L. Neil Smith's
Number 347, December 11, 2005

"So You Actually Have to be Able to Think"

So You Actually Have to be Able to Think
by Ron Beatty

Exclusive to TLE

As I was driving into town today, thinking over some of the past posts on Smithlist, I got to pondering on some things and decided to write down what I am thinking and feeling. I guess you could call this my philosophy of life.

I don't really understand the mindset of those who want to control and dominate other people's lives. I don't understand those who feel that they have the right to tell everyone else what to do, or think, or believe. I've got enough problems running my own life, I'll be damned if I have enough time to try and run anyone else's. I'm just going to try and break this down into a few discrete segments, and see what happens.


  • I have friends from all paths, and none. Kate is Wiccan. Neil is atheist. Others are Christian, or Jewish, or Islamic or Pagan, of one form or another. The only thing I really look for as far as religion goes in any of my friends or acquaintances is the idea that they follow their own path and leave me to follow mine, none of us harming others unnecessarily. I don't even know what to call myself, except a seeker, on a search for the Light, in whatever form that takes. And you know what? It doesn't matter. I remember reading something once, in reference to religion. It went: There are many mountain tops, but they all reach for the stars. Thinking on it a little, I can see that that just might be the truth. Isn't it about time we got past the labels, and started looking at the person behind them?


  • All of us, every single day, see some article or other, or run into some manifestation of intolerance, bigotry, close-mindedness, hatred, or sheer stupidity. None of us has the wisdom or the right to tell anyone else how to live. The only thing any of us has the right to do is to expect fair treatment for our own actions, and to treat others the same way we would wish to be treated. That's what the Zero Agression Principle is all about. The same thing could be said for the Golden Rule or the Wiccan Rede. They all mean the same thing: Treat others the way you would want to be treated. None of them mean that you have to be a doormat, or that you can't respond to violence or hatred directed against you. They mean only that you don't initiate violence unprovoked, and that is all. Sometimes that can be a little tricky, so you actually have to be able to think, to realize that your actions have consequences, and that what seems innocent at first, may have negative effects later. This requires that you be considerate of others, even if they may not believe or think or act the way that you would. It requires that you make an effort to understand others, to realize that everyone isn't the same, and to realize that not everyone is the same as you.


  • This is a hard one. To my mind, our present government is nothing more than an organized crime cartel: stealing, controlling, selling 'protection', then not delivering. Most other governments are no better. I realize that not everyone agrees with this view. For those who disagree, I would like to pose a question to you. What can government do for you that you can't do better for yourself? Protect you? In what way? If a criminal attacks you, is government right there for you, immediately? Or are you going to sit there, helpless, until someone can be bothered to anwer at the dispatch room, make notes on your call, find an officer who isn't busy and is also close enough to get there, get on the radio, tell the officer where to go and what to expect when he gets there, then wait for the officer to actually make it to your location? If you protect yourself, you can respond to the emergency in seconds. If you wait for government, you just might die before they get there, if they respond at all.
  • No, most things government does can be done much more simply by either doing it yourself or contracting out to private companies, and probably much cheaper as well, since private companies have to compete to stay in business. Private companies have to respond to the needs of their customers, and have to do it quickly, efficiently and as inexpensively as possible.
  • With no competition, government has become corrupt, inefficient and unresponsive. The only time government even pretends to care about those they consider to be serfs is during election season, and now that they have effectively subverted the ballot process with electronic voting with no paper trail, even that is becoming a very unfunny joke.

Love and loving:

  • I've talked on this subject before in various articles and in posts on Smithlist, but I want to go over it one more time.
  • Love is a gift of the Light. No person, group, organization, church or government has either the right or the authority to limit, legislate, ration, restrict or regulate that gift. No one can tell you who to love. It doesn't matter what the gender is, or how many you love. That is between you and your own personal moral and ethical code. Unless whatever supreme being that you believe in comes down and personally tells you different, no one else has that right.
  • Along this same line, the same applies to marriage. Marriage is a social contract between consenting adults. It is religious only insofar as the contracting parties wish it to be. Neither the number or the gender of the contracting parties has any bearing whatsoever on the fact of marriage.
  • I know there will be some who will say that 'gay' marriage devalues the whole institution of marriage. I ask one simple question of those people: If your marriage is strong, how can what someone else does, that doesn't affect you in the slightest, have any effect on your marriage? So what if two men decide to marry, or two women for that matter? How is that your business? So what if your neighbor has two wives or two husbands (or more?) How does that effect you? Short answer: It doesn't. Mind your own damned business.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is this: Take care of your own business instead of trying to nibshit in anyone else's. Don't try to make someone over, let them be themselves, as long as they aren't harming anyone.

Steve Trinward has a song. It's called "Living Liberty." Part of the chorus is: live and let live, give and let give. I think what he's trying to say with that song is fairly simple. Live your own life, not anyone else's. Give love, give help, give friendship, but do it because you want to, of your own free will, not because you're forced to, or because the money is stolen from you in taxes, fees, regulations or by whatever other means might be used.

Live and let live, give and let give. Be who and what you are, because you want to be that way. Give others the same respect and courtesy.

Is that really so hard to do?


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