Here is a speech I’d give to my peers:
My fellow Representatives, I come before you not as a member of a particular political party, but as one who like each of you has sworn an oath before God and man “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . . so help me God!”
I also approach you as simply one of the People of this great nation and remind you that the People are the only true sovereigns of this or any other legitimate government. And that it is only upon the authority granted to us by these, the true sovereigns, and rightful rulers of the nation, that we legitimately act . . . as their representatives.
I will begin my brief remarks by directing your attention to something which the great Friederich Hayek correctly observed in his classic work The Road to Serfdom when he wrote this, with respect to the values of the collectivist state, in Chapter 11 – The End of Truth:
“They are destructive of all morals because they undermine one of the foundations for all morals: the sense of and the respect for truth.”
“If the feeling of oppression in totalitarian [states] is in general much less acute than most people in [freer] countries imagine, this is because the totalitarian governments succeed to a high degree in making people think as they want them to.”
“And the whole apparatus for spreading [information] – the schools and the press, radio [,television,] and motion picture – will be used exclusively to spread those views which, whether true or false, will strengthen the belief in the rightness of the decisions taken by the authority; and all information that might cause doubt…will be withheld.”
This propagation and suppression of information must, of course, apply first and foremost to the legitimacy of the government itself – starting with the head of state – “and all information that might cause doubt [as to his validity, must] be withheld.”
But there is yet more which must be done….
“The word ‘truth’ itself ceases to have its old meaning. It describes no longer something to be found, with the individual conscience as the sole arbiter of whether…the evidence (or the standing of those proclaiming [or withholding] it) warrants a belief; it becomes something to be laid down by authority, something which has to be believed in the interest of the unity of the organized effort….
“The general intellectual [anti-intellectual, in fact] climate which this produces, the spirit of complete cynicism as regards truth which it engenders, the loss of the sense of even the meaning of truth, the disappearance of the spirit of independent inquiry and of the belief in the power of rational conviction [or of even simple common sense], the way in which differences of opinion in every branch of knowledge become political issues to be decided by authority, are all things which one must personally experience – no short description can convey their extent.”
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