It’s already been one year since what could be the tensest presidential election in modern American history, and still, more people than ever are upset with the results of our political system today. Polls show approval ratings at historic lows, distrust in the media at an all-time high, and it seems like everyone, everywhere is calling for change in some form or another.
But there’s a problem: the American people, while making these calls in the abstract, repeatedly reject change in reality. Whether it’s due to a misunderstanding of their own desires or a continually recurring con they fall prey to, it doesn’t really matter. Either way, there’s an obvious fear of change in our country, which begs the question, why fear change in a system so widely agreed upon as fundamentally broken?
Considering the last few elections, it’s easy to see why people are so distraught with the two main choices we’ve been given. And why shouldn’t they be? Both have shown their utter lack of consideration for their voters’ concerns by manipulating the electoral process in the establishment’s favor. Anyone around for the ‘Ron Paul Revolution’ remembers the dirty tactics the GOP took part in to block Ron from winning the nomination during the presidential primaries. And during the 2016 election, when Rand Paul announced his candidacy, the GOP tried their best to keep Rand from being included in the primary debates. Even though libertarian critics of Rand said he was still too establishment, the Paul’s were treated by the establishment as hostile towards the status quo for their passion and desire to pursue change in Washington.
Democrat voters have also recently found out what that feels like as well, with insiders of their party being exposed for undertaking the same types of unethical actions. After the DNC chair resigned, her replacement openly admitted that the primary process was rigged in order to ensure Hillary Clinton won the nomination, once again selling out a national party to a candidate who represents the establishment, in order to forgo changing the status quo. Let’s not forget either, that Obama ran on the slogan of change, and there was good reason to believe him at the time; a young, first-term Senator who hadn’t been swallowed by the “swamp” yet. But even then, he continued every broken policy Washington had, giving credibility to the notion that, perhaps, change can’t come from Washington at all.
Now, this is where many people’s pragmatic side shows itself, and they say, “what we need is bipartisanship in Washington.” But, in order to believe what we have in Washington now isn’t bipartisan requires closing your eyes to reality. As we’ve already seen, the two parties have successfully fortified their dominance in this country. Moreover, they exacerbate that dominance by playing on the public’s emotions, using trivial issues like marginal tax reform and civil rights scare tactics as political footballs thrown back and forth amongst one another, coupled with being played on repeat in the news cycle.
While simultaneously, both parties show no issue crossing party lines to engage in endless wars, self-destructive monetary policy, and ensuring the regulatory state continues its infectious spread into every facet of private life. Advocating for more broken bipartisanship without first diagnosing the underlying problem only ensures Scott Horton’s law will come true, which is that politicians can be counted on to keep all their bad promises, and abandon their good ones, only continuing the destruction of our republic.
The change we need is more than marginal, it’s absolute, and we shouldn’t fear that. The only ones with a reason to fear are the ones who will lose their influence, while the American people only stand to gain. Allowing ourselves to become this politically divided over trivial issues while letting crucial matters skate by unquestioned is self-defeating. Not only because it sells out our political voice on issues that matter, but unless we realize what’s going on, it also shows we’ve admitted defeat to the incumbent system. The change we need can no longer come from within these parties, and at this point, any politician calling for change who doesn’t recognize this, is either disingenuous in their goals, or is a revolutionary who’s an advocate against their own cause.
Most Americans have already come to this conclusion though, but have allowed the unknown to scare them into backing away from the necessary change. Which brings us back to our original question, why fear change in a broken system? The answer is that there is none. And in the case of our political whim, all we need to realize is that the status quo we’ve inadvertently been protecting out of fear has made us worse off than if had we embraced change. We can’t allow our fear of what could happen be the reason we allow nothing to happen. To paraphrase Stefan Molyneux, the great thing about the free market is that it’s made up of billions of minds and doesn’t rely on one individual’s lack of imagination to make it function. Because we shouldn’t fear change towards new ideas, we should only fear old ones that refuse to die.
Thomas J. Eckert
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