Commentary at jeromehuyler.com
Liberty's Best Kept Secret Weapon
Part Two: The Four Appeals
A. The Appeal to Patriotism (our founding principles)
Raise the subject of politics in "mixed" company? Why not just swallow poison? Try it and you can expect scorn and angry scowls from your valued others. Most don't care to think about, let alone talk about the subject. It just invites angry conflict without changing anyone's mind. Sports and entertainment can also raise heat, but somehow the disputes don't get as personal and acrimonious.
Besides, apathy is the Forgotten man's way of saying to the scoundrels who make and break promises for a living, "FORGET YOU." They profess to feel your pain and pledge to relieve your hardship while pleading for your vote every two or four years. Having taken the oath of office, they jump back in the wretched swamp from whence they came
A sleeping giant, a "silent majority" yet haunts this land. The average man or woman feels there's nothing much anyone can do about political corruption. Things are too far gone. It's hopeless. We're doomed.
Here is your basic self-fulfilling prophecy. We think nothing can be done to fix what's wrong, so we don't do anything about it. Since nothing much gets fixed, we think we confirmed our estimate. And yet, on November 8, 2016 enough voters went to the polls to put Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton, in the White House. The result has been nothing less than world-turning.
The majority can no longer afford to remain silent. They must stay engaged and enraged. Think of the people in your life as being in need of an intervention. They need to realize that they elect the men who write the laws, that create the conditions in which we all prosper or perish. The policies our leaders promote,, the sums of money they spend, the levels of public debt they accumulate and burdensome regulations they impose must impact overall economic conditions, for better or worse. Conditions may feel fine for a time, but consequences inevitably catch up to causes. And people pay a heavy price for their past evasions.
Here's an encouraging fact. In any revolutionary age it's an activist minority that determines the course of human events. In its hands lies the key to political reform and rejuvenation. The patriots who supported full Independence from Britain and marched off to war with George Washington maybe made up one-third of the colonial population. And they were mostly farmers, not scholars. Look at the sizable political and cultural reforms a minority of one, one Donald Trump, has already chalked up. Well, he can do way more to preserve the peace and promote prosperity, But he can't do it all by himself.
Today, our nightly news coverage makes it seem like our college campuses are overrun with radicals protesting the nation's failings. But on any campus the radical activists form but a fringe of the student body. Most students go to college to prepare for personal success. As for the indoctrination they receive from their humanities and social science professors, it's mostly in one ear, out the other.
Restore the founding principles and the country could finally find its way back. Americans would see how much of what government does today finds no sanction in the original plan of Union. Governments, after all, "are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, none of whom ever had a right to take away or give away what belongs to another.
So the power to create winners and losers, to take from some to give to others is a power no lawful American government should ever claim.
Government was originally designed to be a PROTECTOR, protecting all in the enjoyment of what is theirs, their lives, liberties and possessions. Government was not to grow into a PROVIDER.
For once a people decide that some of its citizens have a right not to go out and get, but to lobby Congress and be given, it finds itself torn by two questions: who else should be given and how much should everybody get? There is only one answer: POLITICS! Enter the Establishment and every special interest with something to GET from government and something to GIVE politicians addicted to the power their public offices provide.
Unfortunately, this appeal is not likely to yield satisfying results. For one thing, the window of opportunity in which the appeal will work is very brief, lasting some 12 hours before and after each July 4th celebration. That is about how long Americans pay homage to the founders and the documents they left behind. Beyond that, those founding principles are very abstract. It's not at all obvious how they relate to, say, ethanol or medical mandates, tuition or housing assistance, food stamps for the poor or public subsidies to farms and businesses, There are connections, but for the average American, they are far less than obvious.
B. The Appeal to Pocketbook
Should you hear a friend, neighbor, relative or colleague complain about the difficulty of making ends meet, these days, there's your cue. Step up to the plate and take your best swing.
"Listen, if you're paying upwards of 50% in combined federal/ state/local taxes (and what hard working family isn't?), you're already HALF SLAVE/HALF FREE. It takes two incomes just to get by today, right? That's because one income goes to pay the tax bills that are consuming the quality of your lives. That's not American. Why stand for it?
How better would your family's life be if for every dollar you now pay in taxes, you could keep 80 cents for yourself? Well that 80 cents is what the federal government takes from you in order to benefit every special interest that stakes a first claim on the fruit of your labor. A mere 20 cents of every dollar Washington spends funds the vital services that keep us all safe.
If you're paying upwards of 50% in combined federal, state and local taxes, you're already half-slave/half-free. Why stand for it?
What Can Be Done About It?
Today, there are many voices demanding relief from the heavy tax burdens we all bear. But just like the roughly trillion dollar annual deficits Washington will ring up in the coming years, and the $20 trillion accumulated public debt that is already on the books, taxes are a symptom not the actual cause of the fiscal crises to come. That deeper cause is rampant public spending. In the end, there is no safe way to pay for a runaway Welfare State. And the status quo will not last forever. It's time to send an army of Mr. Smiths (i.e., elected representatives) to Washington with an express mandate to CUT programs, CLOSE agencies, and shrink the size of government.
