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Target: America

The country I'd like to live in.

by James Leroy Wilson
October 19, 2005

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Target: America

In his self-help book Unleash the Warrior Within, Richard J. Machowicz writes about fulfilling desire in terms of "targets" instead of the often-used "goals." I prefer targets. I hear "goal," I see a hockey net, teammates who are "supposed" to be on the same page, opponents with angry dispositions, and a man guarding the net. You can get very, very close to the goal but oh so far away, because you are behind the net. Whereas, when I hear "target" I think of, well, a target; the closer to the center the better. No one's trying to stop you, and you have no one to blame. In the target approach, the mind guides the body, with success determined before the arrow is even airborne. With the proper mindset, our subconscious programming directs our actions in an efficient, effective, and effortless manner. We work better when we're not thinking about how hard we have to work, when we enjoy what we're doing.

But it is not only in accomplishing tasks large and small that I prefer the target concept. I prefer looking at life's plane as a large target, and the purpose is to get from where I am to where I want to be physically, mentally, and spiritually. Life isn't about achieving goals for their own sake, but rather about moving to the center of that target. There's a certain finality to achieving one's goals, and one can accomplish all that he thought he wanted to accomplish yet remain unhappy. If one's "ultimate goal" is achieved, then there's nothing left to live for. But if we instead move closer to a destination, to the center of one's life target, we give purpose and direction to the lesser "goals" or targets faced along the way. And because we will never reach the perfect "center," we can always move closer; life will always be worth living.

Politics is also about moving to a "target," about moving society from where it is to where one thinks it ought to be. Despite what anyone may insist, this isn't just about economics, but also society's "mental" and "spiritual" well-being. We each want everyone else to have our beliefs and values, and we're frustrated that they don't. And then we assume character defects in our opponents for disagreeing with us. (And, really, how can this not be true? It other people's values are disordered, how can their "character" not be also?)

We ultimately argue from the heart. Not from reason, not from utility. While I believe second-hand smoke is a highly overrated, almost fictional health threat, if it was indeed dangerous, I would still believe in the right of property owners, not the State, to make their own smoking policies. And though "more guns, less crime" appears to be true, even if it weren't I would still passionately believe in the right of self-defense. I can't be proven wrong on the facts or the outcomes; when it comes to heartfelt beliefs I can't be proven wrong at all.

Unlike gun grabbers and smoking banners, I just do not accept that coercion js required for the moral and material progress of society. And would prefer that everyone else shared my views, even if the result was the slowing down of our rate of "advancement" (though I doubt that would be the case). But we are in a country and a world increasingly shaped by centralized, authoritarian elements. Individual liberty is giving way to censored political speech, National ID cards, gun confiscations, and greater electronic monitoring. What was once considered local, like education, has come under state and now federal jurisdiction. Crime has also become federalized. Security through armed neutrality has given way to needless military alliances and the United Nations. Trade policy has been transferred from Congress to international organizations. Congress also gave away war powers to the President, and legislative powers to regulatory agencies and Presidential executive orders. It has ceded monetary policy to a banking monopoly called the Federal Reserve. Federal courts have stripped away from states and communities the right to make their own laws.

How to we move away from authoritarianism and toward liberty? I am continually split on this issue. My ideal society would have neither the state nor private land monopolies. This places me on the Leftist fringe. But it is a mere intellectual construct; I have no vision of how the stateless society would operate that can be effectively communicated. All I know is of the ill effects of states and monopolies. The problem is, it is easy to point out what is wrong about the State, or otherwise work for change or reform of something. It is harder to integrate it all into a vision, a "target."

So what kind of America do I want - what "there" is there to go to from here? It is one in which the federal government is the servant, not the master, of the state governments, which are themselves the servants of the people. Where maintaining the commonwealth, instead of controlling behavior, has become the role of government.

Where both paranoia and the crusading spirit has died. Where the do-gooders have been discredited. Where there's diversity but not political correctness, tolerance without special rights. Where the Saturday night crowd and the Sunday morning crowd don't blame each other for the country's problems, and leave each other alone.

Where we can have open trade, or at least impartial tariffs, without "globalization" and "free trade agreements." Where America can withdraw from the United Nations and military alliances with far away nations, and maintain an armed neutrality. Where immigration policy is determined not by political correctness but by economic and security interests.

Where environmental stewardship is encouraged by taxes on natural resources and consumption. Where property taxes have been repealed and land value taxes are implemented, reinvigorating the inner cities. Where there is an extensive network of mass transit, and low cost, high speed rail service across the country. And space travel is privatized.

Where doctors do not require licenses, and hospitals and drugs are deregulated to provide low-cost treatment. Where shops can keep whatever hours they want, and sell any goods they want. Where no one is dependent on the government for their health or sustenance. Where budgets are balanced and the value of the dollar is affixed to gold. Where the Postal Service faces free market competition. Where no one has a number, and does not need to do any paperwork to get a job. Where public schools, to the extent they exist, are run by the parents.

Where it wouldn't even occur to federal judges that they have jurisdiction over whether there is prayer in public schools. But also, where it doesn't even occur to the school board to have prayer in school. Where there is no "gay marriage." Where there are no civil marriages at all. Where people are legally free to discriminate whomever they want for whatever reason, but don't.

Where gambling is permitted without state interference, but states do not have lotteries.

And, yes, where anyone can own as many guns as they want, and where property owners can set their own smoking policies.

That's the country I'd like to live in. Who knows if I'll ever get to that country from the one we have, but the important thing is to enjoy the ride.

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