’t able should struggle. However, who said it was easy to budget to put food on your own table? Do these detractors look at your pay stubs and your grocery bills? What about the fact you hold down a job you may not like to afford these and the other guy is getting food stamps off welfare? Just because you can afford something doesn’t mean that was easy for you! Are equal outcomes fair when unequal effort was put into getting it?

The other possibility of who picks up the tab for all this free stuff is even scarier: The government. Our tax dollars go to certain things in our countries and locally, however the government then uses these funds in any way they see fit. Take the free healthcare systems of Canada and Europe for examples. Everyone can get medical care without having an astronomical hospital bill, or get a life saving medicine free of the sometimes outrageous prices in this country! Sounds great, right? Something many would be happy to contribute to as we all will need healthcare at some point in our lives. The catch is, he who pays, makes the rules! You need an important treatment or surgery? Make sure you’re eligible to meet the government’s criteria for a priority case such as your age, SES, race (yes, even if they’ll never admit it!) sex etc… Note I never mentioned anything about an actual clinical need for prioritizing your case! Heaven forbid you’re medically complex and old enough to just be quietly “ignored” and left to die! Your end of life care might come sooner than you wanted! If you’re a white middle aged male who needs a life saving bypass surgery don’t be surprised if your surgery is pushed out to squeeze in the “marginalized” patient with a similar issue but less medically urgent need. Free access to a limited resource will still produce unequal access, only difference is the buyer can pick and choose who gets it and who doesn’t according to any social agenda they choose! Maybe that hospital bill doesn’t look so bad if it means being able to choose the healthcare right for your needs over whether or not your case is politically favorable…

Another case is something we currently have now: Public schools. The government controls public schools and look where that leaves us: Brainwashing our kids with only one “desirable” view of the country, pitting one race against another, denying clear science over sex and gender, rewriting history to suit their narrative and teaching them to see their own parents as backwards if they don’t subscribe to what the school teaches them. Compared to private schools, public schools have lower test scores and less academic rigor overall. There are better student/teacher ratios, smaller class sizes, more individualized instruction, more resources for learning, a greater variety of class subjects offered, greater networking opportunities, and more. Not that some private schools aren’t teaching radical Left leaning propaganda too as many are sadly, but overall you will find a better environment for your children than public can offer. Sadly many families can’t afford private, and I myself went to public k-12, but the point is, the option is out there and one can see the sad state government run schools are in. If the point is equal access to a great education, why not put more effort into creating a better public system?

A final point to bring up aside from the strings that are indeed attached to the so called “free” resources is not only the financial cost of their upkeep, but also the ethical and moral costs. What is equitable is not always fair. As asked earlier, is it fair for someone to get easily what someone else worked several times harder to get? Is it fair another person can live in the same neighborhood on welfare you saved decades to be able to afford to live in due to some zoning law about subsidized housing requirements? Is it fair you work hard at a job you wish to leave but can’t to put cheaper groceries on your family’s table while someone on food stamps can cheat the system and buy luxury brands, or afford their booze and cigarettes but claim they can’t feed their children so they get on food stamps while an injured veteran and his family are pushed to the back of the line? Poverty may equalize, but not all circumstances that get one there are equal…

Also, much of it is subjective, there is no objective standard to differentiate true needs from wants. For example, take coverage of certain medications. Insulin, a lifesaving drug for those with diabetes is astronomically priced and for many, a matter of life and death to be able to afford and access. Rightfully, many are pushing back against the corrupt pharmaceutical industry that grossly inflates prices of many essential medicines. However, Narcan, used to stop opioid overdoses is given out for free at most pharmacies! While it can be considered lifesaving due to its function, is it in the same ethical category as access to insulin? Sure, addicts deserve a second chance to get clean, but those with diabetes never chose to put something in their bodies that would directly create the problem! Addiction may alter one’s brain chemistry, but it started with the choice to use drugs. So why then is a drug like insulin not free yet Narcan is handed out to anyone who asks?! Another example is many women now demand free birth control. While some use it for other conditions than contraception, if all you need it for is to not get pregnant then you’re using it for a lifestyle choice, not a medical need. If you want to have an active sex life that’s your business and no one else’s, but don’t expect me to subsidize your lifestyle by paying for an elective drug. Same goes for anything that there is no clinical need for, but one chooses to do for their own reasons. (The benefit of private healthcare is you CAN make those choices 😉 ) What about those with deeply held moral objections paying for things they find repugnant? Those who deeply oppose abortion and view it as the moral equivalent to infanticide don’t want to pay for what they see as funding murder. If people who deeply opposed war in the past called for being conscientious objectors to being drafted then is there a way to opt out of paying for something one finds morally objectionable?

