Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Politics of Emotion and the Role of Government

Instead of leaders who offer real solutions, we have leaders who practice the politics of emotion. Now, emotion is a good and necessary thing, but we have politicians exploiting emotion for their own agenda. 
Emotion won’t make anybody safer. Emotion won’t protect the good guys’ rights, and emotion is not leadership. The politics of emotion? It is the opposite of leadership. It is the manipulation of the people by the politicians for their own political ends. 
We have these tragedies like Aurora, and immediately, the question raised in Washington is, “well, what can we do to limit the freedom of the people?” But, it’s the wrong question! The question better asked is, “what can we do to nurture and support a people capable of living in freedom?"                                                         
                                                                                 -Sarah Palin May 3, 2013
As I listened to Governor Palin’s speech at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on Friday, I couldn't help but think of a quote from Aristotle, “law is reason unaffected by desire”, often stated as “law is reason free from passion”. This is not the kind of “law” that the Left aims to write, however. The Left uses horrific evils like the Newtown shooting to attempt to pass background check laws, when background checks don’t prevent murderers from stealing guns to kill. They ignore areas like Chicago with extremely strict gun control laws, yet high levels of gun crimes and murders, because it does not fit their narrative. The Left believes they know better than the people, and therefore must dictate a set of restrictions and mandates. Aristotle also once noted in his writings that “both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.” Aristotle realized that in order to win a political battle or a revolution, as was the context of the above quote, the oligarchs and tyrants must disarm people. This example isn't histrionics, nor is it an emotional counterpoint to the Left’s emotion. Instead, it is simply an example of how an over-reaching government can take away constitutionally protected rights by conflating rights with government-determined needs.

Aristotle was a student under Plato, but ultimately became one of Plato’s greatest critics. In his book Ameritopia, Mark Levin provides a good overview of Plato’s book The Republic. Plato’s "republic" is a “utopia” where everything is provided by the Ideal City (i.e. the state), while at the same time, everything is taken by the state (i.e.there is no private property). In the Ideal City, the nuclear family structure is not allowed, eugenics is promoted, and an elitist class system is created. The Guardians, as Plato called them, were the ruling class of philosophers who dictated to the people of the Ideal City. In some ways, the Left wants to pursue a similar "utopia". As has been highlighted by Melissa Harris-Perry’s recent comments, the Left wants to move away from the concept of family to a concept of children belonging to the community, rather than their partents. Washington has become the new “Guardians”, an elitist class who selectively impose laws on the American people that they themselves do not have to follow. This is the kind of government that Governor Palin warns against.

In her book Going Rogue, Palin wrote:
"At its most basic level conservatism is a respect for history and tradition, including traditional moral principles. I do not believe that I am more moral, certainly no better, than anyone else, and conservatives who act "holier than thou" turn my stomach. So do some elite liberals. But I do believe in a few timeless and unchanging truths, among those is that man is fallen. This world is not perfect, and politicians will never make it so. This, above all, is what informs my pragmatic approach to politics. 
We don't trust utopian promises from politicians. The role of government is not to perfect us, but to protect us--to protect our inalienable rights. The role of government in a civil society is to protect the individual and to establish a social contract so that we can live together in peace." 
--Governor Sarah Palin 
Going Rogue page 385-386 (emphasis added)
The above excerpt helps answer the challenging question that Governor Palin posed in her NRA speech--what can we do to nurture and support a people capable of living in freedom? It is to recognize what government's (and the Law's) role is and what government's role is not. Government's role is to adhere to the Constitution that protects unalienable rights. Government's role is not that of a god-- a provider or an arbiter of good and evil. A government and a cultural that understands this can help nurture freedom.

Crossposted here and here.

1 comment:

  1. Plato modeled his so-called "Republic" on the city-state of Sparta.

    Babies born to Spartan mothers had to pass a worthiness test imposed by the state. If the infant failed to pass muster with the Spartan autocrats, it was taken out to the wilderness and left to die. All children were taken from their mothers at the age of 7 and raised in separate dormitories. Even husbands and wives lived separately, in dormatories segregated by sex, and rape was tolerated under a theory of social Darwinism practiced by the Spartans millennia before Darwin and Spengler.

    The Spartans did not grow their own food, That job was relegated to the indigenous population, the Hulots, whom the Spartans had conquered and subjugated to servitude.

    Plato's so-called "philosopher king" rulers were the authoritarian antithesis of the Athenian model of participatory democracy. We owe our form of government to the seeds of self-rule as first practiced in Athens.

    But we are seeing, today, the worst of Plato's ideas propounded and put into practice in the name of "progressivism." Infanticide is openly practiced in the USA (late term abortions), the state-sponsored eugenics of Obamacare echoes the Spartan practice of eliminating those deemed by the state to be unworthy of survival (the "death panels"). Public policy has seen the proliferation of one-parent families, with the state assuming the role of primary breadwinner for millions of American children, as the Spartans did with their dormitory system.

    We don't have a king, yet. The progressives are working on it. But we do have a permanent political class, with the rest of us cast in a role similar to that of the Hulots to the Spartan elite.