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A Free Country

Veep Watch: Smart Money’s On Mitt. He’s been trading above 70% on InTrade all day, the day that McCain has announced that he’s picked his guy. Roll Call says there’s been a security sweep on the Romney family. I have no inside info, but I’m betting it’s Mitt.

And if it’s Mitt, I’ll vote for McCain. Sorry, Jacques.

I’m caving because the Dems are so loathsome this time around. This convention is seriously bumming me out. I heard pieces of Joe Biden’s speech on the radio last night – it was astonishing. This is the worst economy EVER! (Except today’s numbers show it grew at a rate of 3.3% last quarter.) America does NOTHING to give people a hand up! (Except for hundreds of billions in stimulus checks and a multi-trillion dollar bailout of Fannie and Freddie Mac.)

“Compassion” is defined as “governmental redistribution of wealth.” It’s all so much piffle. Expensive, totalitarian piffle, sure, but piffle nonetheless.

It reminds me of a story when I was a missionary in Scotland. A British elder told me of a greenie companion he had who, fresh from the States, spent about a week getting his bearing before making an observation.

“I dunno. This country seems pretty free,” he said.

This made my British friend laugh. Apparently, this kid believed all his life that America was the only free country in the world. Yet it begs the question – what is a free country? Freedom, it seems, is more easily identified in its absence. Some countries – Cuba comes to mind – are literally prisons – you can’t come and go as you please, and everything you do is subject to government monitoring and approval. But what about the Scots? Are they free? Sure, Britain protects free speech and free assembly, but at the time this missionary made his pronouncement, the UK was taxing every dollar earned above $70,000 at a 98% tax rate. Are you free if you’re not capable of managing your own property?

And where does that leave us?

The Book of Mormon recounts the story of King Limhi, described as being in “bondage” to the Lamanites because his people are forced to cough up “a tribute to the Lamanites of one half of all they possessed.” (Mosiah 19:22)

“And now, is not this grievous to be borne?” the King asks rhetorically. “And is not this, our affliction, great?”

Between federal, state, and local taxes, including property tax, sales tax, and everything else, a fifty-percent tax rate looks like a bargain today.

Obama’s more concerned with fairness than he is with freedom. The two concepts, however, are often mutually exclusive, especially when Washington gets involved. To make things fair, you have to make someone else a little less free. That was the case in Scotland, where rich and poor alike lived in dumpy council houses owned by the government.

Fairness can’t lift up the losers, so it tears down the winners. I prefer freedom.

Incidentally, when I was 11, I entered a songwriting contest with a song about freedom. I can only remember one stanza, because it’s so laughably awful that I ought to share it with you.

If our freedom were taken away
Tomorrow or some other day
In our death beds we would lay
Unhappy evermore.

Remarkably, I didn’t win. That’s because back then, this country was more free and less fair – you actually had to achieve to get recognition.

I think those who lay in their deathbeds are probably unhappy, though. Especially if they’re laying eggs.

Clintons and Communist Clothing
Veep Watch: I spoke too soon!

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