It’s no secret – we live in a wild and emotionally charged society that’s driven by polarized fear.
We feel the angst in our chest and fear in our gut when we witness hate-filled tragedies in Brussels, Paris, or unfortunately in our own American cities. Our legitimate fear must be acknowledged and channeled for good. If ill-managed, fear will get the best of us; if it enrages us it divides us; and if it divides us, it breaks our communities. Fear and anger cause division. This division will erode individual liberty and the free society.
Our country desperately needs grassroots leaders who will motivate and dedicate their lives to promote unity and build communities that are focused on fostering free markets, free people, and a free society. So, where do we start?
1. Remember, there’s more that unites us than divides us as Americans – We can easily allow ourselves to dwell on and complain about the things on which we disagree but that’s not helpful in making progress. Heck, I don’t agree with my own husband 100% of the time. But if total agreement were a condition of marriage, I would miss out on all the adventures and amazing accomplishments we share together. We should remind our fellow Americans about all our areas of agreement, instead of just focusing on our divisions.
Since activists are often motivated by the desire to help their fellow Americans, we can use these feelings to expedite the pursuit of liberty and preservation of the free society beyond our wildest imagination. Watch conservative leader, Arthur Brooks’, inspiring plea to pursue unity.
2. Compromise on preferences, never principles – Unity requires compromise. We should be careful to separate preferences from principles.
For example, we should be careful not fall prey to petty partisanship. I’ve heard well-intentioned conservatives talk about how our government is unintelligible and inefficient when the opposition party is in control. According to them, government will radically shrink and become a lot more efficient if “our guys” get elected. History and common sense show us that’s not the case.
Instead, we must be governed by the principles (never parties) of maximized personal liberty, limited government, and the stable rule of law. These principles result in the creativity, ingenuity, and unity of a free people that governs best.
3. Never be ruled by anger – I never make a good, right, true, or wise decision out of anger. I never treat my husband with respect when I lash out in anger. I never build others up when I act in anger. I never edify myself or exemplify my core principles when I choose anger — neither do any of us as Americans.
I encourage all of us to be aware of how we communicate when we are angry. It can be tempting to react with contempt and disrespect. However, shaming someone about their strongly-held beliefs into rarely results in changing their heart and mind.
Rather, acting with intellect, love, and building unity, you’ll have the opportunity to work through complex issues by voting, acting, and leading your community to preserve free markets and free people.
Overall, we must be motivated by love — love of country, love of liberty, and love of our fellow countrymen. If done correctly, we will effectively build communities and preserve individual freedom and the free society here in America.