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Roger Bolton: Our republic's taking a turn on the wrong path

My recent trip to Gettysburg was a powerful reminder that people can be deadly serious about something, but completely wrong. A deep and profound belief that slavery was OK led to the deaths of 625,000 men, something that would never have happened if people had their heads screwed on straight. Wrongheaded beliefs by individuals and groups throughout history have led people down a false path and brought untold misery and death to millions of people, misery that is the direct result of one or more individuals so mesmerizing a following that they will follow them anywhere, even to the point of destruction.

The mere mention of a few men like Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Benito Mussolini, Pol Pot, Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler reminds us that taking people down a false path always leads to calamity. When our goings and comings must fit within a framework determined by others, freedom is always lost, and is followed by deterioration in the quality of life and sometimes disaster.

For a long time, we have been seeing politicians in Washington seeking to fashion our lives according to their wishes, believing they know far better than we what our lives should be, and they have been passing legislation requiring us to be what they want us to be. As an acquaintance recently said, "They are trying to control every aspect of our lives." Those who wrongly believe they should structure our lives to their liking now have the greatest champion they have yet found to lead them to the domination they desire, and this has foisted upon us some of the greatest problems this country has ever faced. Never before have we had a group of politicians intent on replacing our Constitution with an inferior form of government.

We may not be close to the calamities perpetrated by the men mentioned above, but the groundwork has been laid for us to lose the freedom to make our lives as we wish. When anyone or any group claims their way is best and will not consider what others want, they set out on a false path that always ends in suffering and failure, often death.

A big problem with those who believe the false path is the correct one is reaching the conclusion that the right path is the wrong one. The person who travels this false path chooses to imprison himself in his wrong thinking and takes others of like mind with him, fooling himself and others into believing that wrongheadedness is the preferred way of life.

Desireto control the lives of others speaks to the lack of joy and satisfaction in one's own life. Failing to find meaning and happiness, such an individual seeks to find meaning by determining life for others. A healthy person builds his life as he desires and is comfortable in his own skin, never asking that others become what he wants them to be. Freedom to be and to let be is a hallmark of a healthy person satisfied with life.

The individual who travels down the false path keeps hidden from himself and his followers the truth of going in the wrong direction. Once he has a devoted following, he has no choice but to continue convincing his followers that, contrary to what history teaches, the right path is really the false path.

Unfortunately, conflict is always inevitable when a person or group of people elevate themselves to the know-all position. People do not lie down and roll over when someone seeks to take their freedom from them. People on the right path wish to stay there.

We are already seeing the first stages of conflict as people on the false path attack those they have determined not to be what they desire. The "Occupy Wall Street" movement, encouraged and supported, unbelievably, by our president and the liberal establishment, may be the first stages of the conflict which inevitably follows when people think it their duty to determine life for others. Our future promises escalated conflict if those who wish to change our way of life continue on this false path. Already we have heard some of the discontented suggest attacks on those they consider the bad guys in our society, with some having suggested they should be hanged. Unthinking, non-productive people, robbed by their leaders of access to think their own thoughts, will always feel good traveling the false path if their leader is skilled enough to keep them believing he will usher them into the promised land.

Of all the forms of government in the world, our constitutional republic offers the best chance for people to achieve joy and happiness in life. We have been a nation moving toward freedom of opportunity for all citizens. Although the progress has all too often been slow, the direction has been certain. What has been going on in this country for the past few years, however, has brought an abrupt halt to the movement toward freedom for many.

Many people do not realize that no final solution can come through conflict. The problems of human relationships have not been solved through the many conflicts of past history, and, if the politicians in Washington continue taking us down the false path away from constitutional government, we will not solve the problems now before us. The good citizens of this country do not want to again see conflict which tears our nation apart, but, continuing to travel the false road will get us there.

Roger P. Bolton, a Conyers resident, is a conservative independent. He has published two books, "The Debacle In Washington And What We must Do About It" in 2010 and "Justified Anger" in 2011.