OPINION –The GOP nominating convention in Salt Lake City this past weekend was an eye-opening experience.
Beyond the pageantry and political atmosphere it was clear that most participants were taking part out of a sense of love of country and liberty. Even so, there were some striking differences in how they advocated for freedom.
For example, Second Congressional District challenger Zachary Hartman spoke passionately of his grandfather who served in WWII. Hartman related how his grandfather told him that the greatest day in his life was the day “Truman dropped the egg” that visited nuclear destruction on the Japanese.
That line dropped more than a few jaws, including mine. Still, it made for an interesting object lesson. Loving liberty and effectively advocating for it are two different animals.
What is the best way to convey the incomparable value of liberty?
Obviously the answer isn’t something that can be simply boiled down to a science; otherwise the strongest promoters of liberty would wear lab coats. Instead, it requires a people who are willing to be personal advocates for liberty in word and in deed. Of course, this is not as simple as it sounds.
One reason for this is that the very concept of liberty has been under sustained attack for many generations. A kind of cultural illiteracy has set in over time to the point that we can speak of liberty without actually understanding what it is.
To overcome this crucial information gap, we often have to unlearn before we can learn. Much of what we have been taught about the principles and practices of liberty is either erroneous or flat out false. Considering the degree to which enemies of liberty have gained control of the educational system, this is not surprising.
Too often today, textbooks are written by government-endorsed “experts” that filter the information to favor the current power structure. People who wish to understand liberty must be willing to seek out original sources and to engage in original research.
For instance, a person who really wishes to understand the original intent of the Founding Fathers when they wrote the Constitution will find incredible insights in the Federalist Papers as well as the Anti-federalist Papers. Even greater insights can be found in the notes from the ratifying conventions of the various states.
How the founding generation described liberty and properly limited government is very different from how modern politicians and sophists seek to portray it. The founders’ principles and ideals were not dependent upon a certain age or level of technology. They drew upon the wisdom of thousands of years of human civilization. They wrote in plain, declarative English that is easily understood if we’re willing to read.
Otherwise, we place ourselves at the mercy of “experts” who tell us what they think we should know about historical people and events. Free people must think and know for themselves.
Once we have personally paid the price to understand, we don’t have to live on borrowed light. This also prepares us to move the cause of liberty by helping others recognize the value in upholding it.
Opposition is to be expected. Generations of Americans have been trained to view anything not under the direct control of the state as out of control. Most argue against liberty out of ignorance, some fight it due to lust for power over others.
Claire Wolfe offers sound advice on why debate is too often a waste of time. She said:
Don’t argue philosophy or issues with people who disagree with you on fundamentals. Waste of time. You will persuade no one, but rile everyone, including yourself. Don’t you have something better to do with your life?
Nowhere is this more important than when dealing with people who are close to us. A more gentle approach is required. Instead of alienating them by trying to browbeat others to our point of view, diplomacy and gentle persuasion are how to win converts.
This is especially true when we can provide literature, resources, or simply well-timed questions that cause them to think in such a way that they arrive at the truth on their own.
Winning over the masses to liberty is like trying to fill a row of milk bottles with a fire hose. Filling each bottle deliberately and carefully yields far better results than a high-pressure approach.
Liberty is most successfully advanced when we view others as the prize to be won rather than a foe to be crushed.
- Combatting federal overreach primary theme at Utah Republican Convention
- Utah GOP Convention chooses returning candidates, runoffs; STGnews photo gallery
- Congressional hopeful Zachary Hartman banks on brutal honesty
- Perspectives: Rightful liberty and the right to be left alone
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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