Time to start making gov't what our founders intended it to be" a Protector, not a Provider.
C. The Appeal to Patronage
But corruption doesn't begin with lobbyists pleading for special favors; it begins with pols of both parties thinking they have the lawful power to grant them.
It's time to send an army of Mr. Smiths to Washington pledged and committed to a clear priority: to CUT programs, CLOSE agencies and SHRINK the size and expense of government.
Tell your neighbors: It's time to get government out of their pockets and off of their backs.
When Congress confers special benefits on SOME, it denies "equal protection under law" to ALL.
This past presidential election season candidates on all sides of the political spectrum - from the Right and the Left - joined in deploring the way Washington works day in and day out.
Donald Trump blasted the "Establishment," while Ted Cruz railed against the "Washington Cartel" and Bernie Sanders spat at the "millionaires and billionaires" who rig the system to do what scoundrels do - line their own pockets.
Nearly nothing drew cheers and ear-splitting chants from the stadium-sized rallies candidate Trump mounted as his solemn pledge to
"Drain the Swamp."
American politics has become the place where scores of lobbyists, counterfeit capitalists and every other special interest go to get special benefits at their neighbors' expense. And it's the forgotten men and women of the country who are paying for the detestable privilege.
D. The Appeal To Pride
Though most Americans may not be able to recite the Declaration of Independence or name the full complement of rights guaranteed by the Constitution, that doesn't mean they aren't proud of their country and enormously grateful for the quality of daily life it makes possible. Most Americans are abundantly proud and grateful for all their country has given them..
American pride was nowhere more visible than in the aftermath of the devastating 9/11 attack. Overwhelming grief over the thousands of innocents who died and lost loved ones that day had to be expected. A bloodthirsty demand for vengeance against any who aided and abetted the terrorist murderers was also to be expected.
But why the unprecedented display of unfurled American flags? You could not walk along a New York street without being treated to a cavalcade of flags flying from car antennas, residential porches and store fronts of all sizes.
There is an explanation. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, people tend to take the things they cherish most mostly for granted. Only the sudden loss of the things we love cause us to appreciate how much they meant. Americans love their country and the free way of life it affords them. 9/11 shattered what had been so casually taken for granted. On that day the country learned that if a people do not feel SAFE, they cannot feel FREE. American flags were the people's way of saying we want our country and free and blessed way of life back. We will surrender it to no one, ever.
As Americans we have an awful lot to be proud of. We may not keep enough of our earnings, but the precious "sphere of privacy" that allows all of us to choose where, how and with whom, we will live is as priceless as it is rare. Owing to all the thousands of life-saving, labor-saving gadgets, appliances and inventions that free minds, men and markets created, Americans enjoy a constant improvement in the conditions of daily life - a condition unknown to any other place or period. Think of the miracles of modern medicine. Not long ago the aged would live out the remainder of their days in nursing home beds. Thanks to heart transplants, hip and knee replacements and pharmaceuticals for nearly every human ailment, today's seniors spend sunny days on tennis courts and golf courses into their eighties and nineties.
It is all made possible by a body of law and a respect for individual rights unmatched in the annals of human history. Beyond that Americans live under the firmest political checks and balances on aggressive power human ingenuity has yet devised. The fact that those checks and balances have broken down in recent times proves how urgent it is that the majority can no longer afford to remain silent.
Thank You Vets
But the facet of American life that is least appreciated and most impressive, is the simple goodness that this nation's greatness begot.
A nation is as great as it is free.
Our people's capacity to come to the aid of those who are suffering knows no bounds. If you're old enough to remember the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, you probably don't need any further proof. Americans give not out of a need to atone for some shameful guilt. Having availed themselves of the opportunities for success America generously offered, for most, giving is no sacrifice. Acts of kindness are usually born of justice, the desire to ease the hurt of those suffering for no fault of their own. The spirit of Christmas, of benevolence, generosity and good will, is the Spirit of America. It's just that American common sense says:
American pride recently reappeared with the people's spontaneous reaction to the NFL players disrespectful kneeling before for flag and anthem. The millions who turned off their TVs, tore up their season passes and turned their backs on their home teams reflects a deep-seated disgust with the athletes, recording artists, college professors and other celebrities who continually criticize their country while ignoring the full measure of progress she has made on the road to true justice and equality. Political correctness demands that we apologize and atone for our sins, past and present, real or imagined.
America stands accused and convicted of: "implicit bias," "unconscious racism," "sexism," "homophobia," "xenophobia," "white privilege," "income inequality," "rape culture," toxic masculinity," "rampant" police brutality (because only "Black Lives Matter"). To prevent politically incorrect influences from reaching their ears, college "daffodils" demand "trigger warnings" from their professors and "safe spaces" from any unwelcome thoughts.
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life people take the things they care about the most mostly for granted. That is a mistake . . .
What a people believe about themselves matters. National pride is to nations what self-esteem is to individuals. It is national pride, not guilt or shame, that keeps a nation strong and united. The need to repel these terrible tendencies and restore a strong sense of national pride could not be more urgent.
The Goodness That Greatness Begot
A nation in as great as it is free
Americans, the freest and most prosperous,
are the most generous & caring people who ever peopled the planet.