I’ve always preferred wild places where you can feel the wind and the rain and the snow, where bear and moose and deer are neighbors—and far less threatening than humans. As a kid I roamed about in the woods with an old shotgun and a hound, fishing and hunting and living off the land, sleeping nights on the ground next to a campfire. A free spirit with none to regulate, spindle, fold or mutilate.
I still prefer the wilderness over civilization. I’ve climbed mountains in Africa, floated the Amazon River, rode horses across Alaska, raced camels in Egypt, backpacked and mountain-biked the Rockies. . .
“The tendency of the frontiersman is anti-social,” declared historian Frederick Jackson Turner. “It produces antipathy to control, and particularly any direct control.”
The American Frontier laid the foundation for individual American liberty. Those who set off to build new homes in the wilderness were a hardy and adventurous lot with a deep belief in “just let me alone.” Privileged classes in the Old World without the guts to climb aboard leaky wooden ships to set sail for a wild and unknown land stayed home and powdered their wigs.
The rugged frontier mentality, belief in free enterprise and individual initiative with a minimum of government interference lingered on in the U.S. longer than in the rest of the Western world. Still, within a century, collectivism began appearing to fold, spindle and mutilate. It seems to me Americans have lost the frontier mentality, and along with it the concept of individual freedom and responsibility. We now prefer the comfort to stay home and powder our wigs and allow government to take care of us, and control us.
I know I am a dying breed. My belief system acquired in the wilderness is a simple one: Other folks aren’t obliged to take care of you. If you are capable and able-bodied and refuse to work, then you are too worthless to eat. It’s not my fault if you’re a drunk or a doper, lazy, homeless, a bum. . . It’s on you if you get syphilis, go to jail for stealing, can’t hold down a job, won’t go to school, and haven’t enough sense to save for a rainy day.
This is called freedom.
And if I offend you. . . Some folks deserve to be offended.
Look for The Collective by Charles W. Sasser to hit bookstores next summer, accompanied by a major media blitz. It takes a historian’s look at the loss of U.S. freedom and the decline of Western Civilization.
In the meantime, NIGHT FIGHTER by Captain William Hamilton Jr. and Charles W. Sasser was released on 1 November. It is a personal history of the founder of Navy SEALs who helped develop U.S. counterterrorism.