This — “We are powerless little pawns, helplessly manipulated and moved about by the hands of politicians” — is the kind of self-negating, liberty-hating nonsense I will never believe!
If you want to distance yourself from “the gullible ones,” use the above italicized statement as a mantra. It’s an easy way to sound smart, in-the-know, and well-informed about politics and conspiracies without having to feel the pressure of doing the hard work required to make the world a freer place.
The cynics and pessimists pride themselves in such a belief. They believe that by holding to such a defeatist and hopeless proposition that they can somehow avoid the embarrassment of placing faith in false hope. More than the desire to be free, they desire to never be on the wrong side of “I told you so.”
So rather than fight for their possibilities, they choose to argue for their limitations. They respond to every proposed solution and any possible strategy as if it’s delusional fancy. Tell them not to lose heart and they’ll respond by citing a dozen examples of some politician who lies, cheats and steals. Although they are fully aware of the fact that they can never be free simply by sitting around and griping about political corruption, they lack the courage, imagination and creativity necessary to take the kinds of risk that make it possible to turn things around.
A person who values looking smart more than being open, curious and humble, will never realize the fullness of their potential. Interesting and liberating discoveries require a willingness to look foolish in relation to generally accepted sentiments. Fewer things are more antithetical to this willingness than an attitude which ignores the unfamiliar and uncertain in exchange for the right to say “well, they didn’t fool me.”
Fighting for freedom is noble, but for many it’s not worth the risk of putting their ego on the line. Many people can live with being unhappy and unfree, but they can’t live with the burden of being the person who tried something daring, failed at it, and was forced to admit miscalculation or misjudgement.
This is the world we live in, but as in all worlds, creativity can and will thrive in spite of those who choose to hide behind the safety of being a naysayer.
Things don’t get accomplished because of the face-saving negative talk of people who do nothing more than make much ado about what can’t be done. Things get accomplished because of those who hope against hope, those who see failure as nothing more than an invitation to try something new.
Don’t waste your time around people who have nothing to offer a conversation other than arguments about what’s impossible. Spend time around people who have stake in the game, people who are willing to put their motor where their mouth is by getting up, going out and getting things done whether it’s easy or not.
The future will neither belong to those who coerce nor to those who merely criticize. The future will belong to those who create, to those who sow the seeds of productivity, positivity, and possibility in season and out of season.
This is why I will never believe that we are powerless pawns. I have too much respect for myself, for you, for critical thinking, for freedom, and for reality itself.
T.K. Coleman is the education director for Praxis and an adjunct faculty member for the Foundation for Economic Education.