Understanding vs. Knowing

There is an important difference between understanding how something works, and knowing that it does work. Imagine that you come to the dropzone hoping to make your first skydive. Typically I would spend several hours teaching you the aerodynamics of the parachute, explaining the procedures of climbing in and out of the airplane, and diligently practicing the emergency procedures you would use in the unlikely event that your first parachute doesn't open or function to your satisfaction. During the day you will probably watch as experienced skydivers land gently on target, and walk back to the hangar with enthusiastic, ear-to-ear grins on their faces. By the time I help you put on the parachute you will use, you have acquired a full understanding of how your first skydive will proceed. You may express confidence in the "knowledge" you think you have gained - but you have only gained an understanding.

Fifteen to twenty minutes later our airplane has reached jump altitude, and you nervously follow the procedures practiced in the classroom. And then - the unthinkable happens. I yell "DOOR!" to prepare everyone for the sudden rush of air, and then - I open the door. A noisy rush of air fills the cabin as you take your first look at the ground from 12,000 feet. Your heart pounds, and your stomach twists into knots. Instead of standing in the door preparing to jump, you clutch tightly to any object that will prevent an obvious attempt at suicide.

At this moment, you understand HOW the skydive is supposed to work, but you don't really KNOW that things will happen as I've described. Your survival instinct is causing you to doubt your understanding, replacing it with the "knowledge" that you are about to die. (Trust me. This happens to everybody. I can spend 45 minutes telling you my first jump story that will have you hyperventilating without leaving your chair.)

As I have done in hundreds of times in the past, I will very likely coax you through the jump procedure, relying on the trust you've placed in me during the day... and the fact that your brain literally doesn't know what else to do. We leave the aircraft and you experience the exileration of freefall. You discover that you *can* follow your ripcord drills at 120 mph, and the altimeter reports that you have several more seconds (almost a lifetime) before you have to open your parachute. It opens, and you discover the tranquil beauty of gliding alone at 4,000 feet. You spend much of your descent trying to convince yourself that this dreamlike experience is real. You make a tip-toe landing in the middle of a huge grassy field, and then shout and jump for joy. What you probably don't realize during this moment of ecstacy is that you now have full knowlege that your parachute will work. In most cases, your first words to me will be, "CAN WE DO THAT AGAIN?!" Your life will never be the same. Your new knowledge has given you the courage to do what you never thought you could do.

I recently realized that most patriots have a limited understanding of Liberty and the Constitution. Very few have the knowledge and courage that it takes to defend it. How many activists can outline their First Amendment rights in detail - but reflexively apply for a government permit as they organize their next rally? How many patriots complain that "there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans" - but jump at the chance to campaign for Ron Paul, or worse, "vote for the lesser of two evils". How many pro-gun supporters understand that the Second Amendment does not grant a right to keep and bear arms, but they don't have the knowledge or courage to carry a pistol without a concealed carry permit. Such a permit is as useless and unnecessary as a ficticious "church permit".

Most of the people I meet have some understanding that America is in serious trouble, but they don't have the knowledge... or courage... to question authority or challenge aggressive authority figures. We admire those patriots who not only understand the principles, but also act on their knowledge. Bernard Von NotHaus challenging the Federal Reserve. Larken Rose standing up against the IRS. The elderly Julian Heicklen persistently distributing Fully Informed Jury information outside federal courthouses, even after being jailed and beaten by authorities. Or (former) Sheriff Richard Mack who continues to teach Sheriffs and the public about the important role of County Sheriff as a legitimate and powerful deterent to federal tyranny in our communities. These are patriots who KNOW what they are talking about.

As the political circus in Tampa, Florida draws to a close, more and more patriots are going to realize that their heroic efforts to support Ron Paul were useless in overcoming the (now obvious?) corruption of the two major parties and the lame stream media. If history is any indication (and it usually is), the federal stranglehold on our lives will continue unabated, regardless which party pretends victory on November 6th. The economy will continue to stagnate, "free healthcare" will cost more than we can afford, and the price of food, gasoline, and the essentials of life will continue to skyrocket out of reach. Someday soon you will be faced with the decision of holding on to the tyranny you've grown familiar with, or taking the plunge into the unknown of Liberty. Will you have the knowledge and courage to jump?

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Witty, funny, engaging, educational, articles by Michael Badnarik.