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James Marlin Guest Columnist

When I was a young boy, I caught a praying mantis in a cricket cage. I named him Zorak, and I showed him to my father, who told me that I had to release him. A mantid’s time is brief, and he had business to take care of before the winter came.

So I released Zorak into the dangerous world. Maybe he lived until winter came; maybe he died that same day. Whichever way he died, it was likely a miserable, horrifying experience. Wild animals do not cry out in agony the way people do, and within the fortress of Western civilization, people forget the cruelty of nature and the world. Our fortress’ walls are made of thin material; its only strength is in the good people who guard it, and they cannot protect all parts at all times.

In early 2020, a virus known as COVID-19 invaded our country. It was different enough from other pathogens to cause legitimate alarm. Once cases started appearing in the US, our governments instituted nationwide lockdowns to delay the onset of a mass-casualty event. “Lockdown” is a prison term; please remember that.

Quickly, the virus showed itself to be similar in effect to opportunistic pathogens, with the material risk being for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Instead of shifting focus toward protecting the vulnerable, the lockdowns continued across all segments of the population.

For the most part, we as a nation trusted our experts and complied with the lockdown. Maybe we complied so easily because of our years in the Prussian-model American school system, which has the primary purpose of training compliance with government orders, or our exposure to the news media, which will say anything to scare us enough to watch it until the next commercial break. Maybe it was that the generations before us had all given up freedoms to the growing power of government, and this was just one more step in the long march to socialism. Once we allow the government to do something once, it will do it again forever. This was just the first national lockdown. What will happen when the next disaster inevitably comes?

Government-approved textbooks have taught us that previous generations faced enormous challenges, which they each valiantly fought to defeat. Meanwhile, our government found more ways to serve us and enhance the human condition.

But that is all Marxist propaganda. I would argue that the previous generations faced challenges that were brought about by government ineptitude. Once the government creates a problem, it also swoops in as the only solution. Each generation was fooled into giving the government more powers, never to be relinquished, allowed it to print worthless money, and gladly sacrificed thousands of its courageous sons atop the altar of globalism.

History is a drawer filled with documents, and depending on which documents you display, you can guide someone to whatever conclusion you like. Whoever controls the historical narrative can define success and failure, good and evil, important and trivial.

We allow our government and media to control the narrative. In return we get generations of Americans who are taught to favor forced redistribution of wealth, deficit spending, endless immigration, endless foreign wars, the progressive stack, and a disarmed, fat, fatherless culture with no identity. That’s not their fault; it’s ours for allowing such an atmosphere.

Government is coercion through the threat of violence. When people are coerced, their works are poor. When people are compelled, the acting force does not come from a whip or a gun, but from something more abstract: an “inner fire.” Birds are compelled to fly, fish to swim. When people are compelled, I believe that force comes from God.

That same fire burns in you. There are times when you listen to that fire, and those are the victories that will bring a smile and a tear to your face from now until your deathbed. There are times when you ignore it, and those unmade dreams haunt you when you lay down to sleep, and the merciless silence is the placeholder of what could have been but will never be.

Your pioneer ancestors lived relatively short and painful lives, but they actively pursued their fire in life, and they awaited redemption through Christ after death. Most of them chose freedom over safety, and they left you the inheritance of those freedoms. Others ran into the open arms of the socialists, and slept their comfortable lives away under the heroin anesthesia of government gifts, squandering the inheritance. We suffer for their comfort across time.

The Founding Fathers made this nation different from all others by establishing a government that is servant to the people. Its jobs are to protect property rights and enforce contracts, working best when it is small and local, with high turnover. As long as we keep our government restrained, we have freedom for a little longer.

You are heir to that strange group known as the Americans, whose fire once burned like the sun, and all other people had to shield their eyes to look upon them, because they could only dream of what it would be like to be compelled by such passion. That fire may be diminished, but it’s still there inside you, and if you would allow it to show itself again, some amazing things would happen.

Your fire will lead you to create good works, and though those works may not seem important from your current view, they are approved by the One who kindled that fire when He created you. Governments will try to convince you to live safely inside their cage, but you must be free to take care of your business on the dangerous road before the winter kills you. You are compelled to do so.

James Marlin is an individual investor and tree farmer from Fulton. He can be reached at jameslmarlin@gmail.com.

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