OPINION – Years ago, Paul Harvey shared a commentary on contemporary America titled “If I were the Devil.” It was an inspiring way of illustrating the accelerating decline of societal morals and mores.
With a tip of the hat to Paul Harvey, I’d like to shine a similar light on the decline of freedom in our time.
If I wanted to destroy liberty in America, I’d start by undermining its spiritual, economic, and philosophical foundations.
First, I’d work to convince the populace that everything that came before them was wrong and must be discarded. I’d cultivate an attitude of chronological snobbery that teaches the idea that all our ancestors were hopelessly stuck in superstition, prejudice, ignorance, and everything that is backwards or harmful.
This way the tireless efforts of billions of minds over thousands of years of human history could be dismissed as nothing when compared to our current understanding.
I’d also carefully separate the development of personal character from the acquisition of knowledge. This way, our institutions of higher learning would become, in the words of Fred Reed, “citadels of intellectual darkness [that] teach little, and chiefly serve to force the young to borrow backbreaking sums from colluding banks.”
I’d substitute job training for real education and train our students in the mindset of an employee rather than creativity of an entrepreneur. I’d promote the idea that life is about accumulating things and that a person’s self worth is contingent upon the clothes they wear, the car they drive, and the square footage of their domicile.
I’d destroy the attitudes of thrift and delayed gratification, and encourage people to spend money they haven’t yet earned to purchase things they really don’t need. To justify their overspending, I’d ensure that their government did the same thing at levels that strain our ability to comprehend. This debt slavery would affect not only the living, but also generations yet unborn.
Under the guise of reining in the fat cats, I’d give the most powerful bankers control over interest rates and the money supply by creating the Federal Reserve. I’d convince the public to reject real money and use legal tender laws to force them to embrace an irredeemable paper currency. I’d make the public directly accountable to the federal government through a direct tax on their income.
I’d encourage using government as a tool of plunder to take from the productive and to redistribute to the masses. I’d teach people that to desire to keep what you’ve earned is greedy, but to demand a portion of someone else’s money is not.
To keep the populace from thinking too independently, I’d give the government control over our children’s schooling and then declare the idea so good that it must be made compulsory. This way I could ensure that a majority of the population would grow up thinking within the boundaries of approved opinion.
I’d teach our children to worship the state and the symbols of its power, yet I’d threaten a 5-year-old girl with jail for playing with a pink toy bubble gun. This way the people would learn to see the state as the only legitimate repository of force and would become entirely dependent upon government for their protection.
I would squander American lives and treasure by warring in foreign lands over issues that have nothing to do with national security. The more our troops were sent abroad, the more freedom would mysteriously diminish here at home.
With every tragedy or malicious act, I’d exploit the public’s fear and anger to promote the expansion of government power into every area of their lives. I would speak soothingly of safety and the need to “protect our children from violence” but my actual goal would be that of every tyrant throughout history — consolidating power over the citizenry.
I’d encourage distrust toward anyone who recognized and pointed out any of the warning signs of tyranny. I’d use the time-proven incremental approach to install each progressive infringement on the rights of the people. Each step would be just a tiny bit more than the one that preceded it, but each step would lead inexorably in the direction of despotism.
My greatest tool for destroying liberty would be to promote a type of cultural amnesia that causes the American public to forget who they are. I would teach them that the proper role of government is not to protect their God-given inalienable rights, but to direct everything they do.
Once enough generations have been indoctrinated to submit and obey, my success in destroying liberty would be ensured.
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.
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