Monday, July 23, 2012

Our Common Ground

by Scott Strzelczyk                                                                                   From: A Citizens View

Are citizens capable of honest and open discourse without denigrating one another because of personal beliefs, choices, and differences? The answer contains good and bad news. The political environment diminishes and degrades people of all walks by dividing and compartmentalizing everything. The ruling class pits one side against the other, brother against brother, parent against child, friend against friend, and neighbor against neighbor.

The prize for the winner is power, control, and dominion over the loser. This is the reality of our government and political system. Republicans and Democrats alike participate in this steel-cage match where the winner takes all and does whatever is necessary to punish their opponent. Good, decent people suffer under the thumb of central planners and an authoritarian, centralized state.

What concerns me is so many people are inextricably joined, like Siamese twins, to party and ideology knowing the side in power will exercise dominion over half the citizens? Is that the outcome both sides desire? To win an election, gain power, and exercise dominion of your will over others. Remarkably, this is precisely what happens with in the political environment.

Why?

Why must roughly half the people dictate how the other half lives? Why do both sides thirst for power just to dominate the other side? Is your thirst quenched when your team is in power and through the use of the law and brute political force require other people to submit to your team’s will?

This is what passes as civil society.

The challenge for everyone across the political spectrum is this:

  • Would you be happy and content to live life according to your beliefs and let others live their lives according to their beliefs?
  • Would you concede that people should be able to freely choose how and where to live?
  • Would you concede that you don’t want to force people to live under your rules and laws as long as you could live under your own rules and laws?
  • Would you willingly force a person to live under rules and laws against their wishes?
  • Are you willing to imprison or kill another person for not submitting to your rules and laws, or your beliefs?


If any two people, any two groups of people, any two political parties can answer yes to the first three questions and no to the last two questions than their differences are not so great that they cannot be overcome. There is common ground. In fact, a substantial amount of common ground.

What I described is attainable. In fact, it’s been at our disposal ever since the Union was founded. The problem is a very small percentage of people want us fighting with each other over taxes, and spending, and entitlement programs, and monetary policy, and foreign policy. The ruling class requires this division amongst the people to retain power, to ensure the status quo, to get re-elected to office.

Let’s examine some practical examples:

  • What if two million atheists want to live without religion. Should religious people compel them to learn religion in schools and live according to a religious set of beliefs?
  • Likewise, what if two million Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindu, or Buddhists want to live with religion. Should Christians be compelled to learn evolution in schools and live according to atheists beliefs?
  • What if ten million people wanted to provide health care for all. Should these people compel others to pay for their health care?
  • What if ten million people wanted to live without having to pay for the health care of others. Should these people compel others to live under that system?
  • What if two hundred thousand people wanted to share all their property and belongings with others. Should they compel others to share their property with others against their will?
  • What if two hundred thousand people wanted absolute property rights. Should they compel others to accept that system?
  • What if ten million people want to wear only white or blue shirts. Should they compel others to wear the same clothing?
  • What if ten million people wanted to ban white or blue shirts. Should they compel others to not wear white or blue shirts?
  • What if twenty million people wanted to use only solar, wind, and geothermal energy. Should they compel others to also use the same energy?
  • What if twenty million people wanted to use nuclear energy. Should they compel others to use the same energy?

The list is indefinite.

The problem is exacerbated by the size and scale of the country and the diverse interests of three hundred and ten million people. One answer, one solution simply cannot work due to the size and scale of people as well as the diversity of interests.

Our Union is comprised of fifty states. It wasn’t always that way. It started with thirteen states. Why stop at fifty states. Why not one hundred, or five hundred, or two thousand states? States can be repositories which allow for diverse interests to coalesce. People could freely choose to live in a state that more closely reflects their beliefs and interests.

While I have a certain set of beliefs and interests I don’t want to compel my fellow man to submit to my will. Likewise, I do not wish to submit to another person’s will. The one size fits all solution simply doesn’t work in a country with hundreds of millions of people with very diverse interests and beliefs.
Can you live your life according to your beliefs and interests without compelling others to conform to your beliefs? Can you also concede the same to your fellow man?

The good news is I don’t believe most people want to dominate others and force them to submit to their will. Most of us simply want to live freely according to our beliefs and interests. For those that cannot live without compelling others to live according to a specific set of beliefs I simply wish you farewell. We have nothing further to discuss. But I have faith in the majority of mankind. And, as I wrote earlier the solution has been at our disposal for over two hundred years.

Instead of a single top-down, authoritative government we could live freely in hundreds or thousands of states. The solution is federalism. The precise solution provided for under the Constitution. If these ideas appeal to your sensibilities then I implore you to stop taking sides against your brother, your friend, and your neighbor. Support a solution that affords all of us the opportunity to live a life according to our desires and beliefs without imposing them on others.

Support Federalism. It is our common ground.

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Scott Strzelczyk is political activist and writer, as well as the producer and “semi-competent” host of The Forgotten Men radio program that airs every Saturday from noon to 2pm.
To listen to the live radio show go to
www.forgottenmen.com. On Facebook go to www.facebook.com/theforgottenmen.

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