Chamber of Big Brother

Chamber of Big Brother

When did so many of our fellow citizens start expecting ‘Big Brother’ to make the majority of our decisions for us?  I’ve written before about themes from George Orwell’s book 1984 that I see playing out in the world around me.  Now… socialism isn’t anything new, and considering it’s complete and total failure whenever it’s been allowed to run its course you’d think that it would be relegated to the history books…but it continues to rear it’s head in some of the most unlikely places.  One such place it reared up recently was my local Chamber of Commerce…or maybe we should begin calling it the Chamber of Big Brother.

I live and work in a small town.  I didn’t always live here.  I grew up in a good size metropolitan area and traveled the world before settling down here to raise my kids.  One of the ways I went from being an outsider to becoming a ‘local’ was by getting involved in community groups that I shared values with.  One of the first groups I joined after moving to my corner of God’s country was the local Chamber of Commerce.

If you’re not familiar with what a Chamber of Commerce does it’s basically a civic organization that supports the local business community as well as offering networking opportunities among businesspeople, local officials and members of other civic organizations.  I’ve made good friends through my Chamber participation, learned which tradesmen can help me with I’m over my head on a project and worked on a number of civic projects that improve my community.

At a recent Chamber of Commerce leadership meeting we were presented with letter from a community member that both amazed and saddened me.

1984 MovieWe received a reasonably well written letter from a community member who was complaining about the state of our local business community.  The writer was obviously fairly well educated (at least in the use of the English language) but must have skipped a few years of civics and government classes.  Essentially the writer’s complaint was that the Chamber of Commerce was allowing too many and the wrong kinds of business to open in our town.  She went on to detail how a number of businesses in town had closed after similar businesses had opened up nearby and which businesses we didn’t have that needed to open up for our neighbors.  “How could you allow another Mexican restaurant to open when we already have one” she complained…”when you let the [second] Chinese restaurant open the [first] closed because there wasn’t enough business to go around.”

Chamber of CommerceHer analysis of our local business community wasn’t always wrong but her understanding of our freedoms was fatally flawed.  She actually believed she was writing the Chamber of Big Brother, not the Chamber of Commerce and we were doing a poor job of centrally planning our town’s business community.  Apparently, she thought we were  charged by the local soviet to pick the business winners and losers.

After the letter was read to our leadership group to solicit our response there was a dumbfounded silence.  How do you respond to someone who so fundamentally misunderstands the nature of our society?  The sad fact is that many of our fellow citizens are just as ignorant as our Chamber of Big Brother writer… and even more troubling, some of our fellow citizens actually desire and actively campaign for a release from freedom and all the pesky decisions that freedom requires.

The good thing about an ignorant person is that they can be educated, the only way to counter the socialists and communists among us it to actively oppose them.  Oppose them by shining a light on fact that their ideas are wolves in sheep’s clothing, oppose them in the voting booth, oppose them in the media, oppose them in the courts and oppose them with the businesses and charities you support.

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