The Richmond Register

November 5, 2012

Policy changes require patience and perseverance

By Jim Waters
Bluegrass Institute

— Patience isn’t only a virtue. It’s also a necessary weapon in successfully opposing policies resurrected from history’s ash heap to threaten our economic and social freedom.

However, patience gets harder to maintain – by the second, actually – when you realize that our nation is borrowing $50,000 each second, $4 billion a day and more than $1 trillion annually. Our nation’s debt alone will cost America a million jobs this year.

Patience becomes an outright obstacle once you realize, as the latest Lane Report notes:  “Forty cents of every dollar spent by the U.S. government is borrowed. The U.S. debt now exceeds $16 trillion or $51,000 for every man, woman and child in America.”

And that’s on top of the $23,500 burden of state debt borne by each Kentucky taxpayer.

When you understand the severity of it all, you want something done…now.

Understand: patience is not fence-riding or inactivity when opportunity knocks. Rather, my dictionary says it’s “quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.”

Like the proverbial horse-and-carriage and hand-in-glove, patience must be fitted with perseverance.

Ask groups that have lobbied since President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration eight decades ago to realize their dystopian dream of health care by government fiat. They believe their patience and perseverance was well worth it.

Surely, if these ghoulish thinkers can persist that long for an Obamacare-sized plan, those who believe in free markets, limited governments and individual liberty can stay the course, too.

When England’s William Wilberforce (who was 16 when America’s War for Independence began) was elected to the Parliament at the tender age of 21, he imagined a quick victory in his quest to rid Great Britain of the scourge of slavery.

He expected to deal with reasonable people who just needed the opportunity to eliminate such an inhumane practice. It would not take long for such youthful naïveté give way to a much deeper call.

After being exposed as a young adult to the horrific treatment of his fellow man at the hands of his own people, Wilberforce’s agenda of “partying” in college was replaced with a moral pursuit that became his lifelong mission.

It would not be an easy journey. When Wilberforce arrived at Parliament, he quickly found himself at odds more with “big business” of his time than he did even with “big government.”

While his friends in Parliament pitied him, big-business interests would eventually actively oppose him.

Too many had been made wealthy by a slave trade which, during this season of human history, had taken 11 million African people from their native lands and sold them like cattle to work in British colonies. These interests were not about to let one young Parliament punk stop them.

Although stop them he did – 46 years later – by baptizing his cause in patience and perseverance.

When first arriving at Parliament, Wilberforce was largely ignored – even by many would-be supporters. It did not deter him. Instead, he patiently worked through the years to educate and build a coalition of like-minded souls. Bill after bill, debate after debate, despair after despair, year after year finally gave way to victory.

Three days before he left this world, Wilberforce heard the news: slavery had forever been abolished from his beloved Britain.

He had persisted…and won.

But don’t mistake Wilberforce’s patience with some kind of milquetoast passivism.

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large,” he said.

Whatever the 2012 election yields, it will not stop patient, persistent – but incurable – devotees dedicated to freeing our commonwealth from its burdensome dependence upon government so that its people can once again prosper.

Jim Waters is acting president of the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Reach him at jwaters@freedomkentucky.com. Read previously published columns at www.freedomkentucky.org/

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