By C. Rick Koerber (First Published in 2006)
Today the biggest threat to freedom, liberty, and the American way of life is the unintended collective collaboration of the ignorant (most particularly the fiery, overly zealous, and unreflective ignorant).
In the debate over social and political issues such as the war on terror, the war in Iraq, the porous US borders, the widening federal powers contained in the Patriot Act, and countless others, much needs to be said and even more needs to be done. These issues are not quick fix projects, and they do not exist in a vacuum. The ever-stressing financial situation of the federal and state governments, the coming financial fiasco, and the many other hot-button political issues-such as immigration, tax reform, and the government’s involvement in the social transformation of marriage and family-are evidence of America’s need for quality leaders with principled solutions. However, given all the political friction and fireworks that have come and are yet to come, I am more concerned about another, deeper problem facing America. Indeed, all of the issues I’ve mentioned and many more are symptoms of this deeper crisis. The problem I’m speaking of, that most of us seem to be completely blind to, is the ever-growing membership of the collective ignorant.
This is the group, which I will simply refer to as the “Brain Off Conspiracy” (BOC for short), that gives me the greatest cause for concern as we move undoubtedly and rapidly into an exciting but also frightening future.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free . . . it expects what never was and never will be.” Herein lies the point. Concerned citizens in a America, and all across the world, have an obligation to take responsibility for our present state of affairs. Make no mistake, I’m not enamored with our political leaders, though much progress could be made there-certainly. However, we can conduct more elections to change the personalities involved in politics, institutional think tanks, and corporate America, but America is suffering most from a poorly educated and passively involved citizenry.
Now, certainly there are powerful established combinations both domestically and internationally working to harm or even destroy America. These groups and others like them have been at it for decades, perhaps centuries. There are also threats from terrorists and rogue nations. I am also certain there are traitors in our midst, including some in high places. But these diabolicals cannot accomplish America’s destruction by themselves. They know it, and therefore regularly enlist the help (sometimes knowingly and often unknowingly) of the BOC.
As far as I can tell, this conspiracy is composed of an interesting demographic. It spreads across political parties, economic classes, and the full social spectrum. I’m no sociologist or demographer, but I know something about the BOC. I grew up in the same world with which most of you are familiar. You see, most of us have been trained, taught, and educated-almost from birth-to be good, stable members of this brain-off crowd. Thus, as I began to wake up and step outside the BOC, it was with some astonishment that I began to realize that I had spent so many years unknowingly a member of this frightening organization. Now, nearly as I can tell this group is made up of the following:
- About sixty percent of Americans don’t seem to care about public policy or the fate of our nation but do like to spout off now and then on the topic of the day and may even vote once in a while. We can call this group the “Carefree Sheep” of the conspiracy.
- Another twenty percent of Americans do seem to care, but don’t want to take the responsibility to actually get informed and organized. As a result, this twenty percent are blown about by almost every passionate voice they hear. This group can be called the “Concerned Sheep” of the conspiracy.
- About ten percent of the BOC do care about the issues America is up against and actually do their best to become informed (at least on a few pet issues). However, because this ten percent lack a clear understanding of how to apply the governing principles of great societies, they actually end up inadvertently inflicting devastating damage on their own cause as they go about trying to do good. This group is best termed the “Patriotic Sheep” of the conspiracy.
- Finally, the last ten percent of this unintended conspiracy are those who are just plain deceived. These are those who think they are on the right side of the issue(s) but are on the wrong side of the battle for freedom. They subscribe to the collectivist ideas Hegel, Marx, Engles and Kant and don’t know it, or don’t understand the consequences. These are the “Blind Sheep” of the conspiracy.
The BOC is difficult to approach and even more difficult to convert. The Carefree Sheep are easily distracted and very difficult to organize.
The Concerned Sheep, on the other hand, are easy to organize, but they wait around for someone to tell them just what to do. The problem with this is that they’ll take orders from just about anyone, principled or not.
The “Patriotic Sheep” are often the most difficult to work with because they won’t take a minute to consider the difference between principle and strategy. Without having a clear ability to discern what it means to actually apply the natural principles of prosperity as described by Jefferson and Franklin, these folks are so busy defending the Constitution that they are often the last to consider the damage they are inflicting upon it, often by being right on issues (based on principle) but horribly wrong on strategy (based upon application).
Finally, the Blind Sheep are too concerned with being right to stop and consider what they don’t know about what they think they know.
This is the challenge I see before us as we work to advance true principles and defend the cause of freedom and liberty. Fortunately for America, there exists another group that has a stake in this battle. This group carries the torch of freedom and liberty. These are those who fight for capitalism as a moral issue, who, when organized, are called the FreeCapitalists. They shoulder the burden and weight of the world. They each wake up every day with a commitment to turn their brain on and fearlessly but strategically battle the enemy. Simultaneously, they work constantly to convert the BOC.
The battle is waging; the lines are drawn. Is your brain on?