Everyone who thinks our national leaders are actually good people, please raise your hands. You don’t have to think they’re evil; merely bad, or mediocre.
My point is this: A nation whose government is run by mediocre or bad people is that much closer to being a nation run by people who are evil.
Consider the recent “victory” of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. By “popular” vote, he has been granted power for life, like Castro in Cuba. Of course the election was rigged. Of course Chavez controls so many aspects of private life in Venezuela–the media and freedom of speech, for starters–that dissension didn’t have a chance, short of bloody revolution.
Why do people so often roll over for dictatorship? Because they’re afraid. And because they believe what they’re told. Venezuela has a 35 percent inflation rate. America could get there in a few years. It’s not impossible. Given fear over weakening economic conditions, along with unrelenting media bias in favor of statist politicians, America could go the way of Venezuela.
There’s a lot of reason to think this won’t happen. Americans possess a tradition of prosperity and freedom. There’s not much of that heritage in places like Venezuela. However, America has a weakness that few others possess: Naivetee and ignorance about the dangers of dictatorship.
Too many people think the answer to our current problems is big, strong government. When that doesn’t work in returning us to relative prosperity, then what? It’s entirely possible that the ignorant and the naive will vote out the bad guys and install the evil ones. Or, the bad guys with mediocre policies will install evil policies. It starts with the “fairness doctrine” and goes from there.
I can see it happening. The economy tanks after 4 years of Obama. It tanks further after another 4 years. Well, why should Obama have to be held back by term limits? We need a President who’s really in charge and who can really fix things, but to do that he’ll need far more power than Washington, Jefferson and Madison had in mind. I’m not saying this is inevitable. I’m merely pointing out that it’s possible–especially with no principled opposition or alternative to the big government our politicians are presently imposing on us.
My point is not to be gloomy, but to be realistic. Freedom requires eternal vigilance. We’re losing our freedom and our prosperity, slowly. We’re in a vicious cycle. Prosperity is eroding. The people in power say the way to restore prosperity is to further and further restrict freedom. When freedom is curtailed for the sake of prosperity, it doesn’t work, and the process then repeats itself. As the government runs out of economic restrictions, it turns to the only ones left: Political and speech restrictions. In the end, you get … Venezuela.
It doesn’t have to happen here, but it can happen here. Don’t let it.