Worldview: Infamy: on why never forgetting matters

via https://www.recreation.gov/showPage.do?name=landing&landing=/htm/pearlharbor/home.jsp&contractCode=NRSO&parkId=72369

The USS Arizona Memorial via Recreation.gov

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was correct when he declared that December 7th, 1941 would be a day that will live in infamy. The brutal Japanese attack on the US bases at Pearl Harbor shocked what had been just before a naive and isolationist nation into realizing the reality of the state of the world and plunged it into three and a half years of some of the most brutal warfare the world has ever known.

Yet, 75 years later, it is easy to forget the lessons Americans needed to learn from that event and to imagine lessons that should be forgotten.

The fact is that we should not remember Pearl Harbor out of some sense of xenophobia or bigotry or fear. It is easy to imagine that we should be suspect of those different from us and cast them as enemies, but if we were to do so, we would be wrong. The attack on Pearl Harbor was about far different lessons.

Instead, we should remember Pearl Harbor, and indeed all of World War Two, for what it represents about the world. The world is an unsettled, dangerous place, and it always has been. There has never been a time when the price of liberty is not eternal vigilance, and even when we are most vigilant, those who oppose us retain the ability to strike.

But, instead of despairing and fearing that reality, it should prompt us to adhere even more fully to the ideals that should define us. We should advance liberty even more. We should protect the oppressed with more zeal. We should prove to the whole world why we are a beacon rather than a blight.

It is by remembering the nature of our darkest days that we remember who we are. We must take hold of the ideals those events woke and put them into action. We must not let the darkness overcome the light. This is why we remember.

Never forget.

DLH

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Worldview: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Liberty, and Choices

Over the past several weeks, I’ve seen a lot of posts from a lot of people on the idea of shopping on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Online Monday, all all the other money spending days before Christmas that have come to represent our holiday season.

I respect the sentiments of the people who want to salvage holidays and redirect the money spent on those days to other things. I also respect the liberty people exercise when they choose to work and shop on those days. Whether or not I choose to participate is irrelevant to what anyone else decides to do, and everyone should be at liberty to make their own choice.

But understand, that whatever you decide to do, you are making choices. Powerful choices.

You see, the most democratic action any person in the world engages in is how he or she spends money. In spending money, each person decides what, how much, and to whom his or her money should go. That choice reverberates with every person who touches every dollar someone spends and echoes around the world.

I could selfishly try to persuade people to spend money the way I think it should be spent, but the fact is that persuasion is just my opinion. Sure, I think people should shop as locally as possible, select merchants that treat their employees fairly and their customers honestly, and use their money to help their neighborhoods, communities, and states before anything else. But, I realize that opinion is just one among many.

I don’t care all that much if someone does or does not decide to shop on a certain day or a certain place so much as I care whether that person thought through what they were doing before they did it. What I want during this holiday shopping season–and during every other time anyone spends money–is for people to be aware of what their money is doing. As surely as I want people to vote with a full view of the consequences in mind, I want them to spend with the same way of thinking.

I suspect that, if people thought more about how they spent their money before they spent it, the world would look quite a bit different than it does. So, I challenge you: prove me right or prove me wrong. Think about it and be content with your choice.

DLH

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Worldview: 9-11

Eleven years on.

For some, the memory fades. It seems like the wounds may have finally begun to heal. Maybe it’s time to look to other things.

Only for some.

I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but I can tell you that the memories of that day are as fresh as if they’re still happening. Perhaps it was because I wore the uniform that day. Perhaps it is because so many of us knew something was coming. Perhaps it is because some of us pay more attention than most. Whatever it is, the memory is still fresh and raw.

And it should be.

So many people believe that the threat represented by the attacks on September 11, 2001 were an anomaly. They want to believe the threat has passed. They want to believe we are safer than we were.

We are not.

Some will claim my view is fear mongering. Some will demand my silence. I cannot be silent. We are not safe, and as long as we are threatened, fear prevents us from being truly free.

For me, the events of this day eleven years ago drove home a single point: the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. I stood on the line then, and in my own way, I stand on the line now.

