Whatever the outcome that this war of ideas brings, it's safe to say we are living in a revolutionary time. It's also a fascinating time but what I am becoming more and more annoyed with is the increase of rhetoric. This, i think, is due to the corralling of politicians and parties as they try to drum up a "base" for the elections. This type of thing always waters down the conversation to a point of bumper sticker phrases and dogmatic jib-jab that brings us nowhere new. But isn't that "new place" where we want to go? That's what this debate is all about right, a revolution? I even find myself debating points I agree with from an opposite perspective just because I'm certain we've entered a phase of regurgitation.
I just want to feel that there is an honest idea behind the words, one that has taken a trip around the brain a few times and developed into something that is one's own. Just because a founder said something or it's in the constitution or martyrs died for it doesn't mean you have to automatically agree with it. Don't be lazy. Chew on it. Sure there is wisdom to be found in history and in studying the words of thinkers, scientists and philosophers of the past (I'm going to quote one later) but we've got to eventually come up with something fresh that will get us out of the funk of old rhetoric. Logically we should have a better perspective than those in the past because we can look and see where they failed and where they advanced.
You have a brain. Don't you have ideas? Take your idea and elaborate on it. How did you come up with this idea? How does it apply to reality? How does it harmonize with a principle? Is there a problem that needs to be solved? Can the solution be scaled to solve similar problems? Maybe your idea will be the one that will catch fire, bring people together, start or end a revolution. You might be the Thomas Jefferson or Martin Luther King of our day.
It's a sad thought to think that THIS is as far as humanity can go. I believe we're not even close to realizing our collective potential but we can't get there if we don't let go of some of the things we may currently cherish. Unions yes, unions no. Gay marriage yes, gay marriage no. Abortion yes/no, Gold standard yes/no, Amnesty yes/no...DON'T BOX ME IN MAN! Let's not hit our heads on the same walls that have been built in the past. Maybe there is a way around the wall where everyone can move along. I believe particularly that today's young "progressives" and "libertarians" have an excellent opportunity to work together against common enemies, advance causes they agree on and hack out some really cool solutions to problems they disagree on. Developing a system that respects the individual and property while checking inequality and social injustice seems like a worthy and very attractive goal.
Ludwig von Mises puts it clearly, "Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping toward destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us."
So in summary, We are in a time of radicalism (Latin radix, meaning "root.") and I welcome it. It's not surprising that those sitting pretty in the current establishment are the ones calling for moderation. Although I think it's a time for reason, open minds and respectful debate I DON'T think heeding to this call for moderation will help us discover that gem that is sitting at the bottom of these debates. That gem is going to change everything.