There is something wrong and we all know it.
What do I think it is? I think it is that power is concentrated in the hands of those with different goals from the people from whom that power derives. I call the top of the pyramid “the power elite” and the source of the power “the sovereign citizen,” but whatever you call it, you have probably noticed the disconnect between our agents, the government we pay for and which acts in our name, and our wishes – better reflected in campaign promises than legislation.
But what can we do? I always answer this question in the same way: Start by not talking yourself out of the truth.
During the last presidential primary season, I advocated for Ron Paul. I didn’t stump for him – I’m an anarcho-capitalist and have no hope for coercive monopoly government no matter who holds the top title – but I do respect Ron Paul and supported him. In response to my suggestion that people actually vote for him, I got two arguments:
1) His foreign policy is dangerous.
2) He could never win.
Both of those arguments were the essence of self-defeatism and I’ll tell you why.
The first argument is a reflection of an uncritical acceptance of the mainstream media / official narrative of world events. Fox and CNN, Bush and Obama, all have essentially the same position on foreign policy. That should be a big red flag! Don’t rely on any mainstream media or any politician to give you the straight scoop on foreign affairs. You MUST look at all sources for information, even ones whose politics you disagree with, then try to sort out fact from spin, truth from lies. I recently read that 80% of government intelligence is “open source” – that is, information is out there, the skill of the intelligence community is to assess plausibility of story and credibility of source. You can do that too.
The second argument is the more philosophical one. To this I say, if you won’t vote for him because “he could never win,” you have no faith in yourself or in the vote so why bother voting at all?
But there’s a deeper point here. I have given much thought to repaying the debt I owe our fathers who fought for our freedoms and the duty I owe to our descendants to pay that forward. I am not a soup kitchen gal, I could not be a cloistered nun – those are not my calling. I’m also not a politician or an activist. What am I? You know the answer to that – I’m a talker!!! So I talk, and talk, and talk! And one day at a wedding I happened to sit next to a radio producer, the lovely Christa from the Clark Howard show. She got a mic in front of me, and here I am. So just doing what I do seemed to put me on a road to actually making some small contribution.
But what is the contribution? It is simply this: I pursue the truth no matter how much it threatens my basic assumptions. I try on the hats of those I disagree with just to try to see what they see and in so doing I get a better understanding of my own position. I try not to be afraid of who I am or who those I admire or detest really are. Then I try to live (and talk!) with honesty and integrity. Doing this, I feel totally liberated from the need to “make a difference,” but in so doing, I may be most likely to make a difference after all.
I must admit that I have a great advantage in my pursuits than most other economic actors (i.e., people who have jobs, tend the household, etc.). I am a highly educated person with a totally non-judgmental husband for whose children I have been more or less a full time mom for over a decade. This freed up my mind and what little leisure time my duties left me to pursue the knowledge and thoughts I found to be true rather than being forced to read trade rags or spend all my time trying to please a boss or figure out what everyone else in my field already knows. I am in the rare position of having no one to answer to intellectually – I can say and think and believe anything I damn well please and my husband either loves it or laughs at it, but there are no negative consequences. This is true liberty, and for that (and the fact that he is the one responsible for filing the taxes in our house), I am truly grateful.
All of this is by way of introduction to an article I read at the suggestion of a listener and frequent commenter to this blog, Hugh, who offers:
Today’s Devotional. And I mean that most sincerely. Devotionals take many forms and deal with many different subjects. And they incorporate scriptural references and often wise words by those who have gone before us. This particular devotional deals with mans’ struggle under oppressive governments. It is very moving. Please read.
Here is the article he recommends: Reply to a Really Important Question. It begins:
Today one person, Nora, posted a question which I think is so important that it deserves its separate post. Here is what she wrote:
Saker, I get where you’re coming from. I’m truly scared to ask this but you know I’ve got to: what recourse do we have here in the US? What can we do to stop what’s going on in our name and with our tax dollars, both here and everywhere else? I used to think I knew the answer(s). I don’t anymore. (Continue to article.)
I should add that the article appears on a website, Vineyard of the Saker, which is a great example of an opportunity to avail oneself of valuable resources even if the source has very different political or philosophical views from one’s own. The Saker offers much wisdom and great insights into the situation in Russia and has tons of insights and experiences from the inside, and he couldn’t be further from an anarcho-capitalist, yet I read him. I believe the Saker feels the same way, as he quotes Malcolm X in one of his blog banners: “I am for the truth, no matter who tells it.” Amen to that.
I’m no anarcho-capitalist, but you make some great observations here. Specifically, this is valid: “I pursue the truth no matter how much it threatens my basic assumptions. I try on the hats of those I disagree with just to try to see what they see and in so doing I get a better understanding of my own position. I try not to be afraid of who I am or who those I admire or detest really are.”
That would make you open minded – genuinely open minded. “Open-mindedness” is often misunderstood and used when a more appropriate phrase like “politically correct -or- mass-movement-approved cynicism” would suffice.
“Then I try to live (and talk!) with honesty and integrity. Doing this, I feel totally liberated from the need to “make a difference,” but in so doing, I may be most likely to make a difference after all.”
Doing the first precipitates the latter. Being genuinely open minded means listening and observing – sensing – with honesty and integrity. If one masters the art of open-mindedness they’ll find it hard to speak and act to the contrary.
Kind of like you have!
Do you think this alone can change the world? Individuals simply pursuing truth? Is there really anything else we CAN do?
Maybe? Surely it all starts with the individual. Do they pursue the truth (the hard road) or comfortable affiliation (siding with whatever makes us feel most “safe”)?
I just wrote an article about the changing character of the American people. I had in there a paragraph I should have left in about personal choices (and parental influences at work.) Free will is at the heart of all, you are right. I guess that’s why my only goal really is to exchange ideas – get people to think – their choices, their conclusions, are their own.
THIS WHOLE PLANET NEEDS TO BE SLAPPED!!! TOO MUCH KISSING!!!
thinking that voting for a libertarian has no effect would be a mistake. Already, politicians have to acknowledge libertarian principles because they have lost the libertarian vote in the past. they tell you your vote is wasted precisely because it isn’t. If you vote libertarian, They may lose. If you keep voting republican, you’ll definitely lose, more liberty. I’d rather write in a libertarian than vote for a republican or democrat anymore.
If I recall correctly, Saxby Chambliss had to endure a run-off because of a mere 3% libertarian vote in his last election. When I used to hear the official vote counts: 69 million for Obama, 60 million for McCain and 523,715 for Bob Barr, for example, I would say, hey, I’m one of those 523,715…my vote was counted! Piling on for the other guys is just a rounding error!