EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 12, 2014

Column: No, we can't just 'get along'


So those of us who value the cause of freedom versus tyranny continue the battle that our founding fathers began: We argue, we stand firm, we fight if necessary. Tea party senators and congressmen keep their word to those who elected them: They resist new programs like Obamacare which increase the national debt, they refuse to raise the national debt limit, they don’t “reach across the aisle” to spread our grandchildren’s wealth around.

Compromise and “getting along” are strategies for advancing one’s own convictions, not values in themselves. Perhaps what we should be encouraging in Congress and among ourselves is disagreement that is stated with courtesy: not mindless name-calling or invitations to a duel, but insistence that arguments be rational, that outcomes are right.

Spiritual leaders like Pope Francis ask us “to recognize that we are brothers.” This isn’t helpful: Cain and Abel were brothers. What we need to recognize is that we are autonomous beings who should not be used for the benefit of others without our consent.

I’ve been told recently by young libertarians that I am an OWL -- an Old Wise Libertarian. I love it -- noting that the owl is the symbol of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and of war. Let’s just try to keep the war civil, and have our ongoing debate without swords.

Barbara Anderson is president of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a regular contributor to the opinion pages.

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