Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Their Recess is Our Opportunity

As our politicians take a break for the summer, it provides an opportunity for us to speak out.

So much is at stake:

1. Cap-and-trade: government outlawing energy sources which are the life blood of our economy (which means our prosperity and security)

2. Health Care "reform" which is actually more of the same as the government already pays for almost 50% of medical care and intensely regulates the rest.

Write your Congressman, or find where they are speaking by checking their websites. My rep has an email alert service which provides up dates on specific issues.

They will only know what you think if you speak out--and silence conveys a message of acceptance, if not agreement.

Thank you to Robert Tracinski for a motivating issue of TIA Daily reminding me of the importance of this type of action. Here's a part of what he had to say:
I agree with The Politico when it says that "Congress’s failure to deliver major health care legislation by President Barack Obama’s deadline next month transforms the traditionally sleepy August recess into what could be the decisive moment in the battle to win support for the legislation, especially from conservative Democrats considered crucial to its fate."

This is a perfect opportunity for political activism in favor of liberty, and it is a rare case in which your own, individual action can make a substantial and immediate difference. Go to your congressman's and your senators' website, find out where they will be appearing during the August recess, and let them know, in person, that you oppose this government takeover of health insurance—that you don't want to become a helpless ward of the state.



Burgess Laughlin said...

> "This is a perfect opportunity for political activism in favor of liberty, and it is a rare case in which your own, individual action can make a substantial and immediate difference."

Mr. Tracinski is right that making "a substantial and immediate difference" through individual action in politics is rare.

It is so rare, in fact, that I can't think of even a single instance of such a thing happening.

Can someone identify such a case?

(I take "substantial" to mean reversing the essential nature of a proposed bill or other political action.)

Doug Reich said...

Thomas Paine writing Common Sense?

Burgess Laughlin said...

Is writing a book, publishing it, and continually promoting it (as perhaps Paine did) an individual act in the sense that Mr. Tracinski spoke of? Was its effect "immediate"?

Based on distant memories of reading about the book and its effect, I suspect the answer is "No" to both queries.

Everyone can choose to take no action or any one of a variety of actions: philosophical activism, intellectual activism, and political activism are the three main ones in this context. My view is that political activism is largely wasted until the philosophical and intellectual activism have tilled the ground.

Mr. Tracinski has an excellent point in one respect: Personal contact with the right person (one who has power) at the right time and in the right way perhaps can have an effect. Whether that effect would be fundamental ("substantial") is doubtful, but it might have a short-term political effect if the political situation is evenly balanced at a "tipping point."

It is, of course, fundamental ideas that cause widespread changes and set up "tipping points" in the first place.

Doug Reich said...

It was a pamphlet and had immediate effect


I agree with larger argument you are making, but let's keep the context in mind. Simply stopping the health care bill is not "fundamental" in the sense that it will ignite a widespread revolution. However, stopping it and other similar bills will buy us some time and send a message in the right direction by slowing them down.

Concrete action is having an effect. The grassroots opposition to the health care bill has swung the conservative democrats and may ultimately kill the bill. I am involved in a local group and I see the effect even a hundred people can have on a Congressman or other representative.

It will not be a revolution until the culture swings more fundamentally, but, again, this buys us time, and it is an opportunity to introduce active, passionate minds to more fundamental ideas. Many who oppose these bills and the larger movement behind them have never even heard of Ayn Rand.

Burgess Laughlin said...

Doug, I think we are in agreement (about buying time, maybe, and about accumulating experience and contacts, etc.) -- but we are talking about two different things. Mr. Tracinski is talking about an individual going to see a particular Congressman at a particular time (right now). You are talking about an organized effort (such as a Tea Party or a TP gathering outside an office), which is a project that requires sustained work over a period of time to locate, organize, and execute.

If I am asked, "Which should we do -- philosophical, intellectual, or political activism?", my answer is "All of the above." Who should do each? Those who want to.

As long as we have a fair degree of freedom -- and we have more than most people have had throughout history -- we can individually follow our interests in a natural and selfish division of labor.

My question, though, is about the expected payoff of a single individual taking the action described and having a "substantial" effect immediately.

I don't think writing and distributing a pamphlet is an example of the sort Mr. Tracinski named. I welcome examples from other readers.

As always, our discussions are illuminating. If nothing else, they help make explicit points otherwise merely assumed.

I hope your efforts, and the efforts of many others, pay off.

Anonymous said...

Burgess, how much money does the individual you are referencing have? Do you include the corporate "person" as an influencer?