Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.
We are a nation of laws. We prosper because those laws give us the freedom of choice. We are free to travel or move from one community to another without the approval of some bureaucrat. One community may impose different standards than another. You have the right to move if you do not like those standards. You also have the right to petition the local government to change their standards. As long as those changes of standards do not deny you or someone else of their rights as a citizen, no harm is done.
This is a very simple concept easily accepted by most. Most members of a community assume one cared about how a neighbor thought of them. Common sense and reason usually replaced the need for intervention by the law and lawyers in all but a few extreme cases of differences in opinion. Responsible adults of the community were expected to know what was right and wrong and could be trusted to act as examples for their community as well as other communities.
Within our communities there have always been a few individuals who have pushed the limits of common sense and the law. They are not the ones who risk their hard-earned capital and time with hopes for a better life. They are the ones who look for an angle to provide themselves with money and power at the community’s expense.
We have all have known or know people like this. Their lack of pride in themselves and their community has caused them to isolate themselves behind power and strong doors. One wonders what they could accomplish if they worked with the community instead of seeking power over it.
How many times have you turned the other cheek and made excuses for the unacceptable behavior for another member of your community? “Do unto others” has been a driving factor of your life. The “Golden Rule” has always made sense to you. How anyone could not see the value of this simple belief was beyond comprehension. Blind faith and complacency has allowed the definition of the Golden Rule to be changed by the few so that it now reads “those that have the gold rule”.
How does one handle a neighbor who uses your good will for personal gain? Common sense or reason to respect the rights of others does not compel him. If he operates outside the norms of the community, you may find that your concept of what is right and wrong has been changed by the concept that the ills of society are not the fault of the individual. Successful manipulation of definitions in plain sight of a complacent community is seen as a gain of control by the few over the right of the many. They are encouraged by non-action.
The norms of our communities should protect the rights of the many and the few. We should not allow it to be manipulated by the few to destroy generations of progress made by reasonable men who used common sense to create the norms of the society in which they lived. We must be ever watchful for those who seek control of the power of our community. They are there and we know it. As uncomfortable as it may be, it is time for reasonable men to unite and publicly take a stand against those who strive to change our community’s norms for personal gain.
Karl Marx spoke the words of the opening sentence in this article. Any student of history knows where this man’s reasoning took his community. Some may try to say he had high values and sought utopia for all. Others took control and changed his intentions. I say he had personal ambitions of power and seized that power by manipulating opportunity. He was not the first to subject his people to a personal whelm, and sadly he will not be the last.
Could it be that we have more Neville Chamberlains than Winston Churchills in our community again? Only reasonable men using common sense and the norms of our society can prevent us from reaching a point in time where we must consider annihilation of our enemy before being annihilated by them. We need a president who has proven he will talk of peace but will take action when needed.
Ken Whaley lives in Rock Spring. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org