There are other messages we should take from the bitter rancor and vitriolic reactions to the recent episode of the US Senate performing its Article II, Section 2 Constitutional powers. It is the same message that is being sent when elections become a life or death proposition and when representatives of political parties engage in physical violence, as in the case of Rene Boucher attacking Rand Paul or attempted assassinations, as in the case of James Hodgkinson shooting Steve Scalise and the GOP baseball team.
Government is too important and too powerful.
To understand why government has become too important and too powerful, one should understand how American life has moved away from the idea of individual freedoms to an era of collective control. These days, there is a large segment of the American population that is more concerned about what others do than their own actions – their entire existence is based on the idea that their success or failure is rooted in the ability to prevent some ubiquitous “other” from some undesirable action or coercing that same “other” into engaging in some action that is preferred.
This behavioral pattern is a precursor to the authoritarianism inherent in all collectivist ideologies (i.e. socialism, Marxism, and communism) and may well explain why so many younger Americans see these collectivist ideologies as a way forward.
But these are not “ways forward” for America – never have, never will be. Not if any degree of individual liberty matters.
But that is why control of government – the executive, the judicial and the legislative – is critical to people who think these are ways forward because only government has the capability, the scope and the ability to coerce people to do things. It is also why the progressive left wants to eliminate the Constitutional provisions for the Electoral College and Article I, Section 3 establishment that the US Senate shall be composed of two Senators from each State. It is why they also want to turn the Supreme Court into a “super-legislature” with supreme power over all other branches.
The greater conceit is this: no matter who you define as the “other” person, you are the “other” person to them. There is no “other” – to control one is to control all – no one escapes.
Those of us who have been on an airplane have heard this safety briefing that includes:
“In the event of a loss of cabin pressure an oxygen mask will fall from the panel above you, pull it down and place the mask over your nose and mouth with the elastic band around your head:
1. Tighten the mask to fit by pulling on the elastic bands
2. Put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others
3. Oxygen will flow through the mask even though the bag may not inflate.”
So, why would you put the mask on yourself first, especially if one of your children is sitting next to you? Is it because you are selfish? Because you hate the child in the seat next to you? Because you are a coward and want your seatmate to die?
No – you do it because you must preserve yourself, remain conscious and safe to survive and help other people. If you don’t protect yourself first and then pass out, then you die and the person next to you who needs your help will die as well.
The only way America works is for its people to reduce the power and scope of government and return to rational self interest and the belief that we should firsts be concerned with our own actions and leave others alone.
We need to remember that while there exist those who are “other people” to us, we are “other people” to them.