Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence of Thought and Patriotic Dissent

The following quote is attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler a Scottish born, British lawyer, writer and historian:

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

  • From bondage to spiritual faith;
  • From spiritual faith to great courage;
  • From courage to liberty;
  • From liberty to abundance;
  • From abundance to complacency;
  • From complacency to apathy;
  • From apathy to dependence;
  • From dependence back into bondage.
As we approach another Independence Day I find myself in deep reflection of the virtues of our great nation. The United States were founded under extraordinary circumstances by extraordinary people. Perfect? Our founders and forefathers were not. However, they laid down an awesome framework in which America quickly traveled the aforementioned sequence from bondage all the way to abundance. It seems to me that we are now sliding into complacency and apathy and moving quickly into dependence. I am truly concerned about the last stage of this sequence- back into bondage.

It seems that more and more, disagreement with issues such as universal health care and comprehensive immigration reform will get you labeled as intolerant, indifferent to the poor and a racist. Contrary to popular belief, Americans are among the most benevolent people in the world. We individually give very generously when disaster strikes around the country and around the world. The key word being individually. There are forces at work in our nation that seek to oppress the will, rights and virtue of the individual and replace it with that of the group.

Major polls regularly indicate that a relatively small percentage of Americans actually consider themselves Liberal in terms of political policy. This raises many paradoxical questions about what we are seeing happen in our nation. Given the information gleaned from these polls, why does it seem that a disproportionate amount of our media, news and pop culture leans so far to the left? How do Conservative writers consistently top the New York Times Best Seller lists? How and why does Fox News consistently dominate the other cable news networks in spite of the vitriol from the current administration and much of the media world? Lets break it down a little bit.

Why do Conservative entities hold such an advantage relative to their liberal counterparts?

I'd like to offer this hypothesis: The majority of Americans who are interested in current events and are actively engaged in the political process are not interested in going with the flow of pop culture. They cast a critical eye at notions of group victimhood and cast aside notions of personal gain at any cost. They are not impressed because a politician offers them a leg up or an easy way out. They understand that everyone needs help at some time but we must weigh the cost.

How do far-left Liberals gain such inroads into our pop culture?
Here's another hypothesis: Too many Americans simply do not take the time to formulate a political stand based on what they truly believe. They are not prone to actually taking the time to deeply understand issues that will effect them and the nation. They are then easily manipulated by people that would seek to place them in a group. The groups are many. They include the poor, the middle class, Blacks, Latinos, Christians and labor just to name a few.

My hope for America is that we will not forget that our strength as individuals is what makes us collectively great. We can disagree on issues. That is the American way. Our disagreements are what make as stronger. Our debates are where we sharpen and prune our ideas. However, the key to this strength is an informed electorate that understands their strength and value as individuals. The founders understood this. They welcomed a melting pot of ideas for the purposes of strengthening the union. If we don't continue to avail ourselves to this process we may raise our eyes one day and find ourselves back into bondage, under what Tocqueville called the tyranny of the majority.


  1. I love this blog, particularly the last paragraph.

  2. I really appreciate your reading! Please follow my blog if you see fit and please share. I enjoy writing and enjoy knowing that I might be making some small impact out here. :-)

  3. I love your blog. You must be a man with a lot of courage, Herbert. Thank God for you. Keep the faith. "First put reason in her seat, Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." Thomas Jefferson