I have not forgotten. I will never forget.

DLH

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Worldview: Merry Christmas

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,a and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” John 1:1-5, 14, 16-18 ESV

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Worldview: 9-12

So, now what are you going to do?

For most people, it’s just another Monday. We remembered yesterday, reminisced, maybe read some stories from that day, watched a profile or a service on TV, maybe even shed a few tears. For most people, it’s time to get back to normal life, to put that bad stuff behind us. Ten years is enough remembering right?

But for a few of you, doubt remains. Is this all there is? Is this normalcy what I’m supposed to be doing?

If you will allow me, I am talking to you, the latter who have doubts.

Everything did change ten years ago yesterday. Our enemies revealed the flaws in the great city shining on the hill that is the United States. We made those flaws cracks by our own incessant disunity. Now everything is crumbling.

Yet, this is not the end.

The history of the human race is one of ebbs and flows. Great nations rise, only to crumble and collapse, then to be replaced by others. Throughout it all, people endure as they always have.

The great revelation the United States brought to the world is the notion of the equal liberty of all individuals, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, or religion. No, this has not been an easy or consistent revelation, but the cause of individual liberty is not one that will die even if the United States does.

And in that cause, I find a new beginning. It is almost inevitable that the United States will be replaced by something else, whether that happens now or at some time in the future. For those of us who have the benefit of history, intellect, and foresight, the thing that must now confront us is the realization that we must prepare now for whatever might come next.

What do these preparations look like? Well, if the foundation of this next era is the cause of individual liberty, then such preparations must conform to that foundation.

What we know about liberty is that it is not a license but a responsibility. Liberty has a cost that has to be paid, and the cost of liberty, in the end, is every individual’s responsibility.

What that means, to me, is that we must prepare for whatever comes next by focusing on the nature of the cost of liberty. To me, the nature of that cost is every individual succeeding on the merits of his or her own effort.

Now, this kind of success is not some sort of idealistic individualism. It is not possible for most people to survive without the benefit of others. However, every person must dedicate himself to the fulfillment of the tasks he undertakes, figuring out how to minimize his burden to others while creating the maximum benefit.

In fact, that state of affairs—everyone working together to their maximum potential—represents the way that some of the most fantastic advancements in human history have occurred: the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution.

So what remains is for each person to figure out how to best be a part of that state of affairs in the face of whatever might come next. This realization happens as each person discovers the best way to apply his effort within communities that will best benefit from that effort.

I grant that this is not an easy task, but if you believe that there has to be something more, then it is a necessary task.

It is my hope and my prayer that you will realize these things for yourself and will join me in accepting this challenge in the time to come.

DLH

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Worldview: 9-11

I solemnly swear that I will always remember what happened on September 11, 2001.

I will not forget.

I will not forget that nearly 3,000 of my fellow Americans were murdered in the name of an ideology of hate.

I will not forget that my inalienable right is liberty.

I will not forget that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

I will not forget that the price of liberty is mine to pay.

I will not forget my brothers and sisters who give freely of themselves to ensure the liberty of others.

I will not stand by and watch my liberty or anyone else’s be taken away.

And I affirm that I will do everything within my power to uphold and advance the cause of liberty.

I will succeed on the merits of my own work.

I will, as I am able, encourage and help others to do the same.

I will not forget charity.

I will stand for liberty for as long as I have breath.

And when my time comes, I will do my best to ensure what I have done lays the foundation for those who follow after.

To this I pledge myself, my honor, and my life. May the God of my fathers grant me success.

Dennis L Hitzeman

September 11, 2011

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Worldview: 9-10

Sometimes, it seems like it was just yesterday. I remember sitting at my desk at work when the news the first plane hit broke. We were all clustered around the television when the second one did. A dozen military men, we all knew, even at that moment: we were at war.

In the next few days, the speculation in the circles I traveled in at the time was rampant, but many of us had a feeling: al Qaeda. The memory of the attack on the USS Cole was fresh enough that they were the first and most likely suspect. Who else would hijack planes as weapons? Yet we knew, whoever it was that did this to us, we were at war.

