What makes a community?

People of like mind choose to work together to create an environment friendly to their desired way of life. It requires teamwork and some tolerance of different views, but if the people disagree more than they agree, it is not a community.

A town is a larger form of community. A city can be composed of many communities, since the chances of all its inhabitants agreeing on everything are slim. But even a population as diverse as is found in most cities tend to adhere to some agreed upon standards.

Likewise, a state is a confluence of cities and towns and communities wherein the citizens try to agree on some unifying standards.

A nation is a larger state. With each expansion of people, the things that make a community are less cohesive, but they still exist. Laws are passed by representatives of the majority and adherence to those laws gives the nation an identity. The laws are intended to ensure compatibility to a set of standards that make a community. If a nation had no laws, there would be no unifying purpose – no sense of community.

There will always be some people who choose to defy some of the laws. Even if the majority agrees, some individuals will not. But, for the most part, the people in a nation accept the moral, cultural and legal precepts that define the nation. For those who are born there and do not accept these standards, life can be difficult. Some will emigrate, but that is not an option for most.

When people do decide to leave the confines of one community to relocate to another, we might assume they would seek to relocate to a community that better meets their standards. If their new home does not offer the lifestyle they seek, we might also assume they would choose differently. Apparently, we would be assuming incorrectly because many people leaving their old country are so desperate to leave that they don’t choose all that carefully. Will they be happy in a community that does not share their cultural standards or agree with what they think the law should be?

If we were heartless and uncaring we could say, “That’s their problem”. But isn’t it also a problem for those who have created a community that these newcomers have decided to inhabit?

On the one hand, it seems charitable and humanitarian to say that everyone should be free to live wherever they wish. But in that same vein, is it not reasonable to protect the rights of those who are already there – who have worked to make a community of their collective choosing?

Borders do more than define a geographic region. They ensure the right of people to live as they choose among people who, although they may not always agree, share enough commonality to live in relative harmony.

A world without borders would be a world without communities.

Gender Identity

I recently read an article by Denise Shick, the author of “My Daddy’s Secret”, “When Hope Seems Lost” and “Understanding Gender Confusion”. In the article, she discusses her father’s journey from identifying as male to identifying as female and how this affected her, her mother and her father. It is an interesting perspective.

My own interest in this subject comes not from an identity crisis but a different type of philosophical crisis. I have spent most of my life walking the thin line between libertarianism and anarchy. I believe strongly in the rights of the individual to live as he/she sees fit, but also recognize the need for individuals to compromise their own self-interest at times, for the sake of a functioning society.

The smallest, most intimate form of society is the family unit. Ms. Shick’s works demonstrate how disruptive one person’s search for self-satisfaction can be on all the other individuals in that family. But is it fair to ask anyone to live a life of quiet desperation for the sake of others? The answer lies in the individual’s level of commitment to the family that will be affected.

Societal norms change. We of a certain age – members of the “Boomer Generation” – have witnessed quite a bit of change. Many of us are shocked by the recent demands for acceptance of untraditional lifestyles. We shouldn’t be. It was our generation that started the movement for individualism. Just because we didn’t predict where it would lead doesn’t mean we aren’t responsible. This is the natural progression of our own acts. We need to own it.

Nor should we be surprised by the breakdown of the family unit. We broke the barriers that had prevented us from living together without marriage. We considered commitment as an unnecessary obstacle to “free love”. If we didn’t need to commit to marriage, it follows that we wouldn’t need to feel any obligation to the well-being of the families we create.

When an individual’s happiness is seen as more important than the happiness of our spouses or our children, the society formally known as “family” is irrelevant. And if we can ignore the well-being of our own families, it is easy to care less about the effect our actions have on the larger society.

We are the original “Me Generation”. This is on us.

America needs a third political party

We elect politicians who promise to go to Washington and get things done, but nothing seems to get done in Washington, DC. What does get done usually has dire consequences for the rest of us. And when we are unhappy with the results, we’re told that gridlock is to blame. Democrats blame Republicans. Republicans blame Democrats. According to the political class, no one is responsible for anything – but the other guys are responsible for everything.

If the two major parties are ever going to accomplish anything we need a third party to take the blame. I hereby announce the founding of…

The Responsible Party.

No one from this new party will ever get elected, of course. And, despite the fact that no one in The Responsible Party will ever hold office or create any new laws, The Responsible Party will always be at fault.

Now, instead of Republicans and Democrats bickering over who is to blame they’ll be free to actually govern. I’m not sure that will improve things, but I’m willing to give it a try. After all, what we’ve been doing isn’t working, so in the words of our current President Obama, “It’s time to try something new”.

In an effort to get this new thing moving, I offer myself as The Responsible Party’s candidate for President of the United States. I’m pretty sure no one else will volunteer, so I’ll make the ultimate sacrifice. Well, it’s not really much of a sacrifice since I’m confident I don’t stand a chance of actually getting elected.
And that’s fine with me.

It’s about time someone took responsibility for all the mistakes the political class makes. Now everyone can blame me.

You can blame me, but please don’t vote for me. I’ve been to DC. It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.