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A Hill Worth Dying For

Back in high school I had a quirky teacher who taught a class called “Principles of Democracy”.  We didn’t see eye to eye politically, but he challenged me in a number of ways.  I believe (hope) he appreciated me because, even then, I cared about my country and had strong political opinions that I was more than willing to share.  He allowed me to do that and I’m appreciative of his professional discipline.  Still, I was young and ignorant and therefore didn’t really have the knowledge or experience to properly form arguments and/or defend them.

One common flaw of mine that this teacher pointed out to me was that my blaming “the government” for anything or everything wasn’t well defined.  You hear it all the time, “The government is too big”, “The government wastes too much money”, etc.  On the level of sentiment we may get across a common understanding; that our government, in various forms, is bad in some way.  It is important to understand that this type of argument is juvenile and doesn’t help in defining flaws or making corrections.  In fact, I accept as true that these general arguments hurt the cause of the limited government movement.

Americans are and have always been abused by certain forms of government whether it be the British Crown or the home grown institutions set up by our citizens.  Too often when those abuses come we thwart our discontent toward a phantom foe – “the government”.  The problem is that “the government” is nobody, and everybody – either way, both are impossible to successfully fight.  It is for this reason that we should define specifically what entity has brought us injustice.

In my last “Case of the Mundays” post, I spoke of a lemonade stand that was shut down in Midway, Georgia.  The general response is that “the government” is out of line; but that gets us nowhere in defending these mistreated kids.  What government?  Shall we go to Obama?  Congress?  The State?  Should we just piss and moan about “the government” and their overreaching hand?  Sadly, those are usually the first responses from the right.  We grumble and we throw audible stones at only the most recognizable entities in our government.  Friends, this is lazy and part of the reason we’re now suffering numerous abuses.

In the case of the lemonade stand the people of that county should be working with their municipality’s board of directors and/or mayor to get this absurdity resolved.  There is no doubt that people, like me, will bellow about how this type of government intrusion is representative of our out of control government; but that sentiment dies if we do nothing about the local quandary.  Unlike the happenings behind closed doors in Washington, we can and do have a more tangible power in our local governments.  Our voices can be vividly heard in those halls.

It is imperative that we understand that our federal government, the body that we focus so much on, cannot be changed from the top down, but from the bottom up.  This is a founding principle.  We do not put people into office on Capitol Hill so that they might tell cities and counties how to do their business – that is very monarchical.  Instead, we are meant to influence the national government by imposing our values and ideas on the areas most intimate to us.  If you want to make a real difference, then do so locally.  It is often the case that the hill worth dying for is in your own backyard.

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RightHandMan

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Comments
  • Steve Dennis July 19, 2011 at 5:23 AM

    Good post. You are right, we must start at the bottom and build up to the top. It has taken many years for us to reach this point and we will not turn it around overnight, it is going to take time and patience but it can be done if we focus in the right places.
    Steve Dennis recently posted..Gunrunner: Darrell Issa requests documents from the FBI and the DEAMy Profile

  • Infidel de Manahatta July 19, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Excellent post. While I’m no constitutional expert I believe that our fathers expected local governments to have the most power and loyalty from the citizens, not faraway Washington. Americans need to get more involved in their county and municipalities so these sorts of things don’t happen again.
    Infidel de Manahatta recently posted..Debt Ceiling Negotiations ContinueMy Profile

  • Bunkerville July 19, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    A great post. First let us take back the School Boards so the indoctrination of our youth can end, then on to other local governments. These actually affect much of our day to day life. Do I want to pay for all the “Greenie” projects? They tell me I can’t park my car on the street after 1:00PM— no explanation. So on and so on. This is how we lose our freedoms.
    Bunkerville recently posted..Obama hires a security risk for sensitive postMy Profile

  • Country Thinker July 19, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    I think your general argument meshes with mine, namely, that there is no such thing as a “collective” entity. “There is no ‘we,’ only you and me.” People mistake cooperative efforts for collective action. When Congress passes a bill, the legislation is the cooperative effort of many members, not the action of some amorphous uber-being.

  • Jim at Conservatives on Fire July 19, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    The bottom up! Well said! Like Bunkerville, I believe people can change some of the problems we have with our education system. We can make our voices heard.
    Jim at Conservatives on Fire recently posted..The Numbers Game on Capital HillMy Profile

  • RightHandMan
    RightHandMan July 19, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    Thanks for the comments guys. I’m glad that you all agree. The fact remains, we cannot expect our government to change us – in fact, that is the opposite of what we want. We must change as a people in order to change those in power. That is the heart of republicanism.

  • Matt July 19, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    You raise an excellent post, I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve certainly been guilty of attributing actions the the “left.” My only caveat is that many in government view individual citizens as a collective that must be managed, catered to, and controlled in order for the plans of those individuals to be realized.
    Matt recently posted..Great Moments in Civil Discourse: Retroactive ReduxMy Profile

  • silverfiddle July 19, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Good point. Much of the overreach is at the state, county and local level.
    silverfiddle recently posted..Do Muslims have the Same Rights as Christians?My Profile

  • RightHandMan
    RightHandMan July 20, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    Consider for a moment that our national debt is at somewhere between $14-20 trillion dollars, but if you add in the state, city, and municipality debts it is around $80 trillion. That should give you a good idea as to where the problem lies and where we should take a stand.

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  • Teresa July 20, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Great post! This is logical thinking. Changing laws and how the government operates is probably most important at the local level. The people who stand up and change schools and how the government operates will probably vote one or more persons in office to make the necessary changes and those people may move up the bureaucratic ladder and have great influence over how the federal government operates. Changing the system from within is the best way possible to change the system. We have been seeing this from progressives for years. Now it is conservatives turn to change the system from within.
    Teresa recently posted..Thank God For The Second Amendment – Now That’s How A Gun Is Used!My Profile

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  • Scott July 21, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Exellent post. I feel that the 14th amendment must be repealed to get the “princes” out of the Senate and Washington in order to return states rights. The 14th was never ratified legally in the first place.
    Scott recently posted..They Have WonMy Profile

    • Scott July 25, 2011 at 9:38 AM

      My bad…I meant the 17th Amendment of course…I forgot my pocket Const…Lol I am suffering from Obama overload with so much criminal, unconstitutional behavior going on.

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