There are two types of people – those who pass the test, and those who do not try.
My fellow Americans,
There has been a breakdown and juvenilization of political discourse in this country. Despite claims of the importance of intellectualism, the “woke” are everywhere, and they know everything about the things they have neither sufficiently experienced nor studied. Despite calls for inclusiveness, people build up narratives to define who are the “ins” and the “outs”, and ultimately would decide who would be that “haves” and “have nots” – even with the very gift of life. They call to the gift of life, but they overlook the other unalienable rights of human beings, and further fail to even choose to gather the information necessary to determine the proper cessation of rights in practice of statistical engineering of our society, despite it being the absolute wrong thing to do. After all, what is a human rights violation that it can be justified by someone knowing better?
Or nation is fraught with shallow posturing, well-chosen, craftily arranged words forged into arrows of lies and misdirection, launched by the select who raise up their voice, stretch back their ignorance, and, lighting the lies with the fires of well-intended, misdirected passion, launch it into the hearts of the ignorant, well-intended, and gullible, where it may burn up their bridge to the cache of truth.
We cannot extinguish these fires quickly enough, because the whole of the people refuses to combat these fires with the most important compound question an American, or any people, can ask. It is this:
Could I possibly be wrong, if not in my heart, then by what I have learned or allowed myself to learn?
Could I be holding myself to an echo chamber? Do I even consider the opinions of others?
Do I understand the basics of the history of this nation as it pertains to politics, brewing ideologies amid the imperialism of the most successfully expansive power in history?
Do I understand human rights, the constitution, and the frame for this experiment that I, as an American, have the civic duty and patriotic responsibility to uphold?
Do I then allow in my mind honest reasoning regarding these matters, or do I make a hypocrite of myself when I demonstrate in the political theatre the same things that I would regard as sheepish idiocy in a person trapped in what is clearly a religious cult?
These questions are critical, as they would convict, I believe, nearly every American on at least one issue.
These questions are foundational, as they drive those who ask them to pursue the truth. They are no different than a believer asking to be examined by God so that they improve their spiritual and interpersonal living. It is negligence for us to ignore these questions and risk our politics from crumbling into middle school name-calling, ostracization, labeling, and ear-plugging.
And believe me, this negligence is self-evident.
There is in this nation a whole host of issues, including, but by no means limited to:
The fundamental misunderstanding of human rights, their gravity, and their proper relation to each other
The fundamental understanding of what America was founded to be, however effectively still is, and is meant to always be
The fundamental understanding of what individual responsibility is, and how to apply it to discussions of human rights and the roles of government
The fundamental understanding of our founding documents, which outline what we, as Americans and inferably all of the people of the world in their own nations, are responsible for doing to ensure that government does, indeed, serve the people, protecting their rights, and doing only what is necessary to keep them from becoming a complex, growing, powerful, invasive, restrictive behemoth that it is now, so that tyranny can be held back from even trickling from its ranks.
We misunderstand the right to free speech, its scope, and its protections, as well as how personal responsibility ties in and determines the cost of misuse of one’s words.
We fail to recognize that the first amendment identifies the rights to also peacefully assemble – not riot, loot, and destroy private property – and to petition the government for redress of grievance – taking it out on the government, and neither stealing nor destroying private property during riots that should have been peaceful protests.
We fail to realize that the first Amendment has been circumvented by and large by private corporations, serving as an oligarchical press leviathan, and that our failure to properly make non-partisan efforts to dismantle the propaganda machines that not only blind our enemies into disagreeing with us, but lie to us and keep us from considering that they are right on a given issue, and even, preferably, not our enemies, but rather coworkers, is making this experiment in freedom and self-governance unsuccessful. Likewise, we fail to recognize the group hate, failing to truly respect all religions and follow that government commandment to make no law respecting establishment of religion while claiming the benefits of strict democracy, and using the loud voices of few to destroy what is innocuous to many, and is only harmful to them because it upset them, even if only because it doesn’t suit their ideal for the world. We are raising tons of little tyrants to reject the very premise of free speech, free religious exercise, and freedom of association, because we, as individuals, rather than the government, decide in our groups to demonize, marginalize, and ostracize those who disagree. Our speech and association are powerful, and we are dangerous, negligent, undisciplined, and unaccepting of correction regarding their use, and we cause many great atrocities with these abuses not only in the hearts of individuals, but across and throughout our society. Ray Bradbury would ask, “who might be the target of the well-read man,” armed with knowledge, grounded on principle, and armored with reason? Well, we have militias of the unread, armed with propaganda, grounded on what they don’t know is tyranny, and armored with their ego. These go all too often unchecked by their opposition, are fed by many institutions, and, most tragically, are unchecked by themselves.
We reject the right to keep and bear arms for what it really is and what arms really are, failing to properly apply historical details in their proper historical context to modern weaponry, self-defense, and combat. This is not a partisan failure either, but a failure among people in every ideology, as it is perhaps the greatest stumbling block to the individual that another may legally and rightfully own the implements of war, that they might either defend themselves and their family, or decide to leave a trail of blood and death, robbing others of their loved ones, or end the life of a beloved political leader. Remember that our forefathers fought for this new nation, and then promptly allowed for such a thing to happen again when they ensured with our bill of rights that the common citizen could be armed. This way, no one should be able to rise to the top and, hating the opposition, lay siege to an unarmed or disarmed population, but rather having to deal with what they knew was the great futility of resisting a guerilla insurgency within one’s very border. It is for these reasons that the right to rebel against the government in both dissemination of information and the distribution of projectiles has been expressly protected in the bill of rights, and why the founders wrote many papers on the importance of these rights, these powers of the people, who are meant to hold the highest level of sovereignty in the land.
