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Freedom through Self Reliance

Updated on May 13, 2013

“….if we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.”
-Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, November 29, 1802.

If only we could have heeded Jefferson’s warning! In the more than two centuries since Jefferson wrote those words, we have seen a monumental loss of freedom and productivity in this country. Huge sums of money are taken from the people and businesses of this nation; much of that money is used to provide services to people. The question to ask is this: have the services gained been worth the loss of freedom? I think not.

Let me suggest that we return to a time when Self Reliance was king, and Freedom was his queen. From the time of the first colonial found up through much of the 19th century, this was the rule of the land. Those in research today know the saying “publish or perish”. Our predecessors lived by the mantra “succeed or perish”. With nobody to rely on but themselves, our ancestors did succeed and did achieve greatness, all without the help of government assistance or subsidies.

Often times, the people of a community banded together to provide a “service” to everyone. Usually, this service was provided for by volunteer labor. We can still see this today in many rural communities, where you have volunteer fire fighters and EMT’s. In such cases, however, there is no loss of freedom, as these people are volunteers.

There are certain services that our government is expected to provide. On the national level, defense is an excellent example. The protection of individual and civil liberties is another. However, when you look at many of the other “services” provided by the federal government, one must ask “is this really necessary”?

Currently, Social Security makes up over 20% of the federal budget. Anytime anyone suggests reform, the response is always the same: Starve out Grandma; make the old eat dog food; how can you do this to Grandpa; we must take care of the elderly. Let me counter with this: If these services are so essential, how did we, as a nation, make it for so long without them?

Many may counter my argument by pointing out that those who are retired have paid into Social Security all of their lives, and it is “their money”. I cannot argue, but consider this: with how easy it is to set up an IRA or Roth, would that person, rich or poor, be better off investing for himself? I agree that most Americans are ignorant in the ways of investing; however, it only takes a little bit of effort to pick up a book and learn. And by unshackling ourselves from this government retirement plan, we can regain freedom and control over our lives.

I am not advocating that those in need should not be helped. However, many of our programs do not assist people in regaining their self reliance. It is as if the program is meant to create a dependency on the government (which may have been the case all along). And the more dependent we are on the government, the less free we are. Consider someone on Social Security disability. Rather than pay that person not to work for the rest of their lives, wouldn’t it be better to help retrain them to earn a living in some other fashion? Not only is it cheaper in the long run, but that person would no longer be dependent on the government, allowing him to regain some of his lost freedom.

Since I have lived most of my life in a rural area, I have not had the “benefit” of many of the government services that most city dwellers expect from their local governments. Do it yourself, or prepare to have a private business do it for you. However, I do not feel as if I have been deprived; I would counter that the freedom of self reliance is one of the greatest aspects of rural living. If we as a nation return to the ideas of self reliance and a can-do attitude, we can return to the path toward greatness.

I hop you have enjoyed this article. Feel free to leve comments below. Be sure to stop by my blog at for great money-saving advice! And also check out my new book series at!

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    • Jed Fisher profile image

      Jed Fisher 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Well, I grew up in Adams County, Ohio. All I can say is, I have seen first-hand people so lazy, they would shrivel up and die were it not for handouts and welfare. And often times I felt it would be great if they did. But now I'm older and wiser and more compassionate. (Or really, less dispassionate) But anyway, I'd rather not live in a country where people, no matter how worthless, are left to starve.

    • AJReissig profile image

      Alex J. Reissig 6 years ago from New Richmond, Ohio

      Thanks for the comment! Michael Moore disgusts me.

    • profile image

      Ghost32 6 years ago

      Well stated, Alex.

      One of the most dramatic examples of the liberal mindset came from leftist filmmaker Michael Moore when he recently stated, in defense of the Wisconsin unions, his belief regarding the wealthy: "...and we have the right to your money!"

      Unions, governments, or bank robbers, that is the mantra!

    • AJReissig profile image

      Alex J. Reissig 6 years ago from New Richmond, Ohio

      Thanks for the comment! I would include RSA's (and even 401Ks) along the same lines as IRA/Roth. My point is that we don't need (or even want) the government taking care of our retirement. I feel it is the individuals's responsibility to put away for their retirement.

    • poorconservative1 profile image

      poorconservative1 6 years ago

      Outstanding Hub. Also we might want to consider R.S.A.s (retirement savings accounts). Thank You. I enjoyed this Hub very much.