This is the text of the speech I wrote and gave at the 4th of July Tea Party I attended.
Today I wanted to speak to you about principles. Ask yourself these questions: What principles do you hold? What do your principles mean to you? Are they important? How important are they?
It used to be, for me, that possessing the freedom and opportunity to create one’s way and wealth in the world, and keeping the fruits of one’s labor, was simply the most practical form a society could take. It was something that I took for granted. Now that this basic premise is being threatened on so many fronts, and I have had the chance to read and reflect, I realize, hopefully with time to spare, that this so-called “provincial” principle is the only moral path on which humanity can progress.
The absolute - oh yes, I said absolute, such a scary idea to a relativist - the absolute immorality of collectivism lies in its assumption that unfairness is the equivalent of injustice and that unfairness can be necessarily remedied by a benevolent arbiter. Here is a reality check. Life is unfair. It has always been such, and will always be in the future. Nature is not fair either. If you could, I would dare you to ask any animal who’s only goal is daily survival. Progress is supposed to mean an increase in the quality of life on a macroscale so that at the microscale individuals are free to work towards that increased quality. And there is a drastic difference between unfair and unjust. I ask you, what is more unjust than state fomented envy, and subsequently, state sanctioned and state enforced theft? I speak not only of the theft of material items, but the theft of one’s time, ideas, soul, spirit, blood, sweat, tears, legacy, charity... principles.
Have they succeeded in stealing your principles from you? From us? How much time do we have?
Are we or are we not a country that was founded on the revolutionary principle that a government’s sole purpose is to protect the liberty of each citizen so that they are free to prosper and create, without the fear that grips the citizens of either anarchical or tyrannical nations? Either we are a society that believes in, and protects, the rule of law and the individual as the smallest minority, or we are a society of tyrants and elites, and of serfs and slaves, in which some citizens toil under force for the benefit of the rest. And excuse my language, but I’ll be damned if that is the society for which my sister and brother-in-law, both new 2nd Lieutenants in the Washington Army National Guard, are fighting. I look at them and I see two brave, young soldiers; protectors of the principles that made this country the most successful, safe, peaceful, and prosperous country in all of history by defending the liberty and right of each person to toil for their own life. For their own family. For their own purposes. And it brings me back to my principles.
I think about how deeply I believe in my principles, and yet how afraid I have been, and still am to some extent, to proclaim them boldly and proudly, especially in this liberal/collectivist city of ours. I think about my sister and her husband and every other soldier, and I wonder, who am I to be afraid to confront my neighbor, my waitress, my coworker, my friend, my teacher, my boss? What is more important to me, living by and defending my principles, or ensuring my place in the social pecking order in my office or group of friends? Has anyone here ever kept quiet upon hearing disparaging remarks about, or misrepresentations of, values and principles you hold dear because you were with a group of people who held an opposing viewpoint and you didn’t want to rock the boat? Even once? Or maybe you received an email that did the same. Raise your hand. Keep your hands up and look around. We are an army and yet we behave as though we are only one.
I beg you to leave here today with a renewed committment to your principles. It is so hard, and you will need the support of like-minded people which means you need to get out there and meet them - like you are doing today. Exchange email addresses and go have coffee together! Make plans to get together for dinner or to write letters to Congress! Go to happy hour together! There are all sorts of groups of people out there that believe what you believe, really. Join one. Just look online. My saving grace was finding the Young Republicans, and there is something out there for you too. But please take this seriously, for if we do not fight this fight at the smallest level, at the person to person level, we will never be able to win it at the higher levels. This will also prepare you for activist opportunites like doorbelling and handing out flyers. You must be grounded in your principles so that no matter what the opposition says, they cannot shake you.
I leave you with this thought: how many times have you cursed the Republicans or Blue Dog Democrats, or Independents in Congress for not having a backbone to stand up to collectivist forces within our government, culture, and society? How many times have you felt like banging your head against the wall when they refuse to stand up against the pressure, the mainstream media, or Hollywood? Well, here it is folks, if you and I can’t even summon the courage to engage a friend in debate, why do we expect our Congressmen to do it, when the pressure on them to give in is ten times the amount it is for us? The lesson is that we keep the pressure on our elected officials, to stick to their principles, and we keep even more pressure on ourselves.
My friend Jason just started a blog and posted a speech titled, The Cult of Need. He wrote it, and almost gave it on June 27th at a Tea Party in Olympia.