Ideas are formally known as “the content of cognition” or the main thing of which you are thinking. That may be the dictionary (or technically the Wikipedia) definition, but for many of us, ideas are much more than that.
Ideas were a common theme in Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. From the Rally for the Republic he said, “Ideas spread, they cannot stop them. Ideas whose time has come cannot be stopped by any government or any army.”
I think an important difference between Ron Paul’s campaign, and the campaigns of other candidates, especially Obama’s, is that Ron Paul wasn’t trying to create a personality cult. I was a Ron Paul fan long before I watched any of his speeches, or actually saw him. I was excited about the ideas that he was spreading. I wasn’t thrilled over Ron Paul personally, but what he stood for.
So what is it about ideas? What makes them so powerful?
1) Ideas Unite
This too was a major theme of Ron Paul’s campaign. There were people from different races, different socio-economic backgrounds (that seems to be the politically correct term, “socio economic”), people who were life-long staunch Republicans, people who couldn’t stand the 2-party system, Libertarians, even, I daresay, some Democrats…all these people had one thing in common–they wanted liberty. They believed in the idea of individual liberty, of limited government, of free markets. Unlike Obama’s campaign, this was not a racially charged run. It had absolutely nothing to do with race, because all people, no matter what skin color, should be free. It had absolutely nothing to do with religion, because all people, no matter who they believe in, should be free. It had absolutely nothing to do with wealth, because all people, no matter how poverty-stricken or filthy rich, should be free. It had nothing to do with education because all people, no matter if they didn’t finish 8th grade, or have six degrees, should be free. That is the power of liberty. I know this personally. It has been a tremendous experience, walking beside so many different people in tea parties and rallies, and working C4L booths with various people, liberty unites and draws people together. I attended an Audit the Fed rally in Chicago this fall, it was a very inspiring event, especially for someone who is new to political activism, who hasn’t attended many rallies or big events. There were all sorts of people at that rally, and we all got along just fine and were drawn together because we all wanted liberty. The idea of liberty united us.
2) Ideas Inspire
I often think about what made me get politically active. It certainly was not the plea of any person that pushed me on. I didn’t see someone on TV, and decide I would go do something for them, because they “asked” me to. I convinced my family to make Tea Party signs and attend the April 14th Tea Party because of the ideas I believed in. And the idea of liberty keeps me going. This work can be very discouraging sometimes. Especially at times like this, when the House passed that huge healthcare bill, even after a summer of strong, and sometimes violent, townhall meetings. I start wondering, is all of this worth it? I’ve put enormous efforts into this work, I’ve sacrificed a lot of time to the cause, mostly because I am at a place in life when I have more time than people generally do. I’ve organized, I’ve planned, I’ve so much, and yet it seems like we aren’t getting anywhere. Maybe I should go back to being a silent observer, a quiet patriot. Is this worth it? And then I think of the world we’re trying to create. A world in which all people are free to pursue their dreams, make a business (and succeed, or fail at it), use their money any way they want, learn whatever they want, and do anything they want as long as they let everyone else do the same. Can you imagine a world where I wouldn’t have to ask permission from Our Father Who Art in D.C. every time I want to do something? I could put an addition on my house without having a government official come look at it, and without paying a hefty fee! I could decide I wanted to drive somewhere, without getting permission to drive a vehicle of transportation. I could start up a business selling cookies from my home, and if people didn’t trust that my home was clean and sanitary…well, I’d go out of business. I could buy and sell anything I wanted, without doing it “under the table” with fear of someone catching me. I could marry someone I loved without asking the government for permission. I could teach my children whatever I wanted, without asking permission.
Now, that’s an idea worth fighting for. That’s an idea I hope I would be willing to give up everything for. It is the one idea we can never give up.