An Informed and Educated Public

One of the things I have often been heard saying is words to the effect: “It’s a process. It doesn’t happen overnight.” This is true in learning something new, in driving traffic to a website, and as we discovered last night (a painful realization for me), in politics and the continuation of the Republic as well.

Those of us who lean libertarian and center-right in our individual philosophies and our expectations of (smaller/less/constrained) centralized government appear in large part to have missed the "process" part. We convinced ourselves that the mood and sentiment of the entire country, or at least a winning majority, were on our side, that the average American voter had somehow—through osmosis, or telepathy, or simply the contagion of our enthusiasm—had the blinders removed from their eyes and when presented with the choice between the President and his challenger, they would obviously pick the challenger because… Well … Because he wasn’t the President.

Though we may have convinced some to see what we saw, to look beyond the smoke and the mirrors, to discern the dangers to the nation if we continue on the socialistic, collectivist path we are currently traveling, I feel we were in large part preaching only to the choir and to ourselves. Our mantra was, for the most part, "Obama’s got to go!" followed by a litany of reasons why he has been a bad president. Those lists and reasons are still valid. But, the average voter cares not for those lists and reasons.

On the other hand, had we prevailed last night and elected Mitt Romney president of these United States, though the victory would have been sweet, it may well have been devastating to the long term goal of preserving the Republic. It would have been too easy for many of those voters to say "There! The job’s done. We saved the nation." and allow themselves to return to complacently living their day to day lives. And who could blame them? Convincing usually does very little to educate or to inform.

So, we need to begin the process anew. We need to find a way to educate the public that "free" in government speak means theft from someone else. We need to restore in the average American voter an enlightened self-interest and somehow convince a majority of the populace that self-sufficiency and personal responsibility are integral to the continuation of the American Republic. That government, though necessary, cannot be trusted and is not capable of providing for every want and need on a sustainable basis. In the words of George Washington:

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

I’m afraid we may be on the verge of learning just how fearful that master may be.