Lastly, there are unintended consequences of some of these decisions to provide collective free things. Take the free COVID vaccine. The government paid for it and distributes it- to whoever they deem politically desirable! This meant it was given first in “marginalized” communities as a priority, yet it turned out many didn’t want it and didn’t show up to get one. The vaccines can only be out for so long before going bad so it meant thousands were wasted and unusable! If they were given to areas with higher demand for the vaccine they could have used those doses rather than wasted that resource. However, it was seen as more politically correct to give it to the inner city rather than suburbia yet demand might have been higher in the latter area. The result: Thousands of doses WASTED!!!

There’s another saying: Freedom isn’t free… Well neither is “free” stuff!

The Nanny Nation.  Can I have my allowance? And some lunch money? The car needs gas too.  My student loan payment is due.  Oh, and Im a little behind on my mortgage.

We Need to “Stand up” for America…

It has been a growing trend in recent years, especially after the 2016 election to find any way possible to disparage the country. This isn’t the usual healthy criticism America needs to hear to improve itself, but has become an increasingly one sided partisan attack! A wider trend can be seen in criticizing Western culture and civilization in general, but as far as America goes, it’s only been heating up and we seem to be at the pinnacle of it. Most reasonable Americans can see it happen pretty obviously, but for the truly uninformed, I provide some major examples:

Behind every great country is its history, both good and bad. America like everywhere else has had its good and not so good chapters and will continue to do so. No one denies that racism, sexism, discrimination etc… has made dark stains on our past in a variety of ways, but now it’s trendy to forget all the great strides we made to rectify those past mistakes and create a much better future for all Americans. In our schools, we now spend more time criticizing the Founding Fathers for views we find outdated by 21st century standards rather than focus on the enlightenment ideals of freedom and a democratic society that make up an integral part of our national identity today: A nation founded on the principles of freedom. Of course many of their views are rightfully outdated, such as slave ownership or women’s roles, but we have to remember they lived in a different time and culture and we’d be delusional to think we are at the moral zenith whereas our ancestors were backwards bigots with no gray area in between. Point is, we are ALL products of our time whether we realize it or not.

What makes a country great is not necessarily how few mistakes it makes, but how it chooses to address them and improve, and we have made immense strides in our development. I’m not old by any stretch of the imagination, yet I’m old enough to remember learning about America in a positive light in addition to not sugarcoating over the bad parts of its history. Now however, schools are teaching US history through the “woke” lens of seeing the country as a continuing cesspit of systemic and structural racism, sexism, and discrimination. Instead of focusing on the great strides made in the Civil Rights Movement, the emphasis now is on how bad Jim Crow was and white people are. Instead of focusing on the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence and the importance of the Constitution, we now have to focus on all the un-woke skeletons in the Founding Fathers’ closets then “cancel” them for being bigots! Not to mention, history is full of nuance and gray areas, and people make choices that in hindsight was the wrong choice yet if one looks, one can understand why they made that choice in the heat of the moment. Some of our less than stellar moments also arose in those circumstances, yet instead of trying to see ourselves in their shoes, we are now taught to condemn America for making hard calls that we can conveniently criticize having information they lacked at the time. It’s one thing to recognize when our country was not so great, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t done some extraordinarily great things that we can all be proud of.

