There’s Still Time

by | Nov 10, 2004

One of the reasons the electorate and the country are so divided is that there is no widespread adherence to any particular set of political convictions. Most Americans do not want to adopt Communism, Nazism, fascism or Islamofascism as a set of convictions, for example. Yet many assume that these ideologies are the only “game” […]

One of the reasons the electorate and the country are so divided is that there is no widespread adherence to any particular set of political convictions. Most Americans do not want to adopt Communism, Nazism, fascism or Islamofascism as a set of convictions, for example. Yet many assume that these ideologies are the only “game” in town. Most either don’t know about the philosophy guiding the American founders — one of individual rights and a strictly defined and limited government — or they assume, as most of our leaders and professors imply, that these previous ideals are outdated and irrelevant for today’s times.

Given the widespread perception that there is no consistent set of principles to define a proper, free and rational government, the country by default lapses into the emotional sort of divisiveness seen in this year’s presidential contest and, under different circumstances, four years ago.

Nobody wants Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Osama bin Laden to be President.

Yet nobody thinks that a Thomas Jefferson — who believed the government that governs least governs best — would be feasible today. As a result, we get John Kerry and George Bush. Neither man is Adolf Hitler, yet neither is anything remotely close to Thomas Jefferson, either.

In a way, this is good. The divisiveness means that no political philosophy is winning at present because none is being articulated by the highest profile candidates. It means that a discovery (or rediscovery) of a philosophy grounded in individual rights and limited government can still take shape and gain influence as people get sicker and sicker of these kinds of campaigns. A philosophy of truly limited government is one in which church and state as well as economics and state are separate — and government uses the full force of its power to attack violent enemies, restrain criminals and punish fraud. This philosophy, or at least an emotional attitude something like this philosophy, will have to take hold in the people themselves, people who in turn depend upon the intellectual leadership they receive from the thinkers, writers and intellectual persuaders in the culture.

Sadly, it’s not yet time for a politician who aggressively and consistently stands for individual rights, limited government and freedom. The good news? There’s still time. As our candidates and campaigns hit bottom, it’s scary and uplifting at the same time. Out of this mess in 2004 could come a much more philosophical campaign in the future. After all, how much more of this can people take?

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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