People are guilty of a grave error concerning public policy and government. I often contemplate the reason many people fail to wake up to the depredations of the State when they are so ever apparent these days. I’ve dubbed this concept the “myth of shared values.” I would define it as:
The belief that a person can exponentially increase their positive effect on the world by empowering a sect in society with values similar to their own.
Christians think that by electing conservative Christians, the world will be a better place: God will stop judging America, children will respect their parents, debts will be repaid, families will be reunited. Atheists\agnostics think that by electing progressives, the world will be a better place: Homosexuals will get equal rights, schools will stop poisoning young minds with religion, the environment will become a type of Eden, letters will get delivered on Sunday.
The strangest thing about all this is the fact that one side is capable of recognizing this behavior in the other, but not themselves. For example, George Bush was one of the worst presidents of all time. He lied us into war, called the Constitution “just a piece of paper,” ran a huge deficit and basically destroyed due process and the rule of law in this country. Some conservatives are smart enough to stay away from his defense, but others are sure we’ll find those WMDs any day now. To justify their continued faith in Bush, they’ll say things like “he wasn’t perfect, but I believe he had integrity”, “he was doing his best” or “he restored morality to America.” Liberals and progressives are able to see right through this and point out the hypocrisy of it all. George Bush did not restore morality to America. His administration has been exposed for blatant lies and fabrications which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Full stop. There is no counter argument, there is no “but.”
If you’re a Christian conservative, the reason you still hold a special place in your heart for president Bush is because he said the name Jesus sometimes. He also had a nice accent and made little endearing gaffes. He was “down to earth.” In other words, he was like you; more like you than the other guy. You’re not a monster, so how could he be a monster? There should be more people like you in power. Why, if there were more people like you in power, we wouldn’t have these problems.
Liberals are guilty of the same thing. Just one example is when Obama lied about closing Gitmo. Not only did he keep it open, he is now brutalizing inmates who have been cleared of all charges. In any sane person’s mind, this makes him a criminally liable tyrant, but it seems like liberals just like the health care law, I guess. Obama is so smooth, modern and witty. He’s a silver tongued orator. He’s a guy you’d like to have at your cocktail party.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if you elect someone who shares your values if they’re a liar. It’s also not a hit to your worldview if one of these guys turns out to be a monster because all they’re doing is duping you and all you’re doing is letting them. Enacting your worldview through legislation is not going to change the world for the better anyway because the only thing a law can do is force someone who disagrees with you to do something. Is that the proper way to win an argument? Newsflash: there will always be people in the world with the opposite worldview to your own. The object of society, law and order is not to bulldoze or minimize that group; but to voluntarily cooperate by not violating each others’ rights. I mean, this is just basic stuff that was figured out a long time ago.
If you want the world to be a better place, go out there and do it yourself. Don’t just cast a ballot every four years and expect someone else to do it for you.