Kopp Column: Pain Is Part Of A Conservative Philosophy


Imagine, if you will, a group of people for whom there is no pain caused by falling down. There is no road rash, skinned knee or chaffed elbow.

Imagine a society of these people on a congested city sidewalk where no one has learned the pain of scraped skin. The sidewalk is littered with people falling down; they have no motivation to learn to walk.

Imagine this society, a dimension of sight and sound, known as The Liberal Zone.

In The Liberal Zone elders determine orderly foot traffic is impossible unless people are required to use exoskeletons or artificial support systems.

One day, an outsider is transplanted in to this society of the Liberal Zone. “WAIT! STOP!” cries the visitor. “You don’t need that equipment. You can walk on your own!”

“Preposterous! We don’t want any pain here,” reply the elders. The visitor is silenced.

The people in this society avoid skinned knees, and the elders gloat over their ability to protect people. Life goes on with exoskeletons, but people become so dependent they lose muscle and joints are weakened.

Here is the “take home” from this illustration: pain is not always bad. It’s how people learn fire eats up skin. It’s how people learn unnatural bending of limbs and bones damages a person’s ability to function. It’s how a girl learns to date a better type of boy. Conservatives can endorse pain, but they also seek to avoid it with non-intrusive means.

Pain is a teacher. A new child enters a world of mobility, first in a stroller, then a tricycle, then a bicycle with training wheels.

When the training wheels are removed, the child wobbles down the sidewalk, but a new skill is learned. The child gains confidence, a sense of balance, strength, and agility. The child learns the natural law of gravity.

There may be success, there may be road rash, but the child learns to avoid pain by exercising personal responsibility. The child is self-reliant. The child has learned a new skill. The child not only is now a bicycle rider, but has earned a sense of accomplishment and confidence. The child’s self-value has increased. The child builds muscle, endurance, and strength.

Sadly, our pleasure-seeking/pain-avoiding society has energized a government that wants to force citizens to wear an exoskeleton. U.S. government welfare, health care, support and subsistence programs weaken Americans. They keep individuals from learning and growing. They force unwieldy external systems on individuals and households.

It’s back to training wheels. Conservatives recognize that America has reversed the training wheel analogy. America was at one time the freest nation in the world and it was made that way by people who knew pain and learned from it. Pilgrims and others who founded the Colonies had no support structure, only each other to help survive. They built a founding government and developed founding documents to encourage and enhance that freedom. It was not a freedom from pain, but a freedom learned from pain.

America has entered the Liberal Zone. America puts on training wheels to support a group of people who were free to fall down and then learn to stand. People now strap on government programs or “training wheels” that were never envisioned by America’s founders.

Sidewalks that were in no danger of clutter are now blocked with people who cannot walk or who are required to wear exoskeletons.

In short supply is self-reliance, self-value, self-confidence and personal growth. Meanwhile some of America’s elders gloat over their ability to protect people. That’s why they get re-elected, they promise training wheels and no pain. Voters accept that promise to their own loss of ability – and we all suffer for it, conservatives as well as liberals.

Mike Kopp has exercised his political muscle as a media director to two statewide campaigns, a television political reporter, a lobbyist, and staff assistant to the Senate Majority Leader. He is currently a communications contractor working from his home in Wilton, ND.

Mike Kopp has exercised his political muscle as a media director to two statewide campaigns, a television political reporter, a lobbyist, and staff assistant to the Senate Majority Leader. He is currently a communications contractor working from his home in Wilton, ND.

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  • igx

    The root of this problem is neo Keynesianism. It fools us into thinking ‘they” the government and the Fed can smooth everything out for us so we can just do whatever gratifies us. The global economy and social strife is the evidence it won’t work. Plus prudent risk taking and taking responsibility for your life end up being punished or looks like a suckers choice. It’s terrible.

    • Neiman

      People no longer see the spiritual value to people and a nation in struggle and pain, in overcoming disaster by their own efforts, working together as individuals, not as a collective, not with government always sticking their noses into their problems. It is not government hand-outs, but people giving from their own lack of resources through personal sacrifice. Do I want government giving me materials and money to help a neighbor that has lost his home or do I want to find those materials myself and offer my own labor to rebuild the house, which is better for me and for my neighbor.

      Just think of what it would mean to the people in Sandy Hook if they pulled together and rebuilt their lives and worked their way out of this horrible carnage by themselves, with a minimum of government interference, like we used to do. Think of what it costs to them morally, spiritually and physically to lean on the government instead. No, I believe the government can offer a helping hand, but real healing is personal and must come from within, by the people involved.

      • igx

        One could skip the moral part and just say flat out it doesn’t work worth a crap, too.

        We have too much central government trying to do too much, period.

        • Neiman

          Forgive me, but I see the moral and spiritual rewards as being the greatest benefit of struggling together in a crisis.

          • igx

            Fair enough, but Leftists need to hear it both ways. The state IS their religion.

          • Neiman

            “The state IS their religion.” True, very true!

          • igx

            I think a lot of them have this vague notion of “communitarianism” that they really don’t think through any of the downsides of. The state *mostly* needs to get the hell out of the way or it just turns into rent seeking, incompetence, and waste.