Coming around to the present, is it just me, or have you also noticed that almost any expression of patriotism is twisted into unhealthy nationalism and even a “dog whistle for white supremacy” by the Left? Sounds crazy? Apparently not for those like MSNBC contributor Mara Gay who was triggered by sight of pickup trucks sporting American flags which according to her, sent the message that the country belongs to white conservatives and no one else! Sadly she’s not the only one with those views, as the mere sight of our country’s flag is enough for the woke among us to scream “white supremacy!”. Even the word “patriot” is now a code word for the alt-right according to the Leftist media. Showing pride in our country, and also those who defend it is now distorted into something ugly by the Left, who only wish to “deconstruct” everything foundational to our national identity. Even something as simple as standing for the National Anthem is now politically charged! In light of that, it’s no wonder many on the far Left even call for cancelling the 4th of July as a “white supremacist, sexist, racist etc…. nation is nothing to celebrate!” and America is only great for white men. All American apple pie apparently is also racist and nationalist now! If this sounds like a stretch, I invite you to read Left leaning opinion pieces and scroll through social media! Rightfully defending our country is seen as unjust, and some even go so far as to say we deserved 9/11! This clearly goes beyond valid criticisms of our country, instead being a one sided attack that only seeks to tear down our national pride and identity, deconstructing rather than constructively improving our remaining faults.

Perhaps even more concerning than a movement to suppress expressions of patriotism like the 4th of July, the National Anthem, displaying American Flags and such, is the Left’s various social agendas dismantling our core values. Our country was and still is known around the world as the place where you can work hard and achieve your dreams. People flock to the USA from poorer countries, war-torn countries and regimes where that simply isn’t the case. No, life is still hard and full of obstacles here too, but the opportunity to better yourself and the resources to do it are still second to none! However now to even acknowlege that is deemed un-woke as of course, we’re steeped in systemic racism and structural inequalities that make it literally impossible to overcome your odds. Yet, try telling that to the many disadvantaged people born here and abroad who came here and beat the odds! No one denies they have had to face far more obstacles, including poverty, bias and discrimination, but never the less they made it and are proud of the country that helped them succeed. The defeatist attitude that you can’t only leads to a society of people who have no motivation to better themselves and blame the system for all their obstacles rather than actively try to overcome them. Relatedly, values such as personal accountability are also under attack. If you can simply blame systemic racism, sexism, or the “cisheteropatriarchy” for all your mistakes such as your unwanted pregnancies, broken homes, unemployment, financial struggles, the fact you didn’t get the job or admission to college etc… then that absolves you of your own personal choices you could control despite other circumstances you couldn’t! Shifting the blame onto excuses of unsurmountable oppression has chipped away at our moral fiber as a nation has enabled a chronic welfare state, broken families and homes, cycles of violence and abuse and poverty, poorer health outcomes, learned helplessness, underachievement and untapped potential. NONE of which helps our country!

Of course, it can’t go without mention that the Left seeks to put America last instead of first! America first has been mischaracterized as militant nationalism and even white supremacy, when in fact, it’s the right of all nations to put their own interests ahead of other countries or groups. We let in thousands of illegals and refugees while our own citizens struggle. We ignore the dangers of rising crime rates and backwards values that actually ARE racist and sexist brought over by many who want to take advantage of our bounty yet don’t appreciate our country in return. I don’t blame people who are only here for a better life, and I welcome those who come with an open mind and grateful attitude to share the American Dream like many of our own ancestors. However, along with the good ones, come criminals trafficking drugs or fellow human beings, gangs, and those who resent us and want to undermine Western values. Sounds paranoid and extreme, but those so called sanctuary cities have skyrocketing crime rates, and an overflowing welfare state. Even if only productive families came who would help the country, we can only take so many and must look after those already here as legal citizens. No one has the right to just enter any country and demand its resources. There are ways to officially become citizens and many immigrants honor this and it’s unfair to them to just jump the line! Imagine if I randomly decided to go to Canada and demand they give me all their resources without becoming a Canadian citizen! If that sounds ridiculous then why isn’t it for America? Don’t even get me started on how we’re treated internationally by other countries and how we let them step all over us…