We have failed to support our very physical freedom to do these things by neglecting to enforce the limitations on the government in their investigations and arresting of private individuals. It is necessary for a person to remain secure in their belongings, property, personal affects and information, and privacy as a whole, because without these protections, any official can seek to destroy an individual or even an entire justified movement, such as the very insurgency that gave birth to this nation, by violating the rights of the people. We have foolishly ceded these rights of ours for the sake of security that only the exercise of our rights, and not our government, ultimately provide. This is the magnitude of personal responsibility as a founding principle, that only the individual has the truest best intentions for themselves, and their intentions for themselves are never higher for a stranger or an enemy. Therefore, we not only ought to be able to speak out against the government and both keep and carry arms as a rule, but we have the right to defend ourselves physically and against the prying eyes of the man, as they have no right to know anything about a citizen’s arms, ideas, persuasions, associations, or intentions until probably cause for specific searches for specific pieces of property and/or information are obtained. After all, no private individual has neither the right to know any such thing about another nor the right to arrest another. We cede the right to do these things only when necessary to have any sort of governance at all, deciding that the optimal amount of government is the minimal amount – more than none, but as little as possible.
It is ultimately for these reasons that we are to ensure that no one has to answer any question by an authority, as being forced to answer can incriminate them, and it is better to let a rogue run free than the punish an honest citizen. Accepting anything less leads to tyranny. Our preference for safety over regret is fulfilled by letting the guilty have the benefit of the doubt, rather than shackling or destroying the innocent with its deficit. We also have decided that a person can not be repeatedly made to defend themselves, so that the rich and empowered may not destroy someone with constant charges, leading to their de facto life imprisonment and impoverishment. To further facilitate this end, we have laid out express recognition for personal representation in every process of law, as every citizen is due a fair and speedy trial – this is due process, not an ex parte hearing held in secret, or a law passed at midnight, but rather that every case of the government taking from privacy, liberty, or property from a citizen the accuser and taker must stand before the judge against the accused and their representation, witnesses, arguments, and evidence. And it is also for this grand purpose that jury trials exist here, and limitations on bail, fines, and punishments are limited.
To seal up the powers of the individual, our Constitution’s Bill of Rights was closed up with two powerful amendments that affirm – as no amendment can declare or cause a right to be – that the enumeration of rights therein are not to be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, and that once all of these powers and rights of the people are subtracted, and the federal government is given its express powers, and finally the states take their express powers from the list, those remaining powers go to the people first, in recognition of their rights, and then finally to the states. This was done to invert the most ancient power structure, turning on its head the idea that the top of government has all the power, and instead making the individual the most powerful level of government.
This power of the people is a grave responsibility, especially in a land where it is formally declared and widely-recognized, however incompletely. Because we are not yet under the weight of true despotism, our responsibility is to keep wrangling this machine into what it ought to be, a minimalist, efficient, distant, unintrusive umbrella under which we call ourselves American, under which our states are united, and by which the citizens maintain their freedom from other nations and other citizens who might climb into, feed, and pervert the structures of the state and federal systems, and turn them into the monsters we still try to weaponize against each other today.
So, as I said in the beginning, there are two types of people – those who pass the test, and those who do not try.
You can take that to God, and he will tell you that it is true.
You have already spoken it to or thought it against your neighbor, so it had better be true that if they really tried to see something your way, they would.
This is the challenge for Americans: Undo these things regarding which I have charged you with guilt and shame.
Leave your echo chambers. Engage in civil dialogue with people regardless of whether you know that you agree with them and discuss everything. See why you agree and disagree, and boil down the issue to first principles, to matters we might call axiom, and then apply that idea to every belief. Undo your hypocrisy by ridding yourselves of double standards.
Leave the propaganda machines to spew their nonsense to those who fail this test by failing to challenge themselves – and then challenge them, both the machines and their victims. Write against, speak against, and protest the lies of major news organizations, political parties, and other organizations that lock us into this dissonance that benefits them, keeping them in power to further divide and destroy us for their own benefit.
Enter into study of the very philosophy of human rights and of the history of this nation. Study the history of the English Bill of Rights and its influences on our nation. Realize that we are constantly trying to prevent a revolution and yet reap the fruit of our founding war, that we are here to make and keep peace and prosperity by properly using our powers of speech, assembly, community, and discourse so that we do not go to torches, pitchforks, rock-throwing, or bullet-launching. Yet, embrace and support the rights of individuals and their assemblies to do these things under the proper contexts now that you understand the source of these rights and protections with your studies.
Then, once you realize the whole goal, stop doing the things that antagonize these ends. Mature in political discourse. Stop the name-calling, the dirty political tactics, and the pushes for restriction of your most despised group. Rather, come to understand them and make reasonable amends. It takes maturity to actually compromise, and much more to realize when compromise, such as with our right, is actually wrong. However, we have done this before, and so long as we actually intend to do it and are not blinded by our short-sightedness or by others in it, we will unravel this ball of contention, come together as a nation, shrink our governments, and ensure by the reduction of government, and certainly its horrific spending, a prosperous future for our children, and, if we make haste, even ourselves.
My fellow Americans, do try.