In the next weeks and months, our government confirmed that the attack was, indeed, carried out by al Qaeda, and our commander-in-chief dedicated us to rooting them out of Afghanistan and delivered a stern warning to the world: stand with us or stand against us. There was no middle ground. We were at war.

Except we weren’t.

A lot of people said in the days after 9-11 that everything changed, and in a way they were right. In the days since that horrible event, and unbelievable number of Americans have convinced themselves that everything but the truth is true.

Ivory tower academics and self-deluded pundits declare that America was to blame for what happened on 9-11. The news and the internet are full of journalists and talking heads insisting that our response to those events were overwrought, unjustified, even criminal. An entire segment of American society chose to respond to the recent death of Osama bin Laden by chiding Americans for celebrating the death of a bloodthirsty enemy.

In the ten years since 9-11, something has changed, something deep, sinister, and self-destructive. We now live in an era when a rapper can declare “Fuck the army troops” and claim gangsters are harder than combat veterans and people just shrug. We live in a society when reporters can write and say that the war in Afghanistan was an unjustified exercise in nation building, and most people believe that is true.

Instead of being at war with our enemy, we are at war with ourselves, and we seem very close to victory.

The sad fact of 9-11 ten years on is that, I believe, we have doomed ourselves to repeat history like we have so many times before. We have not learned anything. Instead, we have deceived ourselves into believing in a reality that never has been true, and it is almost inevitable that we will pay the price for that deception again.

For me, what remains ten years since 9-11 is the lingering thought that those of us who understood what changed that day must prepare ourselves and anyone who might listen for the eventuality of what may come next. We have to face the fact that things have changed and that someone has to be ready, even if everyone else believes it can’t possibly happen.

For those of us who get it, who understand what changed ten years ago, we cannot forget, we cannot tire, we cannot fail. Let’s roll.

DLH

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Worldview: And you call yourself independent…

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. — The 9th Amendment to the US Constitution

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. — The 10th Amendment to the US Constitution

Once upon a time, the United States was founded on the principle that the best way for people to live was to maximize their liberty and minimize their governments. In an effort to ensure that state of affairs, the founders of the United States crafted a Constitution and ten amendments designed to ensure that the federal government was bounded and that the liberty of the people was unbounded. Certainly, that founding document had glaring flaws, left certain things unresolved, and failed to anticipate things that have since occurred, yet the principle ideal was sound then and is sound now.

At least, it is sound in theory. Unfortunately, over the intervening 235 years, many Americans have decided that the liberty granted them by foresight, determination, and blood was just too much for them. They have traded their liberty for security, are deserving of neither, and have lost both.

Most Americans see no irony in the fact that they have allowed their government to violate the Constitution by allowing it to force them to pay for unemployment security, medical security, and retirement security; every one of which programs are failing to deliver on their promises while simultaneously bankrupting even those who do not want to participate in them.

And that last part is the real rub. Certainly, it is possible under the ideals of liberty for a group to decide to cede their liberty, but what has happened, especially in the last half of the 20th century, is that some groups have  forced all groups to give up liberty.

So, what are you celebrating if you celebrate independence today? How do you exercise your independence–not just the several liberties guaranteed by the amendments but the innumerable ones not enumerated there? If you are dependent on the government can you even celebrate independence?

These are hard things, and they are supposed to be hard. Liberty is hard. Freedom is hard. The things the founders did were hard. The things 235 years worth of patriots did to secure our nation were hard. Now it’s our turn, and if we do not get to work, we are going to lose what they secured for us.

DLH

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Worldview: Overlord

67 years ago today, the allied forces of the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Poland, and others fought one of the most significant battles in human history against the occupying forces of Nazi Germany. The Allies won that battle by a mixture of daring, tenacity, and wisdom that has rarely been shown since.

Why remember such an event? Because, like all history, it is our privilege to learn the lessons discovered by their blood sweat and sacrifice. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

DLH

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