OPINION – With just under two years to go until the next general election, we have a very short window before the political fog generator is deployed once more against the American public. Right now is when the citizenry is least susceptible to political groupthink.
During this brief moment of lucidity that precedes the upcoming national political pep rally, I’d like to reach out to the frustrated people who find themselves persuaded to put their support behind the lesser of two evils every election cycle.
The very fact that they feel frustration is a strong indicator that, at some level, they recognize that they’re being played by the two party system.
Over and over we are warned that if we don’t vote for a particular personality, “The bad guys will win and everything will just get worse.” It takes real honesty to admit that things have been getting worse for the past several generations regardless of who is in power.
Our freedom, autonomy, morality, and our prosperity have been under attack from many different directions for as long as most of us have been alive.
We currently see evidence of this in the form of asset forfeiture, militarization of our local police, domestic surveillance, wealth transfer policies, minimum wage laws, and increasingly violent regulation of our livelihoods. Abroad, we witness our government engaging in aggressive foreign policy, unjust wars and invasions, and the establishment of an imperial presence around the globe.
As has been the case with every tyrant in human history, the most destructive policies have been peddled to us under the guise of necessity. We’re told that they are implemented to protect us from some anticipated harm. In reality, they only serve to increase the power of the state over us.
Most of these policies have been passively accepted by an American public that has agreed to compromise their principles of personal freedom in return for the promise of protection. That compromise has brought us less freedom and more government control.
We’ve forgotten that the stated purpose of our government, in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution it gave rise to, was to keep us free – not ruthlessly micromanage our lives.
As omnipotent and irresistible as our government likes to portray itself, its control over us depends entirely upon our willingness to obey. This goes hand in hand with whether we can also be persuaded to compromise our personal principles.
Consider this in 2016 when the election cycle is in full circus mode and we’re being reminded that our personal attachment to principles must take a back seat to electing the “right” candidate. As we saw in 2012, even people of good character can be seduced by political superstition into abandoning principles for a perceived short-term political gain.
In this context, principles should be understood as a set of proven values that must be applied to our circumstances rather than simply compromised away. Moderate politicians are masters of compromising their principles rather than risking their popularity by actually upholding them.
The choice between principle and popularity has been a hallmark of politics throughout human history but only uncompromising principles have brought about the greatest advancements of humanity.
Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation points out some notable examples of the great ideals that have lifted mankind:
Was it moderation and compromise that brought us such grand and glorious principles as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, the right to keep and bear arms, habeas corpus, and due process of law? Was it moderation and compromise that brought mankind the Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, and the Declaration of Independence?
It’s not surprising that so few Americans are conversant in the principles listed above. It’s not a matter of them being stupid or evil. Most have been schooled to think about history in a manner that favors and popularizes the current government system.
Since a vast majority of Americans learn what they know about history and their government while sitting in a government school, their textbooks are going to reflect whatever is most acceptable to the entity that is purchasing those books.
Anyone who has compared history textbooks from throughout the past few decades can attest that prevailing political attitudes inevitably creep into the official narrative of what is being taught. Even in higher education, with government funding on the line, popularity often takes clear precedence over principle.
If freedom is a priority to us, we must understand what is negotiable and what isn’t.
Deciding where to eat lunch is an appropriate place for compromise.
However, when our choices involve foundational principles, compromise should not be an option. This is also true outside of elections and politics.
- Opinion: Are Republicans prepared to govern?
- On the EDge: Time for conservatives to get a grip over immigration
- Letter to the Editor: Obama’s immigration order is legalized slavery
- Perspectives: Compromise is no option, a season for turning
- On the EDge: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet
- Letter to the Editor: Counter opinion on poverty, education, politics
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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