COUNTER-OPINION to St. George News Columnist Bryan Hyde’s May 5 column Perspectives: Blarney is more dangerous than criticism – In reference to his article, Bryan Hyde stated that he would rather be despised by the despicable than honored by them. While this is a no-brainer for anyone taking it at face value, it is what lies behind that statement that must be examined because Hyde means something very specific.
Though his articles seem above reproach, they are actually a tactic used to say something without coming out and actually saying it.
Behind his nuanced and general statements are very real events that are the impetus for his emotionally-laden views. If we do not expose them, he will continue, unchallenged, to fan the flames of emotional people looking for any license or justification to act on their emotions. I would counter Hyde by stating that it is better to have the respect of a few honest critics than the accolade of the uncritical masses. Because a critic judges merit by very strict standards, it is noteworthy to win his or her approval.
Hyde touts a handful of things in a manner that suggests they exist in an elusive realm beyond most peoples’ understanding, or at least to people who disagree with him. If you bring up the law, he brings up principles; if you reference the Constitution, he cites natural law; if he doesn’t shut you down with a quote by a Founding Father, he resorts to Greek philosophers. He dances around like an adept matador evading being pinned down on anything. It could be pride, fear, or uncertainty driving it, but it is not benign.
The problem is that Hyde is a public figure with an opinion column within a news agency, as well as a radio show where he can voice his opinions to a large audience. What this means is that he has an ethical obligation to be careful with what he says. Contrary to what his statement above suggests at face value, his views are not innocuous in light of current events.
Bryan Hyde has been a big supporter of Cliven Bundy, sharing Bundy statements and promoting their stand against an “overreaching government.” He states that the moral principle behind his support is less government, but less government for whom? For ranchers who don’t like rules and regulations? And who decides what to cut? What about environmentalists? Or blacks? Or is he suggesting that he and people with his view should decide what gets cut?
The “small government” ideology is preferable to a “big government” not because of facts, reality, or the needs of society and how to best meet them, but because of what the founders intended. Hyde routinely cites the founders as if their views are static and binding and as if we still lived in the 1700s. But let’s not forget that in the years following the revolution, the founders were deeply divided on such issues of the economy, proper size of the government, and even having a standing military.
To cite back to them as if they held definitive and absolute positions on everything and that their views should still be binding today is a highly subjective tactic used to stifle and delegitimize the opposition. Furthermore, it ignores the fact that historical figures lived in a distant reality and understood the world in very different ways than we do today. There is no way for them to contribute to contemporary political discussions in a practical way. But perhaps that is what Hyde wants.
By citing the Founding Fathers, Hyde frees himself from being practical or realistic in his discussions.
The other astounding assertion is that the government is overreaching so much that it is time for citizens to take up arms against the government. While this might be necessary in some cases, it can hardly be argued in the Bundy case. What Hyde is doing is promoting anarchy and armed resistance in response to laws that he and his friends do not like, and then claiming that others are cowards for not doing the same. He is promoting lawlessness.
Once that bag is opened, you can’t put back what has been let out. People bent on violence and itching for a fight might just find their justification in Hyde’s nuanced references to bravery, liberty, and freedom; they might just act. As Toba Beta, author of “Master of Stupidity,” said: “Laws are made not to be broken. They are made to curb our savagery.”
When William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies he explored this idea of humanity free from constraints of society. His book suggests that when the constraints of civilization vanish and raw human nature takes over, the primal urges toward selfishness, brutality, and dominance over others surface and draw people away from reason toward savagery. We could dismiss this tale as just a novel, but all one has to do is look to places without law and order to see that it does actually happen.
Hiram Evans, the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan back in the 1920s said:
All action comes from emotion, rather than from reason. Our emotions and the instincts on which they are based have been bred into us for thousands of years; far longer than reason has had a place in the human brain.
Strangely, Evans was making a case for not using reason. He was appealing to regressing back to a “fight or flight” mentality. Hyde is doing the same by promoting violent resistance to the government. Is that really what we want? We want to go back to a place where people rely on their instincts rather than their reason? I would think that even Hyde wouldn’t want that.
When we have militias forming and taking up arms against distasteful laws; when hooded armed citizens point guns at federal employees from their vehicle on the freeway, I would say that using any language that promotes or encourages more of it is like holding a flame next to a powder keg. Hyde best take care he does not get what he asks for – those people won’t abide by his code either.
Plato warned against ideas concealed inside seductive emotions; when presented without reason they become supercharged and compel belief and action. He believed that people who did this were a threat to society.
I am not suggesting that anyone who stirs up emotion is a threat, but if violence breaks out; if a federal employee is shot or hurt, one could rightfully assert that people cheering on the sidelines – like Bryan Hyde – have blood on their hands as well.
Guest columnist: Greta Hyland
Greta Hyland is stepping in this week for her husband Dallas Hyland. The opinions stated in this column are her own and may not be representative of St. George News.
- Blanding: OHV riders, militia protest BLM, ride through Recapture Canyon; STGnews Photo Gallery (UPDATED)
- Perspectives: Blarney is more dangerous than criticism
- Perspectives: What is the militia?
- On the EDge: There’s an uncivil war raging
- Right or wrong, controversy surrounding Cliven Bundy continues
- Range war: BLM withdraws from Clark County, cattle released after standoff; Photo gallery
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