Thoughts on the meaning of life

“life is without meaning, you bring the meaning to it” – Joseph Campbell

Well it’s been a hectic past couple of weeks. I wrote about the previous week in my last article, and this past week has been busy too, with end of quarter at work, and with a wedding on Saturday.

I got a chance to relax on Sunday and sit in the hot-tub at my in-laws house. While I was allowing the warm water to relax my muscles and the jets to massage the stress away, I was thinking about the past few weeks and about the future.

The reason I get into politics, is because I can see an erosion of freedom and responsibility in daily life. It is because of this that I argue my points across and try to make sense of it all.

When I take part in life, particularly when I take pictures of families at weddings, I’m not thinking about all the silly politics that goes on. I’m thinking of the meaning of life, and all the family and friends who are supporting the new couple. I’m thinking about how happy everyone is, and how to capture their smiles in the most natural way possible without them even realizing it.

I found out this morning that the father of the bride of one of our previous weddings, died on Saturday, around the same time that we were taking pictures of a newly wed couple and their families dancing and having fun. It is with bitter irony that you realize how fragile life is, and that while one family is singing and dancing, another is going through the terrible pain of loss.

This is the second time this year that a close relative of a newly wed couple has died shortly after us taking the last pictures of them. Its a haunting feeling to know that you took the last ever picture of them alive. The comforting aspect is that you know that you captured a memory of them for the family to treasure even long after they are gone.

With the birth of my second nephew, and the thoughts of starting a family of my own, I return to the political spectrum and wonder how much of a future there will be in the world without peace.

If the death of one person can upset so many people, how would a huge war make you feel? When you realize that many thousands of people die in conflict each year.

If we cannot balance a budget or restrict government growth, if we cannot stop the lobbyists and the corrupt politicians from sending our young men out to war, and continue to restrict growth through legislation. Then how much of a future will there be, not just for us, but for the world?

A friend sent me an email this morning of the space shuttle discovery. It shows the cockpit, and all the instruments. After many conversations with him about Star Trek and space travel, it seems as if we are going backwards as a civilization. Why are we not out there traveling the solar system? Why are we constantly bombing each other and starting wars? Why do we have a ‘war on drugs’? Why can’t we just leave each other alone, and only punish those who actually literally harm others?

Why do we feel the need to use the government as a way to redistribute wealth? Why do we feel the need to use the government to create benefit programs, when charities are perfectly capable of taking care of those in need?

Life has no meaning unless you bring meaning to it. When you are born, you are an empty vessel. It is up to your parents to teach you how to walk and talk. After that, it is up to you to continue the learning process. It is up to you to advance yourself. It is up to you not to hold yourself back. You must do what you feel is right. You must hold yourself to your own highest moral standards.

Life moves forward when you cherish it, and advance yourself through productive means. When you embrace knowledge and creativity, when you learn all that you can, and work toward your goals. You can and will achieve anything.

When you reject the old, the useless, the warn out policies of the past, and embrace new ideas built upon the learning of successes throughout the world, then you will have achieved a bright new future in which anything is possible.

I reject the two party system in politics because it is broken and it does not work. From an outside perspective, and can say they are almost identical.

I reject war because it is a racket. I am perfectly capable of defending myself.

I embrace the US constitution, because it is the most well written document to protect and embrace freedoms that the world has ever seen.

I embrace liberty and free markets because they allow the individual to create whatever he or she desires, and then sell that product to others to enhance their own lives.

I embrace value, true value, because if you value your life, the lives of others, the value of the inventions created by men of the mind.

I embrace new technologies. These new technologies were invented, and without them, we would still live in caves and would not have  a civilization to begin with.

I embrace nature, because nature is abundant, and everything erupts forth from it.

I embrace respect. Because without it, fights ensue, and ideas get squashed. It is not the better idea that succeeds in battle, but the person with the largest hammer. Battles are necessary from time to time, but logic should always be supported by fact, and then brought forward as the successor.

Life has meaning when you bring meaning to it. What is the meaning of your life? What have you done today? What have you done to enhance and enrich your own life? And in turn, what have you done to enhance and enrich the lives of those around you?

Your hard work pays off when you keep going despite bumps in the road. Sometimes you have to stop and alter your course slightly, or even go off road, but if you stay on track you will get to your destination.

When was the last time you looked up at the stars? Can you imagine a better future?

What did you do to make your life happy today?

Are you living a happy life?

We live for our own happiness. If we are not happy, or able to find contentment, then our lives are wasted. You only get one shot at life. So make it a good one.

Welfare is theft

Welfare is theft, not only because government must steal from those who produce in order to fund social programs. But because it robs those who use welfare, of the initiative to make money by thrift or other creative means for themselves.

