Of the hikers I've walked with so far, many have listened to at least one of my rants, ranging from the philosophical, to the trivial. One left leaning hiker, who has heard more than a few of these rants, went as far to say, "I enjoy listening to your rants because I've genuinely never heard anyone say the things you say."
With this post I'll bring one of those rants to you, in essay form. And you can get just a little taste of the thought experiments I run to pass the time.
By my estimation, 95% of the PCT thru-hikers I've met would either self identify with a left leaning political disposition, or refuse to identify with a right leaning political disposition.
And maybe then, in a way, there's some sense to me being out here, as I identify as a liberal by birth, but conservative by choice.
When I say liberal by birth, I mean Obama voters on both sides of my immediate bloodline. When I say conservative, I mean someone who believes the explicit powers delegated to federal government and the remainder to the state governments as outlined in the Constitution and subsequent Amendments will sufficiently ensure all citizens individual freedom in an unregulated form in perpetuity.
My choice to be a conservative is rooted in the fundamental dichotomy I believe exists within all governments.
A dichotomy, in this context, will refer to two circles of thought that at no point intersect.
With all the choices at our disposal these days, the two-party political system has come under fire. Allegedly this system no longer sufficiently represents "We the People". Some have even gone as far to carve out niche market for "third" parties, such as Libertarians (or as I refer to as "liberalism a la carte", which is a discussion for another day).
However, I disagree. I believe a two party system will always be the most representative system for the citizens of the U.S.A. and other governments around the world. Both opposing parties representing the aggregate majority imperfectly orbit the nuclei of the dichotomy I keep mentioning.
Any government operates in one of two ways:
1. Decisions are made based on an individual
2. Decisions are made based on a group
At the core of all contentious topics, people are either arguing to protect the individual or a group. There is no need for a third party.
Neither choice is inherently wrong. And many intelligent citizens of this country fall into both categories.
However, I choose to be a conservative because I believe a government designed to serve the individual is the only logically sustainable option of the two choices.
Logical does not mean operational. There are many functioning governments around the world designed to serve the groups. In fact, all world governments are designed to serve groups except one, the United States of America.
And in the U.S.A. we can see the logical path to a sustainable civilization.
Abundance is created by the individual. Abundance is a byproduct of an individual's pursuit of a goal. Only when an individual is allowed the incentive to set their own goals will they pursue goals lofty enough to provide an abundance to the groups beyond themself.
"Groups" live entirely off the abundance created by these individuals, which isn't a problem so long as the government is prevented from critically limiting individual incentive.
But as group focused governments of the world are apt to do, they limit individual incentive through group focused regulation, therefore decreasing the theoretical abundance, and eventually eliminating abundance all together (a full blown communist society).
So why aren't group focused governments sustainable?
Well at some point, after enough regulation has minimized individual incentive to intolerable levels, the individuals throw a revolution, or they pack up and leave, and take whatever little abundance they were creating with them.
But why haven't we seen more civilized group focused governments like those in the European Union descend into revolution or communism?
Well that's because the individuals over here in the U.S.A. have been churning out so much abundance that the rest of the world has been living off our left overs on a full time basis.
If it wasn't the airplane, or the television, it was the iPod, Britney Spears, and Google.
The individuals of the world have been becoming Americans for centuries now. And the individual incentive they've been permitted here has lead to an abundance that has continued to subsidize the group focused governments of the world since 1776.
If I've ruffled your feathers, I thank you for your patience. Sleep on it. The next post will be about the PCT, I promise. And there will be pictures.