Freedom or Equality part 2

Red = 70%+ Republican Blue = 70%+ Democrat Purple = Balanced

Red = 70%+ Republican
Blue = 70%+ Democrat
Purple = Balanced

Inherent within the idea of a country are the concepts of the individual and the communal.  These are currently seen as combative elements which are held in tension by the rule of law to protect the weak from the strong, the few from the many and the individual from the collective, while allowing for ease of commerce of goods, services and thoughts between the individuals.  The larger the collective community, the greater the necessity for legal protection of the individual (and subsequent enforcement) and the greater the necessity of the individual to sacrifice their freedoms for the good of the whole.  Think of a gear-head working on his small-block chevy engine in the middle of the night – no problem in the middle of an Iowa cornfield, big problem in a cul-de-sac in the suburbs of Anytown, USA.

You can see this clearly reflected in the voting patterns of our country.  There are not blue states and red states, there are blue cities and red rural areas.  If you were to overlay a map of population densities, you would see a direct corollary with very few exceptions.  It is a different world when you have 1 family per square mile as opposed to 250,000 families per square mile, and the need for legal restrictions floats on the same continuum.  The divide, according to David Troy at, seems to be 88 people per square mile.  If an area had more than 88ppl/sq. mi. there was a 66% chance they voted for Obama in 2012, and if the area had less than 88ppl/sq. mi. there was a 66% chance they voted for Romney.

In the Old West where guns were a tool you carried on your person, you had to check your gun at the town limits. There was a reason for this, and there still is.  Cities concentrate wealth, opportunity, poverty, disease, charity, culture, crime, waste, arts, museums, ghettos and slums – humanity concentrated, the good and the bad.  Laws should reflect this same tendency.

Both Freedom and Equality require the rule of Law in order to thrive.  Law therefore cannot afford to be either capricious or homogenous.  The Rule of Law tied to a population density continuum.  This would have its own set of complexities, but holds some potential.  An example could be the previously discussed gun laws: If you live in an area of greater than 88 ppl./sq. mi. you have stricter gun laws and fewer purchasing options, but if you live in an area of less than 88 ppl./sq. mi. you have more relaxed gun laws and greater purchasing options.

What are your thoughts?


Freedom or Equality

USA Flag Map

USA Flag Map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a political post.  I say that in fair warning.  Not that I am running for an office, or trying to convert my readers to a different party; but simply that it will be about politics.  So if you love politics, read on.  If you truly hate politics, read on 🙂

Instead of trying to bash one side of the American political spectrum while praising the other, I am going to try to share what I see as the best aspects of each, and begin a conversation about a possible better way forward.

The Republican party seems to primarily be about individual freedom and its corollary of individual responsibility within a community governed by law.

The Democratic party seems to primarily be about equality of all persons and its corollary of social responsibility within a community governed by law.

We could, if we wanted to pick straw men of each party and bash them in general, but I have found many people whom I respect on either side of the proverbial aisle.

These two perspectives are both noble, both grounded in our earliest documents and are both attempting to create the best possible world as they see it.

Freedom taken to its logical conclusion leads to anarchy, self-centeredness and ultimately tyranny of the strong over the weak.

Equality taken to its logical conclusion leads to mediocrity, loss of self and ultimately tyranny of the government over the individual.

Neither option is bad in its motivation.  Neither option is good in its destination.

The greater the personal freedom, the greater the inequality.  The greater the equality, the greater the loss of freedom.  Freedom priveleges the strong, the hard working, the intelligent, the “best and brightest” among us.  Equality priveleges the weak, the disabled, the dull, the “least of these”.

The question is how do we in “the land of the free and the home of the brave” honor the belief that “all men are created equal”?

Tomorrow’s post will posit a way forward, but first I would like to hear your thoughts.  Do you see a via media?

The Most Important Day of your next Vacation – Recovery Day

A True vacation spirit

A True vacation spirit (Photo credit: Kenzoka)

90+% of the time that we go on vacation, we go to see family.  This is for several reasons:

1. They are important to us, and we want to be with them

2. We don’t get to see them nearly often enough

3. We want our kids to be connected to the Family Tree, not just our branch

4. It’s cheaper than a hotel and fast food

5. It takes almost no planning at all

However, both my parents and my wife’s parents live quite some distance from us.  We live in Western New York, my parents in Western North Carolina and my wife’s parents in Western Kentucky.  We are all west of somewhere, but then who isn’t?  It takes us approximately 11 hours to get to my parents and around 13 hours to get to my wife’s.

We enjoy a vastly different experience at the different sets of grandparents.  My parents live on a gravel road in the middle of land owned by our family since the Civil War and before.  Their “farm” (the name has lasted through over 40 years of non-farming reality) is adjacent to the South Fork of the New River, contains a year-round creek that runs through the heart of the property, woods, fields and thousands of family memories.  A trip to the Farm usually consists of the hunting of crawdads, the canoeing of the New River, puttering around in their garden, walking the hills and trails and some sort of buidling/repair project.

Ashley’s parents are currently in their fourth home in the same town, which they are the first of their family to live in.  They love shopping, going to the movies, playing with the grandkids, traveling and giving gifts to those they love (oddly enough, that even includes me!)  Two vastly different experiences.  One rural, the other urban, or at least sub-urban.  One focused on activity, the other on relationship.  Both are wonderful, both are exhausting…or at least the long drive home with four kids in the minivan certainly is.

This is why several years ago we initiated the Recovery Day.

Recovery Day is the last day of vacation, and it must be at home.  This day enables a later than normal rising from bed, a top-to-bottom cleaning of the van, a doing of laundry, a catching up on school work and most importantly – sleeping in our own beds prior to returning to the normal workaday reality.  It allows for a stress-less reentry, and keeps you from feeling you need a vacation to recover from, well, your vacation.