by Wolf DeVoon
Item one: I keep my chin up and stay positive, think creatively. It often helps to focus on fundamentals. Mornings are
best for brainstorming and desk research. Midday and early afternoon I go out in person and visit the usual suspects, try
to make new acquaintances, ask advice and look for opportunities, all of which is 'networking.'
I have a lot of defacto freedom because I live in a remote enclave without much official government, but money is time
(i.e., profit buys autonomy) and hardware doesn't grow on banana trees. Our cottage industries are not quite enough to cover
expenses, which means we're upside down financially and slowly eating our seed corn. Rather than cut expense to the bone and
shrink the family horizon, it makes more sense to participate in the wider economic world of banks and lawyers. A plywood
shack and hand-to-mouth subsistence ain't liberty. There is no freedom or joy in poverty.
It does not mean, however, that happiness is produced by joining the sharks and bottom feeders who seem to be everywhere,
especially in the real estate business. Our business plan is to create a little vacation resort business on a big parcel of
land that won't change hands or get subdivided into dinky little lots. Money is not an end in itself. What we'd like to achieve
is a profitable business + a minimum of philistine circus antics.
Lastly, I want to mention loss. Bitterness is no way to live. I can say this from a mature perspective after much gnashing
of teeth and snarling at the world. I'm still prone to anger, but I know too well that it's a chump's game, building nothing.
We all properly grieve for the death of our nation, spoilation of culture, blindness and ghastly terror at home and abroad.
But there's a dimension of loss that few can withstand. I mean the death of a child, a beloved innocent in whom all beauty
and calm and warmth repose. I have a four-year-old daughter who is unspeakably precious. My wife and I are endlessly careful
and mindful of her safety and welfare. We're lucky that Little X is clever, strong, resourceful and clear-headed. The chance
of her being killed or mutilated is relatively small. We live in a quiet, peaceful place. The yard is fenced, the neighbors
benevolent. How different if we lived in Baghdad? Or South-Central L.A.? Or New Orleans?
Minimizing risk does not mean absolute safety, nor is safety an end in itself. Life is a process of meeting challenges
and daring. Like it or not, our daughter could run out in traffic too quickly for anyone to stop a mind-numbing disaster.
So, maximizing personal liberty finally means something more than escaping the threat of harm. It means taking loss on the
chin, even a stake through the heart, a catastrophic personal loss - and finding the strength to bear it, to declare that
life is worth living through incurable heartache.
Anger is a phase in reaction to loss. I don't begrudge it. But anger cannot heal, and we need more than sorrow and justifiable
outrage to heal our dead American society. It is not right, not enough, to do battle like Billy Beck. We need political power
and positive action. Perhaps Cindy Sheehan is on the right track, alive to the world and eager to live free of fear or pain
or guilt, despite the loss of a beloved child.