Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Temporary Reign of Ignorance

I had an epiphany this morning.

We complain, moan and whine about how the Left depends upon the ignorance and easily-swayed nature of the electorate. They seem to outnumber the people who really do believe in the Constitution, in individual responsibility, and in electing leaders based on something more than image and sound bites and empty promises to fix everything.

But there are still a few realists in this country, people who see the world as it really is, not as they'd like it to appear on television. There are still people who subscribe to the notion that bailing out or taking over huge chunks of the American economy is not a path to prosperity. And there are still people who have enough of a healthy distrust of politicians to keep from making them into idols. And these people are filling the role of missionaries of liberty.

It may seem pretty dark in this country for liberty at the moment, in spite of the recent electoral wins in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts. Momentum is slow to shift, and it takes time to undo dozens of years of reengineering our country in the socialist model. Even as the pendulum seems to be shifting, the statists push ever harder to keep from losing the gains accumulated over decades.

But the one thing the freedom-gobbling utopians rely on to carry their points is an uninformed electorate. Witness the quotes of those who supported the election of President Obama, and their reasoning. "If I take care of him, he's gonna take care of me." Really? Everything in me wants to find this woman and ask "How's that working out for you?"

People like that have done great, if unintentional, damage to our country. But there's a light at the end of the tunnel that I didn't see before.

While statists depend upon the aforementioned ignorance to get elected, the liberty movement has focused on education, working endlessly to reach people who just haven't paid attention before. We witnessed early proof of this working at the Town Halls last summer, as citizens quoted from memory passages from the Constitution while their representatives blathered on about the uninsured and the need to "do something."

That was a shift, and an important one, because what comes of it is this:

Knowledge gained can't be easily lost.

It really is that simple. The Left has banked on the strategy that vast numbers of people are willing to remain ignorant. The catch is that you can't reproduce ignorance in the same way that you can knowledge. You can create slogans and try to frame the debate or shut it down, but you can't take people who already know something and make them unlearn it. It's impossible without major invasive surgery. And for every one person we wake up, for every person we educate, they lose one potential ignorant foot soldier.

Knowledge is power. Information is a virus. Spread it around, because the more people catch it, the more we decimate their ranks. It may take a long time to educate a person, but it takes a lot longer to uneducate them.

Time is on our side.