Redolent of Self-Interest

by Mike Pyatt

Mike Pyatt

As adults, we’re unsurprised when one’s offspring is up front, asking, “What’s in it for me?” At least we can trot out our tawdry, “It’s not all about you,” speech that we’ve rehearsed just for this occasion, as we hastily eschew the #MeToo generation. 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 the “right candidate.” Whether it’s local government, State of Wyoming, or 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.” Listening to the recent Democrat debates, it’s abundantly clear that few, like our national electorate, understand the vital difference between a democracy and a republic. Our Founders would be woefully disappointed that their descendants have failed miserably on this front, using the two terms interchangeably at will, like epic and epoch, to our detriment and demise.

Anyone remotely interested in national politics understand that any viable Democrat who remains standing in 2020, must raise vexing questions like, “What are you going to do for the middle class?” Or, “How are you going to court the Hispanic vote?” Or the LGBTQ vote? What about the “suburban educated upper class women?” Wouldn’t it be simple 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 may have resonated with a majority of people. Years ago it was acknowledged that in America there was a public philosophy or a “civil religion,” as did writers like Michael Novak, in Choosing our King, 1974, and John Courtney Murray’s, We Hold These Truths, 1960. Both are worthwhile reads.

Biblically grounded Christians know that we’re not ushering in a theocracy, though secularists accused us of such. Modern totalitarian ideologies, Marxists and Communists, are every bit as “religious,” stripped of a Biblical Old and New Testament God, touting a “paradise in this secular world.” They’ve all failed in their attempt to resurrect Man as an autonomous being, free from any obligation to a God with a claim on their lives. Whether it was Marx or Nietzsche, that posited man is a “self-creating” being, capable of perfection. The late Eric Voegelin, argued correctly in his The New Science of Politics, 1952, 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. Any Democrat Presidential candidate would volunteer to nimbly navigate Planned Parenthood’s “USS Draconian” into the port of aborted babies.

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. Whoever offers the most “freebies” rise 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 salvation. The liberal religious Left, in a recent Louisville conference, used Proverbs 31 woman, deceptively characterizing her to justify abortion, posing the question, “I ask you, is this an individual who should not be entrusted with the important choices regarding her reproductive rights?” Their ground of agreement? “The dignity of women who are entitled to safe, legal abortions.” What of the dignity of the unborn? Has Roe v.Wade become Holy Grail?

What about the the gender bias in 2020, that Hillary complained played a role in her 2016 defeat? Who’ll address “kitchen table” issues? Unfettered abortion will be front and center since the gap between the most moderate Democrat, if any remain by then, and President Trump will be vast. Will voters be persuaded to cast a ballet based on identity politics? In disquieting moments, Democrat strategist may bemoan the radicalized field they’ve assembled, fearing it may push independents and moderates into the waiting, open arms of President Trump.

James Madison, in Federalist Papers, #10, makes the case that “each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in small republic.” His argument, it appears, is that with a larger pool, “unworthy candidates” will be readily detected. These “fit characters” would seek the “public good.” Madison may have been overly optimistic that our voting citizenry are that well-informed, or care to be educated in that realm. It’s understandable to want to jump on the “prosperity train.” At what expense? Be certain that train will leave the station, and where’s it going?

Are we still intent on evaluating candidates who extol those virtues that have held this Republic together, rejecting those who navigate predominantly by cant, demagogy and bombast? Many still feel the sting of President Obama, whose contempt for our Constitution, promulgated by his belief that the state is the chief vehicle of “fundamentally transforming” America. Whether one embraces President Trump, one must admit he inherited a massive clean-up of #44’s cultural, political and economic imbroglio. Those with a dose of common sense understand that our “unalienable rights” are not political rights granted by government. Good government is founded to secure those rights. When it doesn’t, that government is evil, thus underscoring the Jeffersonian principle that the majority of the people may alter or abolish a government which has become tyrannical.

Calvin Coolidge warned, “A government which lays taxes on the people not required by urgent public necessity and sound public policy is not a protector of liberty, but an instrument of tyranny.” He understood taxation was a moral issue, and that a popular government will cast aside self-restraint, self-control, and adopt more intrusive laws. Centralized government is a bane to solving problems-it is the problem. Poverty of the soul has been the downfall of many nations, reaching the summit of prosperity, yet denying their cavernous moral abyss. Powerful statism fosters a false beguiling mood of optimism, and with a propensity toward cupidity, decadence has rotted it to the core.

Following a visit to America, in 1921, G.K. Chesterton, posed a question, “What makes American peculiar?” His answer, “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence.” We are free to believe or not. We aren’t free to capitulate to our “monarchial self.” For those willing to invest in a 343 page primer on the principles of freedom, snag a copy of The 5000 Year Leap. 28 Principles of Liberty. One’s Patriotism will be bolstered and one’s knowledge elevated. Perhaps self-interest curtailed. What do you think?

Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s roderickstj@yahoo.com

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