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Published August 18, 2011 in Persuasion by Michael Cloud
"Nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time has come," wrote Victor Hugo.
Raising crops and livestock replaced hunting and gathering. Science and technology replaced magic and superstition. Chemistry replaced alchemy. Reason and evidence replaced inspiration and authority.
Production and trade replaced most conquest and war. Reduction and rollbacks in government power replaced unbounded and unaccountable government. Each individual's right to life, liberty, and property replaced the doctrine of
unlimited government authority.
Victor Hugo was right. But Hugo's coin has two sides.
Here's the flip side: Nothing is so dangerous as an idea whose time has passed.
Why? Because those who prosper and profit from the entrenched idea will resist change. They will fight to protect their position and privileges. They will not go gently, they will not go quietly, they will not go willingly, they will not go.
Powerful kings fought reductions and restrictions of their power. Then the royal class and their allies fought reductions and restrictions to their power. They all fought even limited democracy and elective government. All fought the idea of each individual's right to life, liberty, and property -- and government limited to the consent of the governed.
Privileged, pampered, and protected businesses fought to keep high tariffs and regulations. To prevent competitors from offering consumers lower prices and better products.
Slaveholders and those who profited from slavery fiercely battled against freeing slaves and ending slavery.
Those who benefited from women as second-class citizens opposed women's suffrage. Opposed giving women the vote or repealing laws and regulations that treated women differently than men.
Non-competitive and dying industries do everything they can to resist and put off the day of reckoning.
So do political ideas.
Nothing is so dangerous as an entrenched government idea whose time has passed.
Big Government is that decaying and dying idea. An idea and institution whose time has passed.
Government-run, government-managed charity is a dying idea.
Government-run, tax-funded public schooling is a dying idea.
Government-managed or government mandated, government-regulated, tax-funded medical care is worse than a dying idea. It is a dead idea, a Frankenstein monster that will turn on us.
Government-run, government-controlled Social Security is an idea whose time has passed.
Big Government must go. You can let it be a slow, toxic, costly passing -- or you can hasten the birth of individual liberty and small government.
Small government is an idea whose time has come.
But ideas do NOT spread themselves. People spread ideas.
Why not you?
What will you do to win people over to the idea of small government?
What will you do to show people the blessings and benefits of small government?
Who will you try to persuade? When and where? Then who else?
The more people you reach and teach, the more people you engage and persuade, the sooner you can have the liberty you've hoped and dreamed about.
It's in your hands.
"Nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time has come."
Michael Cloud is author of the acclaimed book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion, available exclusively from the Advocates.