"A Path Forward" by Riley Lewis
Protests are sweeping the streets of major cities across the United States, police precincts are under assault, and elected officials refuse to enforce the law. In Seattle, the female police chief, Carmen Best, stepped down due to public safety concerns for her officers following the establishment of an “autonomous zone” that was dubbed the “capitol hill autonomous zone.”
In Portland, Oregon, a group of protestors place the head of a pig on an American flag, wearing a police officer’s cap, and set it ablaze. In Chicago, protestors beat a pig pinata that represented police officers. The necessary question is; why is violence tolerated by elected officials?
The violence is tolerated because the agitators are so dangerous that city officials are too afraid to stand up for law and order. Furthermore, these protests began at the end of May, when George Floyd died in police custody. However, the movement quickly morphed into a campaign to destroy the core philosophies of the United States.
Protestors adopt political slogans that are obvious, such as “Black Lives Matter” to conceal their revolutionary nature. Despite Terence Floyd’s public call for peace, the protests continue to burn down or beat down anything and anyone in sight.
The philosophies under attack are foundational principles upon which the liberal order is configured; a culture of natural rights, government to protect these rights, a free press to hold the government accountable, and a system of checks and balances that allow each branch of the government to check the actions of one another. The threat to these values is the call for their abolition, and with it, the abolition of centuries worth of progress.
Protests that appear to be disarrayed are bonded together by one mission; the destruction of the United States. Social movements that claim to represent social justice are paving the road to hell, and we must wake up before the damage is done. The destruction of the United States, literally and symbolically, is a move that would upend centuries of progress, wealth generation, and innovation in favor of a Hobbesian free-for-all. These protests are not about empowerment or love, they are designed to wage a war on the scientific method, the family unit, and the market system.
Perhaps even more frightening is the clear unwillingness to pursue reform. The current political landscape is characterized by the “reform versus revolution” dichotomy that creates two groups who are inherently at odds. Reform requires a system to improve, and revolution necessitates the abolition of the system in need of improvement. Even worse, zealots in this war are not simply fighting over politics, but instead about their core identity.
The “reform versus revolution” dialogue has not been a productive engagement for our politics. This is a dialogue that revolves around the assumption that there are only two answers, a model that takes after our two-party electoral system. However, at the root of this discussion is an important concept; what is the purpose of government?
Biologist Brett Weinstein states that “the purpose of any system is what it does.” Therefore, the purpose of the government is what it does; it protects the natural rights of the individual. The government gains legitimacy in the eyes of the people through its articulation of the people’s needs.
At the time of its creation, the United States had fulfilled the need for a new world defined by the natural rights of the individual, rights that precede the formation of the government. Centuries of philosophy, dialogue, debate, and experimentation produced the realization that all people are created equal and are accorded certain rights that no government or person should obstruct.
On one hand, the 2020 election could be as ineffectual as previous elections; one-third of us go left, one-third of us go right, and the rest of us do not vote. However, this election is also a unique opportunity to end the violence, restore order to our cities, and assuage the concerns of the American people. The President swears an oath to protect the people of this nation, and this is not an oath that should be taken lightly.
In any representative system, the proper role of government exists in the minds of the governed. To that point, elections are the designated event in which the governed express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the performance of the government.
In this election, let us consider the purpose of our systems, let us remember that a path forward is not about big government or small government, it is about effective government.
We must not move to the left or the right, we must move forward.