By Bradley Harrington
“The right to vote is a consequence, not a primary cause, of a free social system — and its value depends on the constitutional structure implementing and strictly delimiting the voters’ power; unlimited majority rule is an instance of the principle of tyranny.” — Ayn Rand, “The Lessons of Vietnam,” 1974 —
Well, Dear Readers, as we all know, 2018 is an election year, which means: We are now in the process of being inundated with promises to, as Herbert Hoover opined back in 1928, put “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.”
These promises will only progress in their frequency and intensity from now until Election Day on Nov. 6, a veritable circus-time which will be replete with signs, news stories, interviews and sundry other proclamations. Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to hear, by mid-October, some would-be social engineer coming out in favor of squaring the circle.
We are also going to be deluged with much opinion and commentary, of course, and — as a regular column-writer for this newspaper — that’s where I’m going to come in.
Naturally, I’ve got a number of things to say on a number of races — as will the WTE’s editorial staff, other regular column-writers, guest columnists and letter-writers as well.
What you’ll not be getting from most of them, however, that you WILL be getting from me, is a non-political-party, liberty-oriented perspective solidly grounded in philosophy and reality. For anyone who reads me at all knows that, to me, politics is but the final expression of our fundamental ideas. And it’s those ideas that truly capture my interest; the rest of it is merely by-product.
Still, elections can be extremely entertaining, and this year is certainly shaping up to be one of the most interesting ever. Nor can I help but wonder, of all the candidates out there offering up those chickens and cars, which will bother telling you that it’s YOU, as a working stiff, who’s going to be paying for it all. (That’s one of those “ideas” you won’t be hearing too much about from anybody else.)
And, as I observe the slate of candidates now running for the various offices scattered throughout our fair land, I have to ask myself: How many of them truly understand what the proper role of government IS in our society?
For government, readers might recall, does not operate in this country on an unlimited basis, and our Founders were well aware that government, as a social institution, poses the greatest threat to man’s liberty in history. That’s why the Constitution was written, after all — to limit state power over our lives.
At least, that’s the way it used to be, another one of those ideas that you won’t be hearing too much about from other writers … Or most of our office-seekers, either, a few of whom will be accepting their victories come Nov. 6 as a “mandate” from the voters to do whatever they feel like doing.
Again, they’ll be doing whatever they’re going to do with YOUR money, since government doesn’t have any resources of its own that it hasn’t taken from us first. You, Dear Readers, might want to consider that fact of reality VERY carefully as you listen to the upcoming plethora of commitments, pledges, vows, affirmations, pacts, assurances, guarantees and other hot-air stipulations you’re about to be swamped with.
So, what’s our timetable? The filing period for all races ended as of June 1, with the exceptions of school and college board filings (Aug. 8-27) and minor-and-provisional-party filings (Aug. 20). The primary is on Aug. 21, and absentee voting for that primary begins on July 6.
So, time is flying by faster than you think, and NOW is the time to evaluate what your candidates are telling you; if you wait until the day you pull the lever, you’re probably going to be more uninformed than you should be.
Therefore, between now and then, I’ll be devoting a few columns to analyzing some of what I consider to be our key races as well as the candidates running in them. For our “right to vote,” while not an irreducible primary in our society, is still an extremely important expression of the few freedoms our culture has left to it — and that right should be exercised with intelligence and prudence.
So, as the Romans used to say, “let the games begin,” for — if what’s transpired so far this “silly season” is any guide — you’re going to need to sit down, strap in and hold on tight for the ride.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on June 10, 2018. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.