by Shane Musgrove

Political labels constantly change throughout time, depending on the point and perspective of history that you view it from. For example, the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence were seen as enemies of the state, and from Great Britain’s perspective a charge of high treason was placed upon them. Today, they are looked upon as heroes in the eyes of this great nation of men and women, not only for their great courage but also because of their thought and insight to political philosophy.

These political labels are often blurred, and the terms liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, and libertarian are used as vague descriptions, insults or for political gain. They mean little and are generalizations that attempt to define us as a person or ideologue. Ousting these labels for myself and others, I have found one thing in common among “We the People”: A common distrust of those in leadership, perpetual propaganda exploited to the people by those in control, and a lack of understanding of our beginnings as a nation and of history as a whole.

My point and the question that continually burdens my mind, as well as many others, is: How did we get to such a complacent and apathetic standard and viewpoint of our own history and an understanding of the political schemes around us? This should indeed raise concerns and peak our curiosity.

It is often said that, “He who controls the mind, controls the people.” To reiterate this point:

“How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.” – Adolf Hitler

As painfully as it is to admit, Hitler was correct in this statement, which he proved as he rose to power in Germany.

As for us, we rely on state and federal run education and our education seems to end there, as if we have arrived to our intellectual ascent. However, the cycle of misinformation swells upon us every day, and eventually our minds are controlled by all others but ourselves. And to our demise, the outcome is apathy and dependency upon others. Politically, it ends in at best chaos and at worst a dictatorship.

Men and women begin their reign of power in states, republics, democracies, and the great civilizations by the bending of minds rather than militarily. For example, the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages gained power throughout Europe by the ignorance and illiteracy of the people, made itself rich by the means of power and imposed laws for penance that were built upon its own greed and corruption. The people’s savior for this corruption was Dr. Martin Luther and his 95 Theses – a man who by his own lack of compromise took it upon himself to take control of his mind and let no one corrupt the truth.

Regarding the bending of minds to obtain power, evidence of this has been seen in human nature and the nature of government throughout history. A bold and true statement: Our federal government is aware of this. How does a government created by the people grant itself so much power while violating the very document that gave it power – limited power? Indoctrinate the people’s minds. Indoctrinate their minds in state-run schools, via media outlets and at worst, universities. There is no need militarily, but only subtle changes in a progressive climate bent towards reshaping the American mind.

So today, we are faced with many issues that are not only reshaping the minds of many, but they are destroying a culture of independence and liberty – liberty and freedom of the person and the mind. Among these issues are many, but they are more than worthy of thoughtful consideration and useful debate in more than just this writing. However, it must be duly noted that most who speak of these things speak out of ignorance, and the irony is that it falls at the hands of the literate (unlike those previously mentioned who were robbed by the early Roman Catholic Church).

Thankfully, Americans have historical figures and a founding document to look to: The U.S. Constitution and a plethora of writings from our founding fathers. If you have not read the U.S. Constitution or studied our country’s history, heroes, and writings, your apathy towards the freedoms that you enjoy every day at the stake of many lives lost lies upon your shoulders, and your conscience will be shed upon generations to come. Will you sit complacently and wait until your 1984 (aka “Big Brother”) becomes a reality? What shall you do then? What shall you say?

Therefore, I plead with you to have a spirit of resistance and a spirit of renewing your mind with truth. In the words of Thomas Jefferson,

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it always to be kept alive.”

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View history as an example, be a student of it, and learn from the men and women who preceded us. Below is a quote often attributed to Alexander Tytler and re-stated in parts by many:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.”

Apathetic, dependent, complacent? As I said, set all labels aside, as my purpose is not to start a war between political labels. We also know a new label will arise tomorrow and I am none of these. I am simply trying to make you think, and perhaps make you feel.

A time comes when you and I have to honestly look ourselves in the mirror and ask the question, “Where am I on the above list? Who am I?”

Shane Musgrove [send him email] is a freelance writer living in Vail and Denver, Colorado.

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