OPINION – The greatest threats to liberty, says conventional partisan wisdom, exist in the opposing political party. The blame always belongs to someone else.
We’re encouraged to cheer louder and clap harder at our own party’s pep rally with the promise that our candidate, our party will set things right when elected.
But, election after election, it never happens.
The promises of political salvation fail to square with reality because both political parties have an insatiable thirst for power. Despite the blatant failures of our two main parties, few partisans are willing to concede their belief that their party is the vehicle to save America.
Most American conservatives rightly view socialist policies and power grabs as incompatible with liberty and prosperity. Therefore, they are galvanized and more than willing to stand up for smaller government and greater personal freedom when a Democratic leader is in office.
But far too many of those same conservatives have a peculiar blind spot that excuses and even cheers the abuse of State power. This is especially true when a Republican, in the name of security, is doing it.
The Republican Party’s betrayal of principle is evidenced in the effort undertaken to discredit and silence those who think independently or call for a return to principle.
When party loyalty is rewarded over principle, those who tend to think for themselves are intentionally marginalized so as to minimize their influence on the party.
Any time conservatives abandon their principles in order to wield government force to achieve their goals; they’re morally no different than their socialist counterparts who also abuse the state’s power as the means to their ends.
This is why Republicans who favor non-interventionist foreign policy, sound monetary policy, and the protection of individual civil liberties over the security of the garrison state are systematically silenced.
Too many otherwise conservative voters have based their beliefs on the traditions of partisan power rather than engaging in original research to inform the basic premises of their worldviews.
This blind spot is one of the reasons we see government expanding at every level while individual freedoms are declining. For now the trend continues unabated.
How do we change that course?
The cause of liberty needs scholarly, independent thinkers, not uninformed, emotional cheerleaders.
Independent thinkers understand that information is not the same thing as truth. They do not blindly follow politicians, political parties or commentators who are competing for their allegiance.
Those who would move the cause of liberty must devote time and effort to understanding not only the challenges and opportunities before us, but also the foundational principles of good government.
Once we recognize how hostile both major parties have been to liberty, we might stop holding our noses to vote for the “lesser-of-two-evils” candidates.
We’ll stop lending legitimacy to a rigged system that, while giving us a sense of participation, still carefully denies us any possibility of affecting actual change.
The almost imperceptible and incremental baby steps by which full-blown despotism arrives add up far more quickly than we realize. The great shock that we suppose will awaken everyone will arrive too late.
The future of liberty depends upon our ability to recognize how the little infringements today lead to a total loss of freedom over time. We’d also be wise to learn from those who have made similar mistakes.
The future of liberty doesn’t hinge upon the outcome of any single election. But it has everything to do with the long-term character and principles of the voters who will participate in this and future elections.
If enough of us can be deceived every election cycle into selling out for an illusory short-term political gain, we will all lose in the long run.
Thankfully, there are still plenty of reasons to remain optimistic. A recent study at the Rensselear Polytechnic Institute has found that once an unshakeable belief is held by just ten percent of a population, it reaches a tipping point where it will be widely adopted by the majority of that society.
But, as Stephen Palmer points out, that day will not come “until our love of truth outweighs our attachment to our beliefs.”
But if enough of us are willing to honestly research the issues and principles for ourselves, to test our conclusions and replace false ideas with sound ones, to think independent of party, then there is hope. Hope that the greater struggle for liberty and good government can be won in here in Utah and throughout our nation.
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 St. George News, StGeorgeUtah.com Inc., 2012, all rights reserved.