This question should be asked of every interested person who might vote in the next few elections. Everyone.
“Can you govern yourself, or do you need a Federal Czar to govern your life for you?”
“Can you find a doctor, a light-bulb, or control the flow of your toilet, or should one of our Federal Czars take that decision out of your hands?”
When framed in this fashion, the answers to these questions probably have a 75-25 pro-freedom response rate, even in today’s electorate.
This “frame” (see Lakoff and Overton Window) articulates the central message that all Republicans, conservative Democrats, the Tea Parties/Patriots, as well as the think tank types should be shouting from the hilltops.
Once brought to consciousness in this philosophical context, virtually every “self-government” policy initiative can be promoted on the foundation of “self-government.” Most Americans are hard-wired to agree with the conservative view on this.
On top of that, we will have Obama and Reid as the face of the Democrats, forced to defend their “Czarism,” top-down big government, and the intrusive nanny-state initiatives like San Francisco’s silly ban on Happy Meals. (”The Democrats are against “happiness.”) Meanwhile, the self-government frame literally sells itself.
When confronted with questions on whether people are capable of self-government, our opponents are forced to – simultaneously, or alternatively – argue that:
- People are “too stupid” to govern themselves, or that
- We need large armies of government employees to either rule people, or teach them to govern themselves.
Given the superior solutions offered by the free-market and center-right, they will lose this debate.
With Tuesday’s election behind us, liberty-oriented people need to focus not so much on what Congress does as much as how to win the next round in 2012.
The only real danger is listening to the wrong people and foolishly re-running 1980 and 1994. We shouldn’t pretend that a tax cut and cutting a few programs will balance the budget. It won’t even come close. We need a robust communication model that allows us to literally dismantle the failed “big government” programs of the 30s and 60s.
Using the self-government frame allows us to build that political support, not only for the necessary dismantlement, but for the more necessary policies needed to replace the failed system(s). This is something that Reagan, Gingrich and Bush attempted to do, but failed to accomplish.
This Congress will, or will not, take care of itself. So, while we still need to keep our eye on federal and state legislation, our real job is to cement the gains we’ve made in the minds of the voters, and get more of them involved in the process of taking back “government,” not for the Republicans, but for themselves.