Fighting The Obvious
For years I've wondered why conservatives like myself seem to be at such a disadvantage at selling our ideas of limited-government, self-reliance and founding principles to the public at large.
We always seem to be playing catch-up, desperately trying to sell our ideas as the most in tune with natural law, constitutional law, basic economics or just plain common sense. But at every turn, pop culture and the mainstream media portray us as a bunch of backwater, selfish, mean-spirited capitalists.
Now, I'm 44 years old, been around the block a time or two, and am a serious political junkie. My favorites books aren't the latest spy thrillers, romance novels or the like, but books on economics and political theory. I consider authors like Thomas Sowell, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman among my favorites.
But in all their works, they, like me, focus on facts and figures, obvious evidence of the failures of statism and big-government and how a one-size-fits-all central bureaucracy can never hope to efficiently serve the 315 millions Americans living today. They expound upon free markets and the obvious benefits of un-coerced free exchange of goods, services and ideas.
So, with all that understanding of basic human action and based on millennia evidence of how people interact with each other, why are we losing the battle of ideas with the big-government utopian types that we so fear? How, considering tons of empirical data, can we be losing this thought war?
Well, quite simply, we're fighting a war with the obvious. What do I mean? The leftist utopian types always sell their ideas to the base needs of the people. They offer goodies that are obvious, the seen. But the long-term consequences, the unseen, are later realized due to economic reality. And, quite typically, once the unseen economic realities appear, the leftists offer yet more government to solve this new set of problems.
So, while the welfare-state types continue to offer more goodies and programs to the masses that are obvious and immediately seen, such as minimum wage hikes, gun control, amnesty, etc., the limited-government types are trying to sell their ideas based on what is not obvious, the unseen, and the future consequences of ever bigger government.
Thomas Jefferson stated, "I am not a friend to a very energetic government, it is always oppressive".
We are a country founded on the suspicion of big government, based on self-reliance, liberty and freedom. But these principles are easily buried under a sea of nanny-state giveaways and largesse, providing more and more government to the masses willing to sacrifice their liberty for security.
And all this brings me to another famous quote, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."