Why does government keep growing, no matter who we elect, no matter which party is in charge?
Why do freedom lovers, those who truly want limited, Constitutional government, continue to lose the battle?
There are two answers. First, the freedom battle loses — year after year, election after election, decade after decade — because it is poorly funded.
The political parties are well funded, mind you, but neither party truly stands for freedom. Freedom lovers lose because they are underfunded, pure and simple. More on this below.
Second, those who stand for freedom lose the battle to bigger government because the regular people can’t see what is happening. We don’t see armed troops in jackboots marching daily through our streets, entering our homes, and stealing our property and lives.
When the people can’t see this happening, it’s hard for them to get too excited about it. They don’t know what to fight against. They don’t know who the enemy is. They aren’t sure who to fight, or how to fight them.
The Paper Sword
We don’t realize that Soft Power attacks (certain licensing requirements, regulations, agency policies, commercial codes, revenue bills, statutory changes, executive orders, secret agency procedures, exemptions, ex post facto decisions, and court cases) are as dangerous to freedom as Hard Power attacks (invading armies, armed rebellions, political officials with their own armies, or government use of force against its own people).
In history, the regular people often respond to Hard Power attacks on freedom, but they seldom even notice Soft Power attacks until their freedoms are too far gone to recover.
Citizens of nations almost never realize it when Soft Power is attacking them. The biggest irony of this is that throughout human history Soft Power has taken away more freedom than Hard Power. In fact, Hard Power is seldom used until Soft Power has weakened a nation.
Today, we are witnessing a wholesale reduction of our freedoms — nearly all through Soft Power attacks that few people notice.
As one insightful friend wrote to me in an email:
“We don’t know who or what to fight against. I still believe the majority of Americans value freedom…We, as a culture, do not know how to defend freedom in this new age of information, nor do we know who or what to defend it from.
“All the average citizen sees — or is supposed to see — is things going a little darker, a little dirtier, a little more crowded, each day. There is, for most Westerners in any case, no force-of-state brutes-in-boots and uniforms…We see only the results of class stratification and economic divergence…
“The most dangerous enemy is the one you can’t see.”
Americans would stand up and vote to get their freedoms back, if only they understand how much they are under attack.
If they could see their freedoms being stolen by Hard Power attacks at the level that they are truly under siege from Soft Power, they’d change things — and fast.
But the regular people don’t see, because Soft Power is used behind-the-scenes, on paper.
How to Win the Battle
This is why only a nation of voracious readers can maintain its freedoms.
And this brings us back to the first reason freedom is losing: underfunding.
Not only do we need a nation of voracious readers, we need a lot of successful businessmen, professionals, entrepreneurs, and others of means to fund freedom — to fund those things that help the regular people see and understand the impact of Soft Power.
This is the current battle for the future of freedom.
- Will people of means fund effective responses to Soft Power attacks on our freedom?
- Enough to win the battle?
- Will enough regular people take entrepreneurial action and become people of means?
On these three questions turn our future.
Which of these three battles are you helping fight?
Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.
Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.