‘Keep the change.” — Yes I will, thank you.

Photo by jcolman

I have seen bumper stickers that proclaim there are people – voters, presumably – who want someone (me? Happily!) to “keep the change.” The message also refers to a preference toward keeping the display owner’s guns, freedom, and money.

Has any entity, state, or jurisdiction restricted gun ownership lately? I can’t find one. And I’d like to see a few, like a twelve-month minimum wait period for any carry permit. Maybe at least two entrepreneurs from Boulder would still be here if such a procedure pertained. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says (I know these displayers have this memorized, but bear with me), “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms . . .” The security of a person is not mentioned. I know, there’s a pile of case law about this matter that is ten feet tall. But don’t forget: in the late 18th century every able-bodied man called to duty to defend his country had to furnish his own weapon. Only during the Civil War did this practice change. Context is important.

As for freedom, I say, if you’ve lost some, where did it go? Did the Wall Street devils take it? They took plenty, but we still have a lot, if we total it up. Freedom is a worthy concept and an even more important practice. It’s a little like low blood pressure. Fail to support it, and it can erode. But along with it come things like responsibility and fidelity to one’s nation and fellow citizens. If these bumper stickers mean the displayer just can’t stand not being able to do exactly as he/she pleases, then Houston, we do have a problem, and it isn’t with “freedom.” But that’s a topic for a dissertation, not an op-ed type of piece. Suffice it to say that if voting against everything and everyone increases one’s freedom, and if freedom is a relative and abstract thing, then why aren’t the Italians much more free than everyone else? They’ve had 67 governments since World War II, and they are still not happy. I think I’d be careful what I wish for.

Last, there’s the money. I infer that this means there are – suffering succotash! – taxes afoot and about. Now, we have something to chew on. If only there were no taxation. Everyone could “keep his” money and make his/her own decisions regarding what to do with it. Of course, there would be more expenditure required for transportation, because taxes build and repair roads, bridges, airports, etc. Taxes also pay for national defense. My guess is these displayers are by their declaration stating their willingness to be first at the beaches or the borders or the World Trade Center, to fend off any and all foreign incursions and threats from any quarter. Of course the displayer can do so (he/she has his musket; see above). Catch some of these bad guys, and do what with them? Prosecution and prisons cost money; that means taxes. Oh, you don’t plan to try or feed or hold them? There goes the freedom! If you don’t give some, you don’t get any. You may not have enough time to travel (without good roads and bridges, remember) to the “front” because you need to spend a LOT of time educating your children. Ask anyone who home-schools children. See, without taxation there are no public schools. If you have any money left over from plowing your roads or buying copious quantities of gasoline to manage the long detours around fallen bridges, you may wish to send Jessica and Jacob to a private school. You will probably have to contribute to building and maintaining it as well. In your spare time. With no government, there WILL be fewer jobs; even public-sector work has an economic multiplier. Do you know anyone who sells anything to any governmental entity? Toilet paper? LaserJet ink cartridges? Faucets? Sorry; account closed! Income down.

Just vote an “anti” ticket and your (our?) problems are solved. If you believe that, there’s some land in Florida I need to show you. It’s wet only part of the year. Easy payments! In the mid-1990s Newt Gingrich and his cohorts took control of Congress and, they believed, almost everything else. That was “change.” Electing a semi-literate ex-governor from right across the street from Russia (that’s why she can see it) would also be a “change.” But by the time displayers of strident bumper stickers figure out that they made one change too many, it may be too late. Or, they could dust off the stickers and change everything again. That’s their right. They are free actors. So were the citizens of Germany in March 1933. They got a change. I’d say it was rather expensive.

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