20 January 2009

Sacrifice or responsibility?

In your life you probably work quite hard for yourself, so you can not only survive, but can afford things you like, time for leisure, and enjoy life. You may spend time and money on people you love, it's not sacrifice though. You may have children you love and support, but it's not sacrifice.

All of that is following your values, pursuing what you value for your life. Remember much of what you do benefits others, but you don't do it primarily because it is for them, but because it gives you a sense of achievement, satisfaction, you get something back - even if it is enjoying the smile on the face of your child.

Of course while you do that the government takes a third or more of your money, that's a sacrifice. Some of that money pays for things you wouldn't disagree with, like law and order, some is taken to pay for government services you are forced to pay for - like health and education - regardless of how much you like it.

Beyond that you choose to do as you wish with others, you may belong to clubs, a church, you may volunteer for a charity, you may coach a sports team, or tutor music, or whatever. Those things you do are because you enjoy it, it is an affirmation of your values and life.

So when Barack Obama calls for "sacrifice" ask yourself whether that is an affirmation of your values and life, ask whether the world would be a better place if Bill Gates had spent his life sacrificing his time and energy to volunteer in soup kitchens, or perhaps the Wright Brothers should have.

Or does he mean individual responsibility? That is something that SHOULD be affirmed - that you own your life and you are responsible for your living, and that of your offspring, and for what you do.

THAT would be a truly revolutionary positive change, not nonsense about sacrifice, not "what you can do for your country", but simply owning your life.

It's hard though, because the Democratic Party has spent decades arguing for government doing things for people.

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