Most appalling of all though, is the trend of utterly dividing the country along identity lines. Conservative vs. Liberal. White vs. Black. Men vs. women. Gay vs. straight. EVERYONE vs. white men! In a nation whose motto is “out of many, one”, the surest way to utterly destroy America is to divide us against each other! We did that once, and the results ended in 600,000 Americans dead, more than WWI and WWII combined! While there haven’t been calls of a literal second civil war yet, the violence this division is stoking is an all too real threat. With racial tension at an all time high, and BLM and Antifa around there has been an increase in violent protests, looting and overall lawlessness. Even more frightening, they get a free pass to do all of the above as it’s politically undesirable to hold them accountable to the law. Looting hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise is now okay in the name of reparations! If that doesn’t sound like insanity I don’t know what is… Now, the latest attempt at utterly dividing America comes from Critical Race Theory. This is the worldview that everything can be seen through the lens of racial injustice and oppression at the hands of white people, and that our country is inherently racist at its core. White people must renounce their “privilege” and people of color are inherently oppressed. This is being taught in schools across the country to our children as well as in higher learning to brainwash the next generation and divide them. Is this healthy for anyone? To tell white children they’re oppressors? To tell children of color they’re inherently oppressed and cant go as far as their white peers? If you ask me, it’s a fertile field for resentment to grow on both sides! Instead of being one nation, we now have two separate national anthems and “activist athletes” who instead of thanking America for the opportunity to have achieved so much and come so far and represent America at the Olympics of all places, decide to protest it in defiance of what we stand for. Segregation may have ended physically, but it seems to be very much alive psychologically in the form of two separate Americas! Families are divided over politics, children estranged from parents, siblings on opposite sides, tensions in relationships, friends “unfriending” over a political debate, this division is tearing us apart at the most personal levels. Politics is no longer about ideals, but identity, and every little thing you do now puts you on one side or the other regardless of your own complex opinions! It’s a surprise we aren’t in another civil war!

In light of all this, what can we do? Our history, our values, our identity, our unity, it’s all being “deconstructed”! Reasonable Americans everywhere regardless of politics want a more unified country and less of the increasing polarization going on. I think it’s going to be unpopular with the woke crowd, but the solution is worth it: We need to take more of a hardline stance on standing up for our country. It means putting our collective foot down and saying NO to open borders, (Un)Critical Race Theory, defunding our police, sanctuary cities, welfare cradle to grave, the deconstruction of our values and culture, being pushed around internationally, seeing our country as a cesspit of racism and discrimination, presenting our history in a biased and partisan way, being afraid to fly our flag, stand for our anthem, celebrate our freedom and do all things American! Luckily some states are starting to do that, such as several banning Critical Race Theory from the school curriculum and “sanctuary” cities for 2nd amendment rights. We as citizens can do our part too; voting for candidates who are pro-America, passing laws that put America first, building communities with values that lift up, not keep us down, treating others with true equality, not being afraid to express our patriotism among countless ways to support our country. There is a growing backlash against the anti-American lunacy and we can all take a stand!

Instead of “kneeling” to the Left’s pressure to deconstruct and undermine America, let’s stand up for America, not just during the Anthem, but always!

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A PSA from A Lady of Reason: The Conservative Movement Goes Beyond One President…

Obviously the election has gotten everyone on both sides riled up over whose side wins. For months now, we have been standing by Trump, supporting him and showing our country that despite the Left’s influence, there are still thousands of us who stand up for traditional virtues and pride in our great nation and want a president who reflects those values. Accordingly, we have fought long and hard for him to get in in 2016 and have been for 2020. However, it is also important to realize that Trump won’t last forever as our leader. Doesn’t matter if he’s out in January or is in for the next four years. Another president will eventually take his place. So the question becomes: Where will we go from that point on?

