Freedom-committed Americans cannot allow tribalism or fear lead them to deviate from fundamental beliefs

Freedom-committed Americans cannot allow tribalism or fear lead them to deviate from fundamental beliefs

Image: Former Brigham Young University President Jeffrey Holland spoke to the faculty, students, and administrators at the university on August 23, 2021.

Eric Yollick, Editor-in-Chief, The Golden Hammer

On August 23, 2021, former Brigham Young University President Jeffrey Holland spoke to the faculty, students, and administrators at the university and told them,

“…we have to be careful that love and empathy do not get interpreted as condoning and advocacy, or that orthodoxy and loyalty to principle not be interpreted as unkindness or disloyalty to people. As near as I can tell, Christ never once withheld His love from anyone, but He also never once said to anyone, ‘Because I love you, you are exempt from keeping my commandments.’ We are tasked with trying to strike that same sensitive, demanding balance in our lives.”

One of the fundamental beliefs in American society is that we are free to enjoy our lives, except in those specific instances where we mutually agreed in our written Constitution to give cede small portions of that freedom to government authority instead. As believers in freedom, we recognize that each and every instance of growth in governmental authority and each and every dollar of our earned resources government takes from us in the form of taxation, fees, fines, penalties, or “revenue,” constitutes an incremental loss in our liberty. We should take our Constitution quite seriously, for it limits government’s power and protects us all from the temporary passions of men.

In recent days, however, we have watched our society succumb to passion in the form of fear and tribalism. We individually fear forces confronting our lives and seem willing to surrender to collective solutions far beyond any governmental authority, which our Constitution has ever established. We feel comfortable with our friends and those who seemingly share our beliefs, so our human frailty leads us to place our loyalty to friends and cohorts above those beliefs, even when their actions directly contradict our most fundamental principles.

In other words, we have become similar to the loving one who is willing to exempt government or our friends from core principles of our free society. The following are three examples.

The most obvious example where we’ve surrendered the Constitution to our fears is the so-called “COVID-19 pandemic.” Despite decades of fighting against a government takeover of healthcare, our fears of the misunderstood or unknown virus have resulted in a massive intrusion of government at the local, state, and national levels into healthcare. Local governments spend millions of dollars now providing direct healthcare in the form of monoclonal antibody centers and vaccination hubs. Local public health districts strong-arm physicians into courses of medical treatment, which national bureaucracies have dictated without proper scientific investigation. Local and state officials have decided to shut down churches, businesses, and schools at their whim, often based upon their own fear or their concern for political repercussion, if they don’t take those action. At the federal level, the President of the United States has enacted a mandatory vaccination policy impacting more than 100 million Americans, while that enactment lacks Congressional authorization or legal basis.

Conservatives, liberals, Republicans, and Democrats are equally at fault for those overreaches of governmental authority, which clearly constitute the most impactful and sinister civil rights violations we have witnessed in the United States since the successful conclusion of the American civil rights movement.

Conservatives, liberals, Republicans, and Democrats are equally at fault for those overreaches of governmental authority, which clearly constitute the most impactful and sinister civil rights violations we have witnessed in the United States since the successful conclusion of the American civil rights movement.

Another example where Americans have allowed tribalism to overtake core American values was the recent attempt by some so-called “conservatives,” who felt grave disappointment that President Donald Trump had not won-re-election in the November 2020 General Election. Regardless of your position on fraud, cheating, or miscounting in that election, it simply constituted a flagrant violation of American Constitutional values when certain pro-Trump forces called for a federal intervention into states’ conduct of the election. Very quickly, however, the shoe went to the other foot, as Democrats in the United States House of Representatives are seeking to federalize the entire election process with the so-called “John L. Lewis Voting Rights Act,” H.R. 4. Recognizing that the Lewis Act would place voting methods under the control of a hostile-to-conservative-principles,  federal government bureaucracy, many of those same activists now argue (correctly) that any federal intervention intervention into states’ conduct of elections would fundamentally alter the relationship between the federal government and state governments under the federalist system our Founding Fathers established in the Constitution.

Tribalism most clearly led some of the strongest conservative activists astray temporarily, as they felt disappointment in the outcome of the presidential election.

A local example is the upcoming referendum on incorporation of The Woodlands master-planned community as a city on November 2. With control of five of the seven Board of Directors positions in the Woodlands Township during the past five years, the Texas Patriots PAC, a Tea-Party organization, has shifted to become the political “establishment.” Incorporation of The Woodlands would consolidate the power of that organization, temporarily, by giving them ordinance-powers and the ability to raise taxes substantially. The Texas Patriots PAC has already endorsed incorporation, even though it would result in bigger government and substantially higher taxes. The smaller remaining Tea Party organization, the Montgomery County Tea Party PAC, appears poised to endorse incorporation as well, even though it so directly goes against their principles. Strangely, many longtime conservative political activists, who have worked with the two Tea Party organizations and with Gordy Bunch, the popular Chairman of the Woodlands Township Board who would be the primary political beneficiary of incorporation, don’t seem to care about bigger government, a huge growth in government authority over private citizens, or taxes which will skyrocket even based upon the misleading financial projections of the Township Board.

Tribalism clearly has trumped core political beliefs in the Woodlands incorporation referendum where many conservatives are fighting for higher taxes and bigger government and traditional liberals are opposing it.

What we’re witnessing more than any other phenomenon in American politics today is the utter destruction of the conservative movement in the United States. Tribalism and fear have overcome core beliefs in smaller government and lower taxes as the greatest protection of freedom. We should never withhold our love from anyone. We should, however, never exempt any person’s actions from our core principles or we have surrendered those principles to emotional whim.

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