  • sbark

    “pain” makes a person, or a group of people look for a easier or better way to do things……vrs the Liberal method of just spending more of other peoples money.

    problem is………..”Men prefer a false promise to a flat refusal,” – Quintus Cicero

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    When we were raising our kids they would, of course, occasionally bang themselves up in some non-fatal way with little real damage. My wife would, of course, get hysterical & say that we had to do this and that to prevent such a thing from ever happening again. I told her that such things were blessings (from the same root as the French “blessure” meaning “wound”). Such events are valuable lessons that go far toward preventing real disaster. Those who are prevented by forced restrictions and “good fortune” from the painful consequences of behavior are not blessed, they are cursed.

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    Addendum: Children as well as adults take pride in their scars. They show them off as signs of experience, adventure and initiation. If you wished to get laid regularly in the Olden Days, nothing worked better than a visible dueling scar. These things are understood at some level, but Americans have become silly, hysterical and rootless in their affluence and instead of being grateful for what they have, struggle to immanentize the eschaton.

    • Mike

      Good point about battle scars. Hadn’t thought about that. It’s a sign that one has overcome.

  • dlao

    Imagine, if you will, a group of people for whom there is no pain
    caused by falling down. There is no road rash, skinned knee or chaffed

    Imagine a society of these people on a congested city sidewalk where
    no one has learned the pain of scraped skin. The sidewalk is littered
    with people falling down; they have no motivation to learn to walk.

    sounds like a place where they legalized drugs

  • Buffalo Bob

    Goofy analogy.

  • $8194357

    Pain is a part of Gods philosophy as well..
    Painful lessons are needed for stuborn humans
    with free will to learn both love and discipline, IMO..

    The Alpha..The Omega..
    The Beginning…The End…

    The Passing Scene
    By: Dennis M. Patrick
    Date: December 14, 2012

    The joy of Christmas returns. Things to do. Places to go. Gifts to
    buy. Few are immune from the Christmas rush as the season marches
    forward with an unrelenting cadence.
    Amid the hustle and bustle it is well to take time, to make time,
    to pause and reflect on the depth of the celebration. A story, a poem, a
    song with meaning inspires the Christmas spirit.
    In our post-modern era as Christianity slowly fades, a Biblical
    meaning to Christmas begs to be told. Recently, while browsing through
    some old Christmas sermons, one in particular registered as
    representative of times past when people embraced their Christianity far
    more seriously. An old volume (1903) titled “Holy-days and Holidays”
    contained the succinct sermon written by David Gregg, DD, in the late 1800s.
    His quest? Where was Christ before Christmas?
    First, Gregg points to the obvious. God planned the arrival of
    Christ at an appropriate time. From the beginning Christ was in the
    genealogies. He descended from the first family in the Garden of Eden
    and was in the covenant line forward until his physical birth in
    Bethlehem. Regarded as the Messiah, He was the unifying principle of the
    Old Testament.
    Events and people of the Old Testament pointed to the coming of
    Christ. Even unpleasant episodes served a purpose. The Old Testament
    chronicles some of humanity’s darkest deeds. Rape, lust, perversion,
    murder, greed, theft and a host of attitudinal offenses comprise an
    unending list of transgressions. As Gregg emphasizes, these dark
    incidents are recorded to reveal the counterpoint, the mercy of God, and
    thus create hope for despairing offenders in every era.
    Gregg’s second point illustrates that Christ existed through the
    Old Testament as the ideal man. Christ, the Messiah, embodied sublime
    perfection. His anticipated arrival made Him real to the Hebrews over
    hundreds of years. As an ideal man who would someday arrive, Christ was
    emulated by and inspired the heroes of the Old Testament. Moses the
    lawgiver, for example, was inspired by the predicted coming of the
    Messiah. He edified the people. He molded the people. He inspired and
    encouraged the people.
    Gregg makes a final point. Christ was in the Godhead before the
    existence of space and time. Many people are familiar with the opening
    of John’s Gospel. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
    God, and the Word was God.” John identified Christ as the Word. By this
    witness, He was co-eternal with the Father. His existence predates time
    and creation. As the active person of the Godhead, revelation, both
    general and special, came through Christ. He was the Word.
    Gregg presses his case. Throughout Old Testament history Christ
    communed with men and women. It was He who walked with Adam in the
    Garden. He had special friends in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In the Old
    Testament He cared for His people just as in the New Testament He
    watched over the new Church. He appeared as a guest, as a nameless
    person, and as a wrestling angel. He spoke to his people enveloped in a
    pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.
    Reading through Dr. Gregg’s sermon gives context and imparts a
    fresh understanding of what Christmas is all about. Amidst the hustle
    and bustle of the season may be found a quiet reassurance that beyond
    form there is substance.
    With Bethlehem as the focal point, the past and future stretch of
    time affords comprehension to the believer. With a deeper understanding
    the Christian may embrace Christmas with the significance it deserves.
    Christ not only came to earth, He enters every person who acknowledges
    need of Him and welcomes Him. Christ, as God incarnate, in His mercy,
    came to reconcile to Himself a twisted world, a creation gone astray.
    That is