OP Ed: We must enlighten ourselves before it is too late
By Brendan Kolding
The Enlightenment Era was aptly named, as it yielded lessons that are still beneficial today. In 1651, Thomas Hobbes discussed man's transition from the state of nature to the civil society in Leviathan. Life in the state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short, so man opts for protection from the sovereign (government). In exchange for this protection, man gives up a certain amount of his free will and agrees to abide by a social contract (laws). In order to maintain a civil society that is fair and just for all, the sovereign must enforce laws (police). The framers of our constitution were heavily influenced by Hobbes and other Enlightenment Era theorists.
During the French Revolution of 1789, the National Assembly was formed to write a new constitution for France. One of the main issues under debate was whether the king would maintain an absolute veto. Those who supported this idea sat to the right of the assembly president. Those who did not want to give the king this authority sat on the left. (The latter were considered radicals for their desire to dispense with tradition.) The "left-right" political spectrum entered popular nomenclature and has been recognized ever since.
We tend to view this spectrum as an infinite plane. As we have parsed it into far left, left, center, right, and far right, the far left and far right appear to be as distant and distinct from each other as possible. One might reasonably conclude that the further left a person or group leans, the more unique their ideology would be from the far right.
Recent events tell us that is not true. As the far left, to include the majority on the Seattle City Council, is aggressively pushing a movement to defund the police and decriminalize many crimes, the far right appears to be in the opening stages of insurrection and seditious activity. The recent assault on the U.S. Capitol was initiated with full knowledge that it was only lightly secured by law enforcement; those who participated in the attack had no issue with putting the police in harm's way. A federal officer was killed and many others were assaulted by these extremists.
If the political ideological spectrum can no longer be understood as a plane, I would like to compare it to a latitude line on Earth: people who take off in different directions eventually meet on the other side. Left, center, and right are on the daylight side of Earth; the side that values and respects the tenets of modern political philosophy upon which our country was built. Far left and far right (extremists) occupy the dark side of Earth. It is here that seemingly opposite groups have united over a common, selfish desire to dismantle civil society.
A year ago, images of the East Precinct being abandoned and Nancy Pelosi's office ransacked would have seemed the stuff of fiction movies. We cannot allow ourselves to become numb to the point of denying that we are in a crisis that will not be solved by classifying the enemy as "the left" or "the right." Those who pose a threat to our safety, livelihood, and democracy may have started from different sides of the center, but their extremism has taken them all to the same dark side. Those of us in the daylight must unite around our rational belief in the rule and enforcement of law. Once we have united around our shared values we can have productive conversations on the topics where we may disagree. Police oversight, tax policy, and COVID-related business regulations immediately come to mind as areas where reasonable minds differ. These same reasonable minds can also work through these issues together and develop workable solutions. If left-leaning people on the light side feel like they cannot collaborate with their fellow occupants of the light side who happen to lean right, they ought to consider that the far left and far right have already found their common ground.
Brendan Kolding is a former Seattle Police Officer and City Council Candidate
Excellent read, Brandon.
"The framers? of our constitution were heavily influenced by Hobbes and other Enlightenment Era theorists." The Framers? Were they carpenters?
In 1776 the American colonies rebelled against the Crown because they were denied their rights as Englishmen. Those rights God granted, not a King or parliament. God grants rights not an earthly sovereign. Governments are instituted among men to insure those natural rights. Free men ceded no unalienable rights to government for security. You have it reverse, Brandon.
"A federal officer was killed and many others were assaulted by these extremists." No. Didn't happen. The man died of natural causes.
You failed to mention the woman murdered by some type of guard or police at the entrance to the senate chamber. You should know, being a former cop, deadly force is only authorized if the officer's life or lives of bystanders are in jeopardy of serious injury or death. Before deadly force, a series of less extreme measures all police policies require; verbal commands, non-compliant controls, taser, baton, spray, etc. None was applied in this case. The trigger puller should be indicted on murder charges. Address this situation mister former cop.
As to the reference to the French Revolution, those of the left were communists at a time when communists were not cool. In control of the revolution, they destroyed the upper classes, then the middle class and soon the working men and women had no employment. These Age of Reasonites, made two years of bad crops into a disaster. Their slogan Equality, Freedom, and Brotherhood has caused trouble since those days. Sounds like the ATIFA and BM movements all last summer and continue to this day in formerly great Seattle area.
This irrationality encouraged the communist revolution in 1917, the Spanish Civil War, and influenced the Wiemar Republic. Thankfully, Hitler and General Franco stood in their paths thus saving Europe the scourge, until today.
Equal under the law, yes. Equal under the eyes of God, yes. But in the material sense, it's impossible. Free men are not equal and equal men are not free.
You have it wrong B. Beausoleil
Your view of history and the english language is skewed.
First, mocking his use of the term "framers" is childish which diminishes the rest of your argument.
The American Revolution was initiated by colonial opposition to British attempts to impose greater control over the colonies and to make them repay the crown for its defense of them during the French and Indian War. Not because they were "denied their rights as Englishmen."
God does not "grant rights" in any legal sense. Rights in a legal sense ARE in fact granted by governments and vary wildly. If you doubt that you are unaware of the right of the Saudi government to chop off the hands of thieves, something practiced even in the 21st century.
As for Officer Sicknick...The U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that he "was injured while physically engaging with protesters," and not "natural causes," which is a deeply wrong assumption. His death would not have occurred without the protest. Open and shut.
Your statement regarding the French Revolution is simply ridiculous.
Liberty, fraternity and equality was in. Inheritted wealth and power was out. But the products of enterprise, trade and business were most definitely in.
Tom Paine, the English rebel who was part of both the American and French Revolutions, explicitly says as much in The Rights of Man. In this respect he was not much different to his contempary Adam Smith. They very much believed in a strong state, and their view of representative democracy was rather coloured by the fact that at the time, nobody was really sure what it meant, but communist they were not. The French Revolution was not as conservative as the American one, but they weren’t that far apart.
Yeah. I'm sure you are thankful for Hitler. That much is obvious.