Welfare is a ticking time bomb, because as generation after generation becomes dependent on government agencies to help support them, they have less and less incentive to go out into the world and take a chance. They do not educate themselves to their fullest potential, and they are shielded by many of life’s harsh lessons. This system of welfare is unsustainable, and it is close to complete collapse.

Instead of having government agencies run re-distribution programs, by stealing from the producers, and giving to the ‘needy’ which in many cases is simply a byword for ‘lazy’. People who currently use welfare, or would think about using it, should be encoraged to save what money they have for future events. They should  be encouraged to take whatever work they can get, and to be thrifty with the money that they have.

When value is placed upon the money they earn through hard work, like with other elements of society, the value of money goes up. All the while money is given out like candy without being earned, its value goes down.

There are those who would argue that it’s evil to stop welfare. But how is it evil to stop giving those who haven’t earned it more money? Is it not better to teach a man how to fish, and provide for himself?. Education programs are far more valuable, than simply providing a service by redistributing wealth.

There should be no government programs. Government should only have a very simple role in our lives. To build roads, allow commerce, a postal service, and a judicial system.

Without huge government, taxes and social programs, people will once again be able to prosper as individuals. It is the individual who takes the job at McDonald’s to support his family, instead of relying on a welfare check. And it is the individual who gets promoted to management, because he has worked hard and proven himself. To rise above the mediocre and be all that he can be.

Whenever I am asked ‘but how can I afford that?’ I say ‘good, you’re asking the right question’. Now keep asking it ‘how can I afford that’, keep saying it until you figure it out for yourself. Whether you have to take on two jobs at once, or squeeze out extra pennies from your budget. You’re on the right track when you ask ‘how?’.

One thing is for sure. Eventually, the government won’t be able to provide everything you need, because they will have run out of victims to sacrifice and loot. The mentality of ‘oh you make enough money to pay the taxes, you can afford it’ will not always be allowed to pass by. Eventually, when ‘those who can afford it’ can no longer afford it because of the looting through taxation and interest. These  people will simply resign in protest. They will not have the motivation to get up in the morning and support all the welfare thieves. And in many cases, may take a mediocre position and start using government programs themselves.

Once this problem ensues, the fate of the welfare state is sealed. It cannot support itself without able-bodied people supporting it, while being expected never to use it.

And there is the true evil. Those who will never use the system, are expected to support the system. Instead of buying themselves or their children a new pair of shoes, they are expected instead to pay for another families groceries, because they are to lazy to get up and take a job to pay for it themselves.

Welfare encourages people to be dependent on others. It is there almost as a reward for stupidity and making mistakes in life. While punishing others for being successful. A society with this mindset cannot survive, let alone thrive.

So what about the needy? I hear you cry. Well there are very few real ‘needy’ people. Needy normally means lazy. But for the disabled people, for those who truly cannot support themselves; we have charities. Charities are a noble ideal, and many wealthy people contribute willingly to charities. For decades, before welfare, many thousands of people were helped and saved by charities. And it should be no different in the future. Those who truly need it, can get help, while no one is robbed to support it. The wealthy and even those who are not, can contribute and help out. And our system, our way of life, will be allowed to continue, without completely collapsing in on itself.

Welfare breeds laziness, it breeds the mediocre. This country was founded upon self-sufficiency and determination to make the most of yourself. It should be no different today.

We can live in a society that helps others out, but it must not be mandatory. Helping others should always be voluntary. I would encourage you to help others. Just a few weeks ago, I helped cut up a fallen tree limb from a neighbors house across the street from my in-laws when I was visiting. The guy was in his 70’s, and walked with a cane. I thought nothing of helping this guy out. He had served in Vietnam, and had built his house himself when he was not much older than myself. I could spare a half hour to help a self-sufficient man like myself, who has aged and has a harder time getting around now. I have no problem helping people like him. He was extremely appreciative, and I worked up a good sweat. It felt great to go swimming after working up a sweat and helping someone out in the process. But to ask me to sacrifice a chunk of my paycheck after a hard day’s work, for a ‘needy’ person who hasn’t earned my valued pay; that is simply unacceptable.

So you see, the way forward is not through government intervention, which has a long history of failure, but through voluntary charity toward others. Just stop for a second, and help others who just need a tree limb removed, or perhaps are sick and can’t cut their grass. You can do something nice, that doesn’t take too long, and doesn’t cost you anything, without having to sacrifice your hard earned time and money to someone who hasn’t earned it.

The welfare state will collapse eventually, perhaps it is much better that we learn to help one another through acts of generosity, rather than through taxation and looting.

After all, isn’t that what this country was founded upon? Weren’t we founded upon the rejection of taxation without representation? Weren’t we founded upon the idea of governing ourselves and taking care of ourselves?

Try applying self sufficiency and voluntary acts of generosity to your life, and I guarantee you will feel happier and more fulfilled because of it.