"Freedom is not synonymous with an easy life"

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One of the reasons I'm proud to have earned my Eagle Scout award is that it was hard. And that's one of the reasons I applaud the Boy Scouts' decision to create a path to Eagle for girls, too.

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes -- one that appeals simultaneously to the conservative and the libertarian in me:

"What I am working for is a free and responsible society. But freedom is not synonymous with an easy life." - Margaret Thatcher

There are too many Pied Pipers in America today -- people who promise to make things better in an easy way

I think the way that "struggle" is defined and understood marks one of the big differences between philosophy on the left and philosophy on the right.

For the left, struggle is usually defined as something people do in groups against whomever they believe to have power. Senator Bernie Sanders wants people to join a group he's calling "Our Revolution" -- straight out of the marketing playbook of Chairman Mao. It's always about having to link arms with everyone around before you can stand up.

For the right -- at least historically -- struggle is a personal challenge. It's every woman and man struggling against their own internal limitations and shortcomings. It's about the struggle to overcome human frailty by aspiring to refine one's own character.

What I'm tired of hearing is the modern-day corruption of all this into a sloppy blend of the two -- a sort of philistine philosophy of everyone-for-themselves, but also it's-never-your-fault -- a myth that someone else is trying to take away your birthright not to have to struggle against yourself. That's the worst of both worlds, and there's a lot of it going on right now...especially from people who put more energy into finding someone else to blame for bad things than into helping people see for themselves that, most of the time, we're responsible for our own bootstraps.

Teddy Roosevelt once said:

"Help a man to help himself, but do not expend all your efforts in helping a man who will not help himself.

Please think of those words the next time you hear anyone -- on the left or the right -- try to tell you that they can make everything better for you with more power and more control over you. Please push back every time -- whether that's a new regulation, a new tariff, or a new restriction of any other sort on what people can choose to do. The really good ideas should be justified enough to overcome the resistance, but we have to first offer that resistance.

Look instead to those who propose a model that says: If you put in the effort to improve yourself, we'll do what's reasonable and proper to help match that effort.

Brian Gongol

Brian Gongol

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