Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, And a Message of Optimism

Merry Christmas to one and all, and may the New Year be everything you hope for, provided you hope for nothing amiss. I want to sincerely thank my regular readers and to extend special gratitude to those who've recently begun visiting Shaving Leviathan.

There's so much bad news to struggle against right now that Christmas presents a golden opportunity to remind ourselves of some of the many good things still extant.

Wealth is one, though that may seem counterintuitive just now. It's certainly true that much is headed south in the economy, and will likely get worse before it gets better with the Feds spending like crack-addicted sailors.

It remains true that most Americans (and most in other Western-style countries) live better than we ever have materially. The average home size is larger than it was 40 years ago. Families have two cars, on average. Phones, are ubiquitous, as are digital TVs, computers, and much else.

Beyond the material ease and comfort such things bring, there is a spiritual dimension to wealth that's often overlooked or even chastised. The variety of books, magazines, entertainment, and information is astounding. If you're fascinated by ancient Chinese pottery or the cuisine of Iceland, there's a publication tailor-made for your interest.

Money doesn't buy happiness. But it definitely provides opportunities that allow us, still living in relative freedom, to pursue the values we cherish to make ourselves happy, provided we're wise enough to cherish something. Foreigners from China, the Middle East, and elsewhere who embrace American ideals recognize this at once. It's good for natives to remember it from time to time, yours truly included. And America is far from the only country where these ideals are still valued and pursued.

We still have freedom of speech, despite the efforts of too many university professors and politicians who would like to see much less of it. We have the material means via the Internet and blogs to broadcast our opinions to a potentially large audience for only the cost of our time and a cheap connection. Unlike times past, it will prove increasingly difficult for the control-hungry to impose any kind of orthodoxy by force.

Those in power aren't listening much right now to the right voices. But the sharp and spirited reactions when gas prices rose above $4 a gallon a few months ago, which helped (at least temporarily) kill off a vicious cap-and-trade bill, show that evil can be defeated.

It's also true, despite frequent evidence presented by mainstream news outlets, that the majority of people in the country are not evil, far from it. They're not dedicated to the enslavement and robbery of their fellow citizens. That type is still a minority.

There is a great deal of confusion — even among those who genuinely desire more freedom, justice, and prosperity — as to how to navigate to bountiful land. That presents an opportunity to provide clearer critiques and better solutions to all and sundry. Ideas continue to drive the trend of choices and the better arguments can eventually win. There are literally dozens of prominent voices with more or less the right views. They can become dominant again and now is no time to let up or become discouraged.

Shaving Leviathan is proud to be a part of that effort, and I'll be eternally grateful to all those who make it possible. Happy holidays and my very best wishes for your continued flourishing in every respect.

Jeff Perren

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