Unhinged on the left by fear

By Rick Barber
Saturday, July 10, 2010; A13

On June 27, my campaign for Congress released an ad titled "Slavery." The ad invoked recent history that included the worst of humanity -- images of oppression, slavery and genocide -- in reference to the possibility of evil conducted on a grand scale, which was and is only possible through the apparatus of a large and totalitarian government.

The ad was intentionally provocative. And it did provoke a columnist from this newspaper, Ruth Marcus. Her June 30 op-ed, "Unhinged on the right," directly and through insinuation, accused me of being delusional, insensitive, bellicose, treacherous and, worst of all, unapologetic. She broadly suggested that the rhetoric I and several other Republicans are using could lead to violence.

Though I'm not a veteran of politics, I've come to understand that arguments, and thus governments, move most often through fear.

Those on my side of the aisle seek to move the argument through fear of deficits, inflation, terrorism, socialism and the loss of individual liberty; those on the left through fears of global warming, poverty, racism, depression.

I don't bemoan the politics of fear.

It's natural to the polemic, and from my perspective, there is ample reason for it.

Over the past 18 months, the federal government has sought to seize or has seized control of the health-care industry, the financial industry, the mortgage industry, the automobile industry, student loans, broadband Internet and the energy sector through cap-and-trade legislation. With never a crisis going to waste, each new seizure is rationalized by some new emergency.

The Obama administration has inflated our money supply by more than 120 percent, refused to connect the dots between self-proclaimed jihadists and Islam and done nothing to secure our borders, all the while insisting that more government is the answer to our nation's problems.

I take Barack Obama at his word that he wants to fundamentally transform America. His actions, words and policy suggest that he doesn't much care for the free market or our American heritage. I am one who doesn't believe that America needs fundamental transformation.

The "Slavery" ad is a metaphor for our shrinking individual liberty.

Whenever the government grows, individual liberty withers. And there seems to be no area of commerce or industry where the Obama administration is not asserting new government control.

Totalitarianism doesn't come all at once. As Saul Alinsky taught, the radical's fight for American socialism will be won by incremental victories.

Marcus accused me of using a "slippery slope" argument. A few paragraphs later, she used one of her own: "Yet it does not take much to imagine the leap from bellicose talk to action for those who sincerely believe that the country they love is being wrested from them. They are delusional but passionate, and they are whipped daily by the Limbaughs and Hannitys and Becks into a frenzy of fear."

The frenzied "bellicose talk" from the Tea Parties has been going on for more than a year, yet I can't think of a single incident that has led to violence. As for the connection between talk radio and violence, with a little research Marcus would have learned that Glenn Beck didn't like my ads. I suspect that liberals will continue to make that argument because they despise freedom of speech when the speech is conservative.

I am a proud product of the Tea Parties. And like most Tea Partyers, I'm new to politics.

When I left the Marine Corps in 1999, I took a job in Alabama. Over the next 10 years I started three moderately successful businesses in Montgomery, got married and had a daughter. Until late 2009, I had never considered running for elected office. I had never read the Constitution, and I had only a passing interest in Washington and policymakers.

Fast-forward to today and, according to the Keith Olbermanns and Ruth Marcuses of the world, I'm an insurrectionist.

I do love my country. I'm running for office to fight for the America that once was: a cornucopia of possibility for anyone willing to work hard and seek achievement.

I remain unapologetic for my ads. No, we are not slaves yet. But as long as we Americans look to the government to solve our problems, I do believe that we are adopting a chain at a time. Bowing to the vagaries of promised comfort and "social justice," we may soon find that we have ceded too much. The road to serfdom is a long one, but I fear that we are well on our way.

The writer is seeking the Republican nomination to run for Alabama's 2nd District House seat.

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