Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Kansas' Governor, Sam Brownback, had an op-ed in the Topeka Capital-Journal yesterday that will be of interest to some of our readers. He says that a mural in the statehouse' west wing "Kansas' answer to the unstated question, "Freedom, yes, but to what end?"
The west wing mural depicts a Kansas farmer and his wife standing straight and tall, surrounded by their children, surveying the fruits of their labor — a barnyard full of livestock, a bountiful garden and grain gathered in the fields. In their bearing is the satisfaction of free people that is tempered with a quiet humility and gratefulness for all they have been given. In the distance, thunderclouds gather, perhaps as a testament to nature and to nature’s God, which graciously gives life and yet may test our unity in times of trouble and scarcity.
...As Kansans, we hold dear the stories and images of liberty and self-determination on the one hand and responsibility and self-sufficiency on the other. Only as we continue to see our lives as rooted in both of these stories will our experiment in self-government endure over many generations.
The men and women who settled our great state, who bled for freedom and dirtied their boots and hands to provide for themselves and their families, understood this well. An 1881 editorial in the Abilene Chronicle summarized it with typical prairie efficiency: “A man with a family, with 160 acres of land in Dickinson County (with a contented mind and a will to work) is far better off than the Astors or Vanderbilts, or even President Garfield, as far as the real substantial enjoyment of life is concerned.”
We can no longer afford to view our current economic crisis as something distinct and apart from the crisis of family and community decay. Increasing economic dependency on a deeply indebted government is not a viable long-term solution.
Likewise, economic opportunities in faraway places that entice our children to abandon the communities that nurtured them cannot be the answer.
Our economic prosperity depends on strong families and strong cultural institutions. Healthy families and communities require economic freedom. The best welfare program is a good job. The best child poverty prevention program is a stable, two-parent home. The best disaster recovery program is a community of resilient and caring neighbors and businesses. The best community revitalization happens when our towns and cities are free to create economic opportunities that stop exporting their best, brightest and hardest working elsewhere.
HT: Christopher Scaperlanda