The United States is in a terrible mess. We have a $16 trillion debt, unemployment above 8%, enemies throughout the world, a congress that is hell-bent on taking away our liberties, a president who wants to increase the debt and curtail more of our liberties, candidates for presidential nomination who want to go to war with Iran, and who, for all they say on the campaign trail, believe in big government and big spending (they just want to change the focus of the government beast, spend for different things, and take away our liberties under a different pretext). This is not an exhaustive list.
Is there a way out, and, if so, will we take it?
The answer to the first part of the question is yes, there is a way out, but it is a rather hard road to travel. The journey would begin if the Republican Party nominated Ron Paul for president. He is the only candidate who actually advocates the one thing that will protect our liberties and limit the power of the national government: adhering to the constitution. He is for a sound monetary policy–returning to a value-backed currency and eliminating the national debt; an effective foreign policy–engaging all countries in fair trade and not meddling in their sovereign affairs; and a sensible defense policy–bringing our troops home from overseas bases, which can greatly reduce our debt and meddling, and going to war only when congress actually declares one. He is for what the 10th amendment means: allowing the states to govern and the people to live their lives without unconstitutional interference from the national government.
Unfortunately, it is not likely that the Republican Party will nominate Ron Paul. He does not project the image that many Republicans have of a presidential candidate, and image trumps ideas among those who do not exercise thought in choosing a candidate. But Paul’s ideas are catching fire among young people, both liberal-leaning and conservative-leaning ones, and those ideas, taken together, provide the only common ground we have in our political lives. It would be greatly encouraging if Paul’s ideas transcend the candidate himself, and become the road for our way out; and if those now in their 20’s carry the message forward beyond 2012 and it becomes the message of the majority.
The answer to the second part of the question, “will we take the way out,” is an open-ended one. Those in their 20’s, with whom ideas are hottest, quickly become those in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, with whom the ideas do not burn brightly. For any set of ideas to translate into consequences, there is only a finite time. Should the kindling not yield a fire upon which the greater branches and logs can be added to create the consuming blaze, it will die without consequence.
Moreover, the political paradigm that the American population has bought into–that of the national government as the protector of the downtrodden, and the elected body that knows what is best for us, even if we don’t–is a very persistent one that will not be changed easily. Even though that paradigm is evidently false and the cause of the terrible mess we are in, a majority of American voters still cling to it, and will until our system collapses or until a new paradigm–we should hope it is based on Ron Paul’s message–that offers a better path engages the masses.
So we will have to wait for the answer to the second part of the question. Perhaps until 2016, if the Revolution doesn’t come first.