Perspectives: Becoming effective advocates for liberty

OPINION –The GOP nominating convention in Salt Lake City this past weekend was an eye-opening experience.

State delegate Bryan Hyde (front left).  Utah Republican Party Nominating Convention, South Towne Expo Convention Center, Sandy, Utah, April 26, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
State delegate Bryan Hyde (front left). Utah Republican Party Nominating Convention, South Towne Expo Convention Center, Sandy, Utah, April 26, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Beyond the pageantry and political atmosphere it was clear that most participants were taking part out of a sense of love of country and liberty. Even so, there were some striking differences in how they advocated for freedom.

For example, Second Congressional District challenger Zachary Hartman spoke passionately of his grandfather who served in WWII. Hartman related how his grandfather told him that the greatest day in his life was the day “Truman dropped the egg” that visited nuclear destruction on the Japanese.

That line dropped more than a few jaws, including mine. Still, it made for an interesting object lesson. Loving liberty and effectively advocating for it are two different animals.

What is the best way to convey the incomparable value of liberty?

Obviously the answer isn’t something that can be simply boiled down to a science; otherwise the strongest promoters of liberty would wear lab coats. Instead, it requires a people who are willing to be personal advocates for liberty in word and in deed. Of course, this is not as simple as it sounds.

One reason for this is that the very concept of liberty has been under sustained attack for many generations. A kind of cultural illiteracy has set in over time to the point that we can speak of liberty without actually understanding what it is.

To overcome this crucial information gap, we often have to unlearn before we can learn. Much of what we have been taught about the principles and practices of liberty is either erroneous or flat out false. Considering the degree to which enemies of liberty have gained control of the educational system, this is not surprising.

Too often today, textbooks are written by government-endorsed “experts” that filter the information to favor the current power structure. People who wish to understand liberty must be willing to seek out original sources and to engage in original research.

For instance, a person who really wishes to understand the original intent of the Founding Fathers when they wrote the Constitution will find incredible insights in the Federalist Papers as well as the Anti-federalist Papers. Even greater insights can be found in the notes from the ratifying conventions of the various states.

How the founding generation described liberty and properly limited government is very different from how modern politicians and sophists seek to portray it. The founders’ principles and ideals were not dependent upon a certain age or level of technology. They drew upon the wisdom of thousands of years of human civilization. They wrote in plain, declarative English that is easily understood if we’re willing to read.

Otherwise, we place ourselves at the mercy of “experts” who tell us what they think we should know about historical people and events. Free people must think and know for themselves.

Once we have personally paid the price to understand, we don’t have to live on borrowed light. This also prepares us to move the cause of liberty by helping others recognize the value in upholding it.

Opposition is to be expected. Generations of Americans have been trained to view anything not under the direct control of the state as out of control. Most argue against liberty out of ignorance, some fight it due to lust for power over others.

Claire Wolfe offers sound advice on why debate is too often a waste of time. She said:

Don’t argue philosophy or issues with people who disagree with you on fundamentals. Waste of time. You will persuade no one, but rile everyone, including yourself. Don’t you have something better to do with your life?

Nowhere is this more important than when dealing with people who are close to us. A more gentle approach is required. Instead of alienating them by trying to browbeat others to our point of view, diplomacy and gentle persuasion are how to win converts.

This is especially true when we can provide literature, resources, or simply well-timed questions that cause them to think in such a way that they arrive at the truth on their own.

Winning over the masses to liberty is like trying to fill a row of milk bottles with a fire hose. Filling each bottle deliberately and carefully yields far better results than a high-pressure approach.

Liberty is most successfully advanced when we view others as the prize to be won rather than a foe to be crushed.

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Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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10 Comments

  • Chris April 28, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    From your picture, it appears you could use some more exercise and less sitting on your butt.

    • JSD April 29, 2014 at 5:38 am

      and from your comment it appears you are nothing more than a troll.

    • Steve MacFarlane April 30, 2014 at 6:33 am

      Didn’t your mother teach you that if you didn’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all?

  • Stan April 28, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Where is your bedazzled red white and blue cowboy hat?

  • Obama's gonna take our guns!!! April 29, 2014 at 12:01 am

    was gonna try to read this one, but just can’t stomach it … the place in my brain that stored idiotic commentary is full

  • Brian April 29, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Good article. I have thought about this many times, for a long time. My pondering has led me to the conclusion that the things that matter most in politics and life are true principles. True principles (and divine inspiration) led the Founding Fathers to create the Constitution. And adherence to true principles is the only thing that will save it. I’m very conservative, but for the last 7 or 8 years I’ve been “Unaffiliated” because I couldn’t stand to see the Utah GOP say one thing and do another (both parties do it, and I can’t support either in it). It seemed the only way to make my voice really be heard was to reduce their roles by one. I’m now switching to the Independent American Party, which embraces “principles above party” (the exact opposite of the behavior of both major parties and most of their politicians) and promotes education about and adherence to principles. I think that course is the only chance our nation has. Ignorance and apathy got us to where we are, and no politician or party can ride in a white stallion and save us from that. Our own conversion to true principles is the only thing that can, one at a time.

  • Applejack April 29, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Hyde, whilst you and I appear to disagree on most political issues, I do rather enjoy your articles. Sometimes I learn from them and sometimes they make me laugh. 🙂

  • McMurphy April 29, 2014 at 8:33 am

    What is the best way to convey the incomparable value of liberty? Well for one thing, don’t speculate that slavery might be better than liberty.
    Some are not interested in liberty not because of training or lust for power, but simply because liberty can be frightening — it is so much easier to let someone else make your decisions for you and tell you how to live.

  • Ken April 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    So was the best part the sessions on hate and bigotry plied by the GOP?

    • Steve MacFarlane April 30, 2014 at 6:42 am

      Yes, it was. I particularly enjoyed the ‘sessions’ conducted by Chiu, Reyes, Chaffetz, and Love.

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