Perspectives: Blarney is more dangerous than criticism

OPINION – What is more destructive than being bitterly and publicly persecuted? The answer is: blarney. That is to say, be cajoled into ruin by the words of prominent men.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but the principle applies at both the societal and personal levels.

Two thousand years ago, Emperor Augustus conned the citizens of ancient Rome with flattering words. As historian Edward Gibbon said:

Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his expectation that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom.

In America, any suggestion that we might be following a similar path to slavery and tyranny tends raise our hackles. So many Americans have forgotten our own history that we simply can’t comprehend that our freedoms have dwindled.

Our government assures us that we live under the Constitution even as it claims that it alone has the power to explain what the document actually means. If this were true, then why did the Founding Fathers provide us with a written Constitution to limit government power in the first place?

A local educator named Dave Seely recently shared a timely bit of advice; he said:

If we were to try to list the things that the government is not allowed to do, that list would be nearly infinite so the Founding Fathers made a short list of powers delegated to the legislature in the federal government, the things they are allowed to do. This list is Article 1, Section 8, clauses 1-18.

Under our original system of federalism, most powers were retained by the states and localities. But since members of our national government have discarded the separation of powers, they have allowed unelected judges and bureaucrats to assume unlimited powers that are not rightfully theirs.

When these unaccountable figures tell us that this is not tyranny, why do so many believe them?

We’ve been conditioned to associate tyranny with goose-stepping soldiers, fiery political speeches, and book burning. It’s a little less obvious when it takes the form of domestic surveillance, armed bureaucracies, and expanded power over every aspect of our lives — in the name of security.

The telltale symptom of any tyranny is the centralizing of power in fewer and fewer hands. But sometimes it comes to us with hat in hand and crocodile tears in its eyes.

For example, politicians who seek to control gun ownership, track our every purchase, or advocate intrusion on our physical privacy before we board a flight will flatter us with the assurance that it’s being done out of concern for our “safety.”

It’s absolutely astonishing how many people will fall for this deception and submit to the denial of their natural rights without question.

Many Americans, who still believe they are free, view defying the state or refusing to cooperate with its dictates as too difficult. Disobedience to unreasonable demands may be the right thing to do, but it is an intensely lonely place in a society that values acceptance above right and wrong.

So why does it appear that so few people are willing to take a stand?

Tyranny isn’t always synonymous with death camps and other state-sponsored atrocities. Its softer forms can include the quiet steps that lead toward total despotism. Joseph Sobran said:

The centralization of power, the evisceration of the Constitution, the issuing of funny money, and the expansion of the welfare state are some of the insidious steps by which we have moved from freedom to tyranny without realizing it.

The modern welfare state flatters the people with benefits to win their loyalty. It also uses heavy taxation and regulation to increase control of the productive members of society.

Any government that uses the law as an instrument of legal plunder to take from some and redistribute to others is engaging in a form of tyranny.

By controlling and debasing the value of a nation’s paper currency, government may borrow unlimited amounts to finance its growth at home and adventures abroad. Honest money, meaning currency that is backed by something of tangible value, does not allow this type of mischief.

These tactics have proven highly effective in growing the government’s power over the people. But the key to their widespread acceptance among the public has been the blarney, or another word might be flattery, of prominent men.

Our truest friends — those who tell us what is actually happening to our freedoms rather than what we want to hear — we refer to as “unelectable.”

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.

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Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

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

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16 Comments

  • D Hodja May 5, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Oh brother

    • Brian May 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      Oooh, so close. The phrase you’re looking for is “Amen, brother!”. He hit the nail right on the head. Those with a myopic lack of historical perspective will no doubt disagree.

  • Really? May 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Typical antigovernment Brian Hyde article. His writing reminds me of the homeless man wearing a sign, and a tin foil hat. Then again there isn’t much excitement in reporting the good things, that happen as a result of the Government.

    • Brian May 5, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Bryan isn’t anti-government at all, he just believes in the same federal government the Founding Fathers did: one that has very specific powers and is restrained by proper checks and balances. There are 3 types of people today: 1) those like Bryan and I that believe the Founding Fathers setup the best form of government this planet has ever known 2) Those that believe the Founding Fathers are outdated and irrelevant (this group is clueless on history, particularly the history of failed governments, and why they failed), and 3) Those that don’t know and don’t care. Which are you?

      • JAR May 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm

        Put this American (me) in category #1 Brian. Yes I know I will thus be branded as a bigot, terrorist, a anti brotherly love mule who holds to our Constitution / State Rights as written, Bill of Rights procedures voted on and approved by the Congress .

      • Roy J May 5, 2014 at 5:55 pm

        4) Those that believe that the Founding Fathers set up one system of government among many, were heavily influenced by the Enlightenment ideas and prejudices of their time, and because they were colonies, well removed from a central governing authority, were largely able to carry off a successful revolution.

        • Brian May 5, 2014 at 6:27 pm

          Roy J, the “heavily influenced by the Enlightenment ideas and prejudices of their time”, and your entire comment really, puts you squarely in the (2) camp. I think many events of the Revolutionary War show that distance didn’t save them at all, but Providence (God) did. George Washington repeatedly gave credit to Providence. America was great because of the Constitution, and is in decline due to turning our backs on it. The IRS, federal reserve, crappy dollar (lack of gold standard), TSA, rising police state, military industrial complex, welfare state, nanny state, etc, etc all have their roots in very un-Constitutional acts by progressives in both parties.

          • Roy J May 6, 2014 at 9:36 am

            Brian,
            If you want to believe that God alone saved the Founding Fathers, go ahead. That’s a worthy position, in my opinion, and if your faith tells you it is so, all the better. Just please don’t confuse what you hold by faith with what others can hold by reason and study. It’s a big world out there, is academia!

        • JAR May 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm

          And why did the territories not yet part of the original 13 want to later join and be part of the United States?

          • Roy J May 6, 2014 at 9:37 am

            Yeah, JAR, why did they? There are plenty of history books out there, some of them in Spanish and French, on that specific subject.

        • T May 6, 2014 at 3:20 am

          Yes Brian because one can’t make proper decisions without a central governing authority.

      • Chris May 6, 2014 at 8:28 am

        “the Founding Fathers setup the best form of government this planet has ever known”
        Yes, one that institutionalized slavery and denied any rights to women or anyone else who was not a white, male, Christian landholder. Yes, those founding fathers. Great guys.

  • David Dalley May 6, 2014 at 5:23 am

    There is nothing shameful about welfare.

    It just needs to go to the wight kind of people.

    • I BAPTIZE TERRORISTS May 6, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Welfare was intended to be a helping hand, NOT a handout. Welfare was NEVER intended to be a career choice.

  • eddantes May 6, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Well stated!

  • Maggie May 6, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Really well said !

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