Letter: Life, liberty and (not) the pursuit of fear

I would like to respond to Mr. Klaus’ Sept. 25 letter, and his comments regarding your Sept. 11 interview with House of Representatives candidate Lawrence Gaughan.

Rest assured the incumbent has been doing lots of things “for” people — they just aren’t the people who live in the 5th District of Virginia. They are the bankers and investors and the likes of those who so quickly snatched up Eric Cantor upon his departure from Congress.

There are the usual assortment of fear-mongering shibboleths about people who are doing things “to me” in Mr. Klaus’ letter — immigrants (!), ISIS (!!), gangs (!!!) and the federal government (comprised solely of the IRS and the EPA, apparently). I personally do not spend my days in fear of any of the above doing things “to me.” But to each their own.

“Free lunch?” Saying he could only do things for people if he first takes from other people? Is there any evidence that making improvements in the quality of life for the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia, and by extension, the people of the United States, is a zero-sum game? Does extending civil rights to others somehow deprive us of ours? Of course not.

This practice of pitting one group against another has been an overt mainstay of the right since Nixon’s “Southern Strategy.” It is a well-worn fallacy, and requires that one simply overlook objective economic facts. I’m sorry Mr. Klaus feels he is losing out to others in this regard, but he needs to look elsewhere for his villains.

I’m also pretty sure the founders did not define liberty as “having someone stopping others from doing things to you.” You can define liberty in a couple of ways — one being the ability to pursue what you choose. Alternatively, you can define it as no one else being able to tell you what to do. However, these definitions are wildly divergent, and only in the most extreme of libertarian ideals does the second prevail. We constantly — and generally without complaint — accept constraints on our actions.

The Declaration of Independence addresses tyranny and liberty. The Constitution (like the Bible, so beloved, so frequently cited, so rarely read) was drafted and ratified exactly because the Articles of Confederation failed to produce the bond among the colonies the founders felt was necessary. The Constitution is a central government, one which has prevailed through trial of fire and blood for over two centuries. It is not socialism.

Finally: It’s a shame folks are still getting riled up about the Affordable Care Act. It is a legislative fix for a free market failure. More people have health insurance in the United States than ever before; health is measurably improving, and guess what — they are paying for it out of their own pockets.

Get over it. I can’t wait for Election Day.

Dennis Kelly
Amissville

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