December 14, 2015 - Republished August 27, 2020
To be a responsible, ordinary citizen and live an ordinary life one must maintain ordinary habits which have fallen out of convention in American culture. By an “ordinary life,” I mean a responsible, consequential life of a sort that was once commonplace in the United States of America. Sadly, personal responsibility and other features of this once ordinary life are increasingly uncommon and extraordinary. And there are consequences.
Our once-healthy, once-exceptional culture has fallen ill and is disintegrating, largely because of orchestrated efforts to depict the features of personal, filial, fiscal, and social responsibility as anachronistic. Worse, these ordinary features of responsible living are often characterized by journalistic mouthpieces and even our elected representatives as suspicious, subversive, or even dangerous. These propagandist lies are destructive works.
I believe the best defense against this cultural decay and moral demagoguery is for Americans to live ordinary, responsible lives and reestablish these standards for ordinary citizenship:
Finish High School and Get an Education
Finishing high school is an important component to avoiding poverty. Additionally, one should cultivate one’s continuing education. This requires effort and often expense and it never ends. Your education is your responsibility and you didn’t get it in school. Being an educated citizen is and should be compulsory and ordinary.
Whether it’s a trade, a passion, or a simple career, find employment and stay employed. Without gainful employment one’s life is parasitic and, consequently, pathetic. Self sufficiency is and should be ordinary. Work is the foundation for a meaningful life and it long has been and should be ordinary to live a meaningful life.
Get Married Once, After the Age of 20 (and stay married)
Marriage after the age of 20 is another important component of avoiding poverty. Barring tragedy, marriage should be a once-in-a-lifetime commitment.
Have Children After Marriage
The third vital component to avoiding poverty. No act encumbers one with as much responsibility as having children. But that responsibility is and should be entirely ordinary.
Have a say in the character of your society and culture. Else, you are a bit of fluff blown about by a wind beyond your influence.
One’s relationship with God is a vital foundation for an ordinary life. Faith, combined with a moral core (which has nothing at all to do with religion), provides a vital anchor and positive direction in one’s life, for one’s place in society, and for one’s influence upon it.
Know the US Constitution
The dimension and quality of your liberty is recognized and consecrated in but one document ever created by human beings. Those who claim to represent you are continually seeking ways to subvert your liberty in favor of their own power. Know our Constitution as well as you know any written document, and hold your representatives and members of your society accountable to it.
Own and Train with Firearms
Your liberty, safety, and security are your own responsibilities. Arms are the only tangible defense against tyranny and harm. Therefore, responsibility requires an ordinary citizen to own and be competent with arms; firearms especially. Despite what demagogues repeat daily, meeting this responsibility is an ordinary foundation of morality. Ordinary citizens are armed all day every day, and they do not hold with or comply with tyrannical laws that infringe on their fundamental human rights.
Being fat, weak, and otherwise unfit is the unmistakable mark of irresponsibility. God gave you a body, but not to neglect and relegate to disuse. Mind, body, and soul are one organism and if one component is unhealthy, it is all unhealthy. Eat, exercise, and live like your life and reputation depend on it, for indeed they do.
Stay Informed Daily
There’s a lot going on every day in your community, your country, and the world. Much of it affects you. Ordinary responsibility requires that you know what’s going on. The degenerate state of “journalism” then also requires you maintain a wide vigilance and healthy skepticism regarding what you are told.
Ultimately, an ordinary life may be well characterized by “My Creed,” by Dean Alfange:
I do not choose to be a common man.
It is my right to be uncommon…if I can.
I seek opportunity…not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen,
Humbled and dulled by having the State look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk;
To dream and to build.
To fail and to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole;
I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence;
The thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of Utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence,
Nor my dignity for a handout.
I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect.
Proud and unafraid;
To think and act for myself,
To enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say:
This, with God’s help, I have done.