Self-interest is often confused with self-serving, that, in the end renders one to be questionable of certain duties. Self-interest for one’s family is commendable. Or one’s health. History has been an astute observer that self-serving was inimical to the cause of liberty at our Founding, as it rears its ugly head to this day. We are free to improve one’s on conditions, for example. Habitual self-serving comportment is toxic to the cause of liberty, as Publius observed in Federalist 51 and 76. Although Madison believed that a republican government established correctly, could actually use self-interest to preserve liberty. Balance is the determinate. We aren’t free to capitulate to our monarchial self regardless of the outcome. Most agree that self-serving is only a problem for others. As adults, we’re unsurprised when one’s offspring is up front, by asking, “What’s in it for me?” Giving us ample opportunity to trot out our tawdry, “It’s not all about you” speech that we’ve rehearsed for such an occasion, as we hastily eschew the #MeToo generation, knowing extirpation’s impossible.
Not so fast. In our search for a public philosophy that matches our much maligned Constitutional liberty banner, we’re faced with this reality when we often begin our self-serving political profile for “right candidate.” Whether it’s local government, State of Wyoming, or on the national stage, many of us claim, “We want what’s best.” Just what do we mean? Do we mean the “common good?” Suddenly, we’re confronted with the fact that the “public good” is often at odds with “public opinion.” On the GOP side, Wyoming’s experiencing early political angst for the U.S.Congressional race, that many already picked “their winner.”
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump upset the political applecart, by anointing attorney Harriet Hageman, who many had tagged for the governor’s race, after five other candidates had been on the stump for months, playing by what they thought were the “rules” of merit for Trump’s endorsement. Most dutifully bowed out for the “unity of the party” to block Liz Cheney from winning the GOP primary. Let’s see how that ends.
One candidate never agreed to those “rules.” Like it or not, Anthony Bouchard has the liberty and self-interest to stay in the race. He’s been derided by many who staunchly supported State Rep Chuck Gray. Not all liberty minded voters have embraced Trump’s delight. Time will tell how wise the Hageman choice turns out. Some murmur quietly, “D.C. is a good place for Liz Cheney!”
This fight has nothing to do with Constitutional issues. It’s redolent of self-interest. It’s all about removing Liz Cheney. Unlike the Democrats in D.C. who still don’t understand the difference between a democracy and a republic, liberty’s advocates do. Our Founders would be woefully disappointed that their descendants have failed miserably on this front, using two terms interchangeably at will, like epic and epoch, to our detriment and demise.
Anyone remotely interested in national politics understand that any candidate warming up in the bull-pen for 2024 election are expected to raise vexing questions like, “What are you going to do for the middle class?” The Biden train wreck masquerading as an administration, should’ve been asked, “What are you going to do to the middle class?” After nine months the answer’s clear. Instead of “How are you going to court the LGBTQ or Hispanic vote?” Or “What about upper class suburban women?” Wouldn’t it be appropriate to ask, “How does one’s position comport with the Constitution of the United States?” Who best fosters that principle? Once upon a time that resonated with a majority of the people. Liberty minded patriots understand that until states get the voting fiasco corrected, with election integrity, one may as well stick to state politics and elect a strong Tenth Amendment executive, liberty loving legislature, and patriots at the grass level willing to fight like the third monkey trying to board Noah’s Ark.
That the American landscape is unrecognizable, politically, economically and morally by any metric, is inarguable. Years ago it was acknowledged that in America there was a public philosophy or a “civil religion” that guided us, as writers like Michael Novak’s 1974, ”Choosing Our King,” and John Courtney Murray’s, 1960 “We Hold These Truths.” Vintage publications. Both are worthwhile reads. Evangelicals know we’re not ushering in a theocracy, though secularists and progressives accuse us of such. Modern totalitarian ideologies, Marxists, Communists and Socialists, are every bit as “religious” stripped of a Biblical Old and New Testament God, rather touting a “paradise in this secular world,” where self-serving behavior is meritorious. What have they in common? They’ve all failed in their attempt to resurrect Man as an autonomous being, free from any obligation to the God who has a claim on their life.
Whether it was Marx or Nietzsche that posited man is a “self creating” being, capable of perfection, the outcome’s ever the same. The late Eric Voegelin, sagely argued correctly in his 1952, “The New Science of Politics,” that these modern ideologists had perverted the nature of faith found in Hebrews 11:1. He was light years ahead of his time. Socialism is the new religion of the Democratic Party. Many are singing, albeit off key, from the “New Marxist Hymnal.” A choir of self-identified Socialists bent on ushering in another, of what Time Magazine, May 9, 2013, edition, called “The Me, Me, Me Generation,” famed obsessed generation, where self-serving’s readily embraced and celebrated.
Consider our present state: creation trumps the Creator, in the nefarious “New Green Deal.” The soul now belongs to the “most extreme bidder” in the political arena, bolstered by the Wuhan Virus, serving as a cash-cow for big Pharma, and self-serving elitist like Fauci and Gates, who stand to gain from the “pandemic.” No end is their end. Whoever offers the most “freebies” rises in the polls. Multitudes are easily tempted to embrace that America, chosen to usher mankind into its final state of “earthly bliss.” Political strategists have quickly perceived that many are willing to be “saved by political action and omniscient government.” Cheap, short-lived, secular salvation.
Recalcitrant handmaidens of death, the epitome of narcism and self-serving, still insist that for the dignity of women, they are entitled to safe, legal abortions. What of the dignity of the unborn and newly born? Unfettered abortion is still front and center of those self-absorbed who could care less, while Tinsel Town celebrities find their former abortion to be a badge of honor, with no apparent lack of remorse. Left leaning Progressives fear Trump’s return, and that we have awakened, rising up, and ready to defend our liberty. How many are willing to exchange one’s self-serving style, for a stake in advancing individual liberty under God?
One’s patriotism will be challenged like no time since 1775. It’s true, we take some pleasure correcting adolescents for their cavalier attitude of “What’s in it for me?” What about us? What about our action? When was the last time you engaged in action that exceeded your own self-interest? It should be clear by now that centralized government is a bane to solving problems-it is the problem, as President Reagan declared in 1981. Easy money and government handouts are every bit as addicting as drugs. That dole has a web that’s nearly inescapable. Self-serving is in opposition to biblical teaching, and highly seductive. Perhaps President John F. Kennedy’s January 20, 1961 inaugural address resonates louder than ever today, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Humility and self-serving are incompatible roommates. C.S. Lewis, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” What about that final voyage that all must take? Many say, “I want to be relaxing in my favorite recliner and just pass away in my sleep.” That’s an understandable, self-serving attitude. For the follower of Christ, what if He calls one to suffer, as a testimony that His Grace is sufficient at such a time? Apostle Paul wasn’t surprised by his suffering. He was surprised by his joy amidst suffering. (Ephesians 3:1-6)
There’s a large Evangelical church in Natrona County with big bucks salted away, for a rainy day. Yet they received millions in COVID relief money because they could. Self absorbed. Hand out. Hooked on the dole. Sadly, poverty of the soul has been the downfall of many nations, and institutions, reaching the summit of prosperity, yet denying one’s own cavernous moral abyss, and shameless self-serving attitude. Powerful statism fosters a false, beguiling mood of optimism, with a propensity toward cupidity; with hand out, while decadence has rotted its core. That nagging question persists. Can self-serving be curtailed?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His emails firstname.lastname@example.org