OPINION – Southern Utah can be a touchy place to bring up the topic of endangered species. From the prairie dogs in Iron County to the desert tortoise in Washington County, most of us instinctively try to protect our pocketbooks and our remaining freedoms whenever the subject comes up.
But there is one highly endangered species that actually has a positive impact on our wallets and our personal liberties everywhere it is found. It’s the American statesman and his endangered status is due to voters failing to protect themselves from the highly invasive species which is replacing him; the typical politician.
The infestation of politicians is bad during any given year, but rises predictably with each election cycle. Those who haven’t yet honed their identification skills will find the following rules of thumb helpful in distinguishing a statesman from a politician.
First of all, a statesman is driven by high ideals such as liberty, self-governance, impartiality and constitutional government. This means that statesman must be committed to principle rather than popularity.
A politician, on the other hand, is driven by a desire to serve interest groups and constituents. This is done through political maneuvers such as vote trading, the exchanging of political favors, rent seeking, and through legal plunder.
Another key difference between the statesman and the politician is that the statesman speaks in the language of individualism rather than collectivism. This means that the words “I” or “you” are used when discussing specific problems or solutions under consideration. The rights of the individual are considered sacrosanct and not subject to the whims of the majority.
The politician prefers to speak in collectivist terms like “we” when considering any problem. This tendency to always speak in the collective reveals a lust to control others by putting the rights of the individual at the mercy of the collective. The politician will often promote identity politics in order to pit one group against another.
When listening to candidate debates or reading campaign materials, the statesman is easily distinguished by his or her tendency to focus on correct forms rather than issues. Correct forms are foundational principles that can best be understood by likening them to the forms used when pouring concrete.
Without a proper form, the wet concrete would simply follow the path of least resistance and would be difficult, if not impossible, to shape into something useful. A proper form defines the very shape and purpose of the concrete and limits it to its proper function such as a driveway, or a sidewalk.
The statesman’s focus on proper forms in politics serves to keep government from exceeding or abusing its delegated powers. There is almost no real problem that cannot be solved through proper application of correct principles.
Politicians, however, tend to speak in terms of issues. Issues addressed in policies, bureaucratic regulations, rules, or executive orders almost invariably focus on symptoms rather than the actual problems. Like a pharmaceutical remedy that produces negative side effects, politicians who deal primarily in issues tend to create more issues rather than solutions.
For the opportunistic politician, this is actually a desirable outcome in that it generates job security when the person who has the power to solve problems instead uses that power to create new problems.
A word of caution; politicians are often skilled mimickers and will tout their “principles” as rhetorical cover for their power grabs. Just remember that actions, not words, are the definitive proof of principles.
Though sightings are becoming increasingly rare, the statesman can be readily identified by the fact that he or she is no stranger to failure. Too much of our modern political system thrives on the politics of plunder. But even in failure; the statesman’s efforts manage to keep tyranny at bay by inspiring a remnant of citizens to preserve the culture of liberty. To be effective, a statesman needn’t pass myriad laws and message bills, he need only vote correct principles.
If there were ever an endangered species worth preserving, it’s the American statesman. Here’s to hoping that enough discerning voters will see the benefit of electing more statesmen and fewer politicians in the upcoming elections.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.