A good thought to conclude the year, from one of my favorite sources, Henry Louis Mencken (via Joe Huffman):
I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.
Unfortunately, too many of our fellow citizens reject this philosophy. It makes me think of this from Robert Heinlein:
Roman matrons used to say to their sons: “Come back with your shield, or on it.” Later on this custom declined. So did Rome.
Most Americans used to believe in liberty, but this custom has declined. See above.