It's a Long, Long, Road
Greg Ordy, July 1999
"If a man is not a liberal at eighteen, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is thirty, he has no mind" - Winston Churchill
It's reasonable to assume that our views toward politics and government will be heavily influenced by the people and events around us at the time we begin to mature into young adults. For me, I entered that part of my life at the end of the 1960's, a time of substantial political unrest. Vietnam, the Chicago Democratic Convention, the King and Kennedy assassinations, the civil rights movement, The Great Society, to name a few. My parents, as I understand them, were best classified as liberal Democrats.
I began my own thinking process and voting pattern with that perspective. To this day, I still share what I believe were the goals of that perspective. Equality of opportunity and justice for all, without regard for race, gender, or religion. Ability to live without fear of violence, or social unrest. Being able to achieve personal success, while not being abandoned to die in the street if one fails. Freedom with responsibility.
Unfortunately, my observation has been that the course we have taken to achieve these goals has not only failed, but made the problems substantially worse.
The cause of the failure, in simplest terms, is that we have tried to use the institution of government to solve problems that are beyond its just limits and abilities. At the same time, other institutions, better suited to solving certain problems, have been reduced in importance or watered down in influence.
This situation is not that surprising. History can be marked by the shifts between institutions and the cycles of certain thinking. For over 100 years, the promise of socialism has led most of the world to experiment with it. The forms and extents differ, but the underlying signature is unmistakable. In my opinion, all forms and extents have failed. Socialism is a failure. It will always fail. It fails for at least two reasons. First, like it or not, the human species will not play according to the rules of socialism. Second, in order to establish and enforce the fairness that socialism promises, a ruling class must be established. A ruthless ruling class. Again, humans have proven to be unable to function in the role of ruling class without abusing the power that must come with it. To be blunt, Karl Marx got it exactly backwards. Capitalism does indeed work, and socialism is a disaster.
In the United States, we are coming to socialism rather late in the game. Many other experiments have already failed. Our experiment is built upon the traditions and institutions that founded this country. That evolution confuses the issues and clouds the facts. For me, the telltale signs are obvious. At the least:
There is a tremendous temptation at this point to present all sorts of information that define the proper bounds of government. In the United States, this would include the founding documents of the nation. In my case, I was more persuaded by the obvious failures of the last 30 years, and the failures in all other parts of the world. Even if you do not agree with me on the problem, it seems impossible to disagree that what we have been trying does not work. I first noticed the failure of the liberal/socialism approach, then started to ask why.
Since my first vote, in 1972, I have evolved from Democrat through Republican to Libertarian. My wishes for the country have not changed, in many ways, I inherited them. What has changed is my knowledge and understanding of people and institutions, and how they react to the forces around them. Socialism does not work, the course we are on is de facto socialism, and it will not work.
Many people believe in elaborate conspiracies. I tend to think that there are very few conspiracies. For the most part, conspiracies usually take too much work and effort. Most of us are amazingly lazy. Usually, people with different motivations and no real connection find themselves moving in the same direction at around the same time. To the outside observer, this may appear to be a conspiracy.
Our experimentation with socialism is being fueled by such a situation. To be sure, there are some number of true socialists. They usually are found within the Democratic political party. They are loyal to party before country, and actively seek out the promised utopia of socialism. Their numbers are substantial, but still a minority.
Many other Democrats have simply bought in to the idea that government is the correct and perhaps only institution to perform certain functions. This includes many special and single interests that apparently are convinced that only government laws and regulations will achieve their ends. It's as if their case is not strong enough to convince people to take action without being forced by threat of punishment. Rather than educate and sell their ideas in order to voluntarily change behavior, they descend on Washington to gain laws that will enforce behavior. We have so many special and single interests that their cumulative effect is to promote government control and regulation across most all aspects of life.
The Republican political party states positions which seem to oppose socialism. The problem is that it is all talk and no action. In the end, they too are drunk with the power and influence of government. Government is again an institution that can solve way too many problems.
At this point in time, the only party that seems to take an active stance against the implementation of socialism is the Libertarian Party.
Socialism is also silently promoted as other institutions fail to live up to their responsibilities. We are under cultural pressure as well as political pressure. Individuals not taking responsibility for their actions. Families have stopped taking care of their own. Churches have turned over charity and compassion to the government. As these and other institutions crumble, many well-intentioned but misguided citizens look to government simply out of desperation. Add in a large dose of citizen apathy, and welcome to contemporary America.
Do not expect any radically new ideas in my thoughts captured on these web pages. I have little disagreement with the opinions of, for example, Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura. All you have to do is turn on your radio to hear their views, for several hours each day. For me, my sadness at the slow destruction of this once great nation is all it takes to motivate me to write, even if it's all been said before.
Copyright (c) 1999, Greg Ordy
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