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Friday, August 29, 2008

Liberty Without Vigilance

As Europe started to slide down the precipice of carnage that became World War I, the Foreign Secretary for Great Britain Edward Grey declared in what has become one of the most prophetic metaphors of all time; “The lamps are going out all over Europe”. Just recently, the historian and syndicated author Mark Steyn starkly noted that “Today, the lights are going out on liberty all over the Western world.”

So why is it that post-20th century societies seemingly invite and appear ineffectual in preventing the elimination of their way of life?

The answer, the cause if you will, is traced to the individuals of those societies. As the noted Irish orator John Philpot Curran correctly pointed out, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”.

But although this truism is a rather popular quote, it is not an entirely accurate representation of what Curran really said. To wit:

It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.

Hence, we find our answer in the spotlight on the individuals that make up the society.

We’ve experienced right here on Marco Island how not only the indolent but all of us have become prey to the active. The struggles of the recent past showed us that there were but perhaps a handful of people that did anything continually, eternally vigil if you will, a few others that at least wrote consistently hellfire emails to the then version of the syndicate in power, and the rest complained on the way to the buffet. And just in the last two weeks we saw hundreds of emails of how the “can’t we just get along, kumbaya” crowd was taken for a ride by the special interest elites via behind the scene control of their stooges in the present governance. These transgressions on our liberties simply happened because the power brokers were active as the citizenry afforded sparse attention.

Make no mistake about what is in store for us locally if the syndicate continues its bent on commercialization at the expense of the residents. And make no mistake about what is in store for the entire country if the socialist agendas make it to the White House.

At both levels, many complain, very few do anything of substance. The requirement of eternal vigilance applies to all of us, namely universal vigilance, for without widespread omnipresent vigilance, we are then subsumed into servitude to the prevailing evil as punishment for the guilt. Sadly for some of us that are in fact eternally in a state of vigilance, it is an ill deserved punishment, dealt to us from guilt by association.

Every day in every community in what’s left of Western democracies the majority is the indolent – a majority living in the last vestiges of liberty they themselves created for having broken the covenant with God. Too few of the vigilant remain to take on the fight continually, into perpetuity, sans help, bludgeoned by the corrupt, bankrupt by the viral spread of amerikapitalism, and drowned by the power of the entrenched iron triangle.

And as we found in the very recent history of other countries, giving up a utopia is not something that is hard to do – actually, it is incredibly easy; simply do little, do nothing.

Sadly, we don’t need to look to other countries for examples on how our liberties have been eroded – we can simply look at our own towns in this country. From massive local projects undertaken on lies and subterfuge, to the political correctness doctrine where our right to free speech is gagged by threats emanated from the sludge which is the legal system, to the loss of private property rights through the prostitution of the eminent domain clause of the constitution.

Without universal vigilance, get ready for universal health care. And in Marco Island, without vigilance scrutinizing every move of the special interest-directed governance bent on inane follies such as procuring their own electric utility, consider the words of Edward Grey as the lights here go out – literally.


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3 Comments:

  • Dear Mario,

    I always enjoy your blog commentaries which go far beyond in depth and background of the subject matter that we, the public, normally receive via our daily news reports. The historical perspective you provide adds substance to your arguments. Like you, I also am concerned about the “laid back” attitude of our citizens while the fox is raiding the henhouse. Perhaps when the cupboard is bare and there are no more chickens, they will pay attention---but by then it may be too late.

    With that being said, I implore all Marco residents to take an interest in the issues facing the city, contact your elected representatives with your thoughts and concerns, and do your homework before deciding your position on the issues. Please do not just react to the emotions of others by parroting their thoughts until you think it through.

    Chuck Kiester
    Marco Island City Councilor

    By Anonymous Chuck Kiester, at Saturday, August 30, 2008 4:34:00 PM  

  • Dear Councilman Kiester,
    Does your advice to citizens to think things through before making their decisions also apply to council members? If so, what was your rationale for voting in favor of a storm sewer tax? Please explain.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, September 02, 2008 7:44:00 AM  

  • Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your two questions. Here is my response.

    My request for residents to think for themselves resulted from receiving over one thousand emails recently, all saying the same thing (word for word), i.e., they simply signed their names to an email which had been prepared by one of our more active residents with a very large mailing list. I have no problem with this resident’s providing this service (I have used his service myself to announce my open forums, a request to which he has always kindly provided without charge). But, for residents to simply parrot an email saying they are for or against this or that without stating any rationale to support their views does not help me do my job as a city councilor.

    Needless to say, in answer to your first question which essentially says that this same principle should also apply to city councilors, of course my answer is “yes”, and I believe, for the most part, they do.

    In response to your second question as to why I supported the establishment of a storm water enterprise fund, I offer the following.

    1. Fairness. Basing “payment for services” on property values as opposed to their actual contribution of costs to run the system based on the amount of impermeable surface they create essentially results in a subsidy to those who contribute the most to the need for storm water services from those who create the least amount of runoff. This position is in line with my stand on the fire assessment, also mentioned as being a “no-no” in the form letter.

    2. Should a storm water enterprise fund be created where the major contributors to the problem would be assessed accordingly may result in their switching over to the use of permeable surfaces for their large parking lots, etc. as opposed to simply using impermeable blacktop to provide the hard surface they need to conduct business. This would be a win-win for all of us.

    3. Finally, my philosophy is that wherever it can be done fairly, the provision of and payment for municipal services should be handled no differently than any service provided by the private sector, e.g. trash collection (which, by the way, is an assessment based on your need for the service).

    The fact that you even bothered to blog me your questions shows that you are a “thinking” person; you may disagree with me, but that does not necessarily mean that I have not thought it through as well. Again, thanks for your thoughts.

    Chuck Kiester
    Marco Island City Councilor

    By Anonymous Chuck Kiester, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 8:53:00 AM  

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