By now I’m pretty sure everyone has heard about the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how this is just another thing in the long line of awful and unexpected events that mark the now infamous “2020,” but I’ve gotta say—I really didn’t find the passing of an octogenarian with cancer to be terribly shocking.
Some people are totally freaking out about it though. Like this woman who posted a now viral video of herself driving her car and reacting to just having heard of Justice Ginsburg’s death. She has a total meltdown (major language warning) at the fact that the Supreme Court justice couldn’t make it to 2021 (presumably so that her spot on the court would be filled by Biden rather than Trump).
Screaming Car Lady certainly isn’t the only person who is melting down over the idea that Trump will be nominating a new justice soon. I’ve seen a lot of really creepy tweets by people who think that burning the entire country down is a totally reasonable response to the president filling a vacancy on the court, and I just keep coming back to the same thing: how did we get to a place where people believe that their freedom, and even their very lives, somehow hinge on the letter next to the names of the people who sit on the Supreme Court?
Peter Schiff recently said, “If Supreme Court justices did their jobs properly their political party affiliation would be irrelevant. It’s only because they ignore the Constitution and decide cases based on politics, not law, that it’s an issue. The Supreme Court is the branch that has failed America the most.”
This thinking affects members of both major parties and seems to be especially prevalent when someone from whatever team isn’t theirs is in power.
Back in 2008, Ron Paul said, “It’s sad that so many Americans see their freedoms as dependent on a single Supreme Court justice. Federal Judges were never meant to wield the tremendous power that they do in modern America. Our Founders would find it inconceivable that a handful of unelected, unaccountable federal judges can decide social policy for the entire nation,” and it still holds true today. If anything the fear that people have of the “wrong” party filling the Supreme Court has only intensified.
This Supreme Court hysteria is just the latest in a long line of evidences that show how woefully ignorant most Americans are about the way the country is supposed to work—the legal boundaries that elected (and appointed) “leaders” are supposed to stay within when doing their jobs.
How many people have spent the last several months blaming Donald Trump for every COVID-19 death because he allowed the governors to manage the pandemic on their own—without issuing federal mandates? Ironically, it’s often the same people who call him a “dictator” and a “tyrant,” which is kind of weird to me. Why would you want someone you view as “literally Hitler” to localize more power at the federal level?
Anyway, I digress…
We have to do better when it comes to teaching young people about the role of government in a free society. The founders did a pretty decent job at laying out a foundation that has the potential to keep people more free than most other forms of government, but despite all the warnings they left us, we’ve still allowed it to be twisted and bent by those who are “just looking out for us” into something that is hardly recognizable anymore.
This is one of the reasons we took it all the way back to Frederic Bastiat when, in our first book, The Tuttle Twins Learn About The Law, we set out to teach kids the very most basic principles of a government that guarantees the people the most freedoms and protects their natural rights. It’s why we talked about natural law, and true law, and why if something is wrong for an individual to do, then its also wrong for people in government to do.
I suspect it has been a very long time since these ideas have been talked about and promoted in schools, and the result is evident all over social media and the news. People have no idea what it’s supposed to look like so they just keep begging for more government to “fix” their lives for them. The idea that they can fix their own lives, and that society can fix its own problems through cooperation and persuasion (something we talk about in The Tuttle Twins and the Fate of the Future) is entirely foreign to them.
They truly think that the only way to make things “better” (whatever better looks like to them) is to appeal to an authority who will enact a law or a tax that will force and coerce others into giving them what they want. And its not going to go away—this backwards thinking—until we replace all of this ignorance with knowledge.
I don’t think people are a lost cause. I think they just don’t know a better way.
We can help them by introducing them to the empowering principles of freedom and liberty like the ones taught in the Tuttle Twins books, and by setting good examples for others by the way we choose to interact with people with whom we disagree.
If we can help just one person see a better way, we’ve changed the world for good that day.
That’s the thought that motivates me every day.