“The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.” — John Stewart Mill, On Liberty
“Happiness is a warm gun,” John Lennon famously sang on the Beatles’ 1968 White Album.
Uh, right…unless of course you happen to be on the muzzle end of that warm gun, as Lennon found himself in 1980.
Said Lennon about the origin of the song-title: “I think [George Martin] showed me a cover of a magazine that said ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun.’ It was a gun magazine. I just thought it was a fantastic, insane thing to say. A warm gun means you just shot something.”
To be charitable and considerate, we’ll label Lennon’s remark, “shortsighted.” Charles Schultz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, may have been a bit closer to the mark when he titled his initial book, Happiness is a Warm Puppy.
Both observations, in their own ways, speak to the quest for liberty and/or the expression of personal freedom. To some folks, a loaded Colt .45 is liberty…and “shooting something” is an expression of personal freedom. To others, a warm puppy is a more satisfying companion and a more trustworthy expression of freedom.
Nevertheless, back home in the States, a growing number of folks are taking up arms to defend against both actual and perceived threats to their liberty. Handgun applications keep setting new records, as do ammunition sales.
But liberty that arms itself like Rambo seems like a strange and precarious one…not to mention a potentially fatal one, as we discussed in the August 13th edition of The Daily Reckoning, “When They Come for Your Guns, You Will Turn Them Over.”
Fortunately, soaring gun sales are merely one expression of the American quest for liberty. There are many others that do not tear apart flesh or attract SWAT raids…which brings us right back to that warm puppy.
During your California editor’s visit here in Nicaragua, he has encountered more than a few liberty-seeking Americans. They moved down here, either permanently or semi-permanently, because they consider it an uptick from the life they led “back home.”
Most of the ex-pats your editor encountered were 20- or 30-somethings who love to surf. Many of them were working hourly jobs; others were pursuing some sort of entrepreneurial venture. All of them were enjoying greater liberty than they enjoyed back home…at least that’s what they said.
Their version of liberty is not for everyone, but it is very clearly for somebody, like your editor’s own daughter. She recently relocated to Rancho Santana, here in Nicaragua, with this particular warm puppy, Gypsy…
Her relocation to Nicaragua is experimental, of course, but the American quest for liberties that the modern American only grudgingly provides is not experimental at all. It is an established trend.
To be sure, the Land of the Free still provides plenty of freedom. But many folks sense that some of those freedoms are vanishing…or at least eroding, which is the reason the L-word seems to be on the lips of so many Americans these days.
The legendary American liberty that used to be a “given” is becoming a “taken.”…and that trend is a call to action, even if that action be merely resignation to “whatever will be, will be.”
Eric Fryfor The Daily Reckoning
Eric J. Fry, Agora Financial's Editorial Director, has been a specialist in international equities for nearly two decades. He was a professional portfolio manager for more than 10 years, specializing in international investment strategies and short-selling. Following his successes in professional money management, Mr. Fry joined the Wall Street-based publishing operations of James Grant, editor of the prestigious Grant's Interest Rate Observer. Working alongside Grant, Mr. Fry produced Grant's International and Apogee Research, institutional research products dedicated to international investment opportunities and short selling.
Mr. Fry subsequently joined Agora Inc., as Editorial Director. In this role, Mr. Fry supervises the editorial and research processes of numerous investment letters and services. Mr. Fry also publishes investment insights and commentary under his own byline as Editor of The Daily Reckoning. Mr. Fry authored the first comprehensive guide to investing internationally with American Depository Receipts. His views and investment insights have appeared in numerous publications including Time, Barron's, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Business Week, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and Money.
“During your California editor’s visit here in Nicaragua, he has encountered more than a few liberty-seeking Americans.”
I think you mean transient non-citizens.
poor countries like to attract rich tourists and retirees, so they maintain nice areas for the rich tourists to visit and retirees to live. “oh, look how nice it is here. the natives are so kind and helpful. let’s stay longer or buy a place.” but if the tourists and retirees ever become refugees you’ll find out just how much liberty actually exists in those countries. helpful hint: not much. it’s a very short step from rich tourist to gringo target.
I like your summation g-man…
When you've got a room full of 200 oil insiders scratching their heads at current high prices, something's gotta give.
For most investors, it’s weird to think of stocks as their go-to investing option.
The petropoly has bills to pay and setting the price of oil was a simple way to balance their budgets.
Investors don’t seem to care that what's propping up their investments is what will ultimately destroy them: government monetary policy.
For the next decade the energy revolution will be likely confined to the US, displaying the robustness of American entrepreneurship.
Why the Sage of Baltimore’s commentary persists through America’s changing times.
After attending Platt’s oil conference in London I want to relay two important themes you need to know.