The first thing in my mind at least is to find candidates like Trump who will share his courage and vision for our future. Someone who isn’t afraid to stand up to the Left, isn’t afraid of coming off as more blunt when needed, tells it like it is and doesn’t bow down to the ever changing standards of political correctness. Someone who takes true pride in the country and wants to see it shine as a light in the world, not someone who sees our country as a great evil full of flaws. We need someone who cares more about their talent and capability to be the president over any identity they can check off for virtue signaling points. Someone who is fair but stands firm in dealing with other nations. Someone who can follow their conscience and principles even when it may not be politically favorable. Someone who is a president, not just “presidential”. Most importantly, someone who will put America first and keep America great! I hope one day one of Trump’s children may run for office. Maybe Baron in a few decades 😉 However, more realistically for the near future we most likely will have to find another equally inspired and capable person. This is where you come in: You can shine the spotlight on promising young conservatives ready to enter politics and run for office. Maybe you might be inspired to be that person. Bring to light conservative candidates for 2024 and beyond. Either way, we must pass the torch to the next great leader once Trump has done his work. They will stand on the shoulders of a giant…

Another important point is perhaps even more crucial in the coming days: What are YOU doing to better your community? As many have said before, ultimately, it is We The People are the ones who make our country what it is on the front lines. Not those in Washington. Yes, they make policy, but we make attitudes. And attitudes are harder to change. Trump ultimately represents our hopes and dreams for what our country should be like. That’s why he won in 2016. The “silent” majority no longer remained silent. So how can you “do your bit” to make this country better? Here are some ways big and small, and by no means an exhaustive list!

  • Stand up for your constitutional rights, whether it be 1st amendment, 2nd amendment or any other amendment that’s important to you!
  • Have the courage to find your voice as a conservative and express your opinion.
  • Organize community watches to protect your neighborhood, set up town meetings to address issues on the local level. Make sure conservatives, as well as liberals are represented and heard.
  • Advocate for academic freedom and intellectual diversity in schools and on campus. Teach your children about bias in education and how to think critically. Challenge bias in your child’s schools. Challenge it in your classes.
  • Run for a local office, or help someone’s campaign that holds conservative platforms. Even if you or your candidate doesn’t win, the representation it gives for conservatives speaks volumes, and may inspire even more the next time around!
  • Let other conservatives know they’re not alone. Whether it be supporting them anonymously, online, or in person, we all must support each other, especially those who feel isolated in heavily Left leaning environments where they may be suppressed.
  • Advocate for more representation of conservative voices in the media, at work, in academia, and in mainstream society at large.
  • Join or even create conservative clubs and groups to make change in your communities.
  • Don’t stand for intrusions on your freedoms. Attacks on your values. Discord and chaos in your communities. Don’t just turn a blind eye when your neighbor’s business is looted, or if it becomes unsafe for your children to play outside. Don’t wait until your town is a hotbed for crime. Do something before it gets out of hand! Raise awareness. Lobby for your rights. Rally. And yes, in some circumstances: Resist. Resist when your safety is at stake.

Lastly, put it all in perspective. We will not always get our way. We will have some losses. We certainly did for 8 years of Obama! And yet, we still remained. We persisted. We voted. We elected who we wanted as our leader. We are not snowflakes who crumble and turn into a mess when we lose in a fit or rage or panic. We are balanced people who realize that we’re in it for the long haul, and no one term in office, election or set back defines the conservative movement. We will persist as long as we have passionate people willing to stand up for traditional values, pride in our country and fair and equitable societies. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Conservatism transcends any one individual, any one leader or movement. We cannot sink into the fallacy of believing that conservative ideas and values die or cease to remain important when one person leaves an office or a movement loses some steam. Persistence and perseverance is what will ensure our values are taught and our voices continue to he heard. If we have “lost” this November, it’s actually a win in that it should make us all the more motivated to step up and do the heavy lifting of upholding our great nation and our communities. Note too how close the race was: About half of the country voted Trump! The number is not just an abstract statistic. These people are your friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers etc… They too are with you, and together, we all can make America what we want!

Trump made America great again, but what we do as conservatives in our own communities and for our country is what keeps America great!

Not just this election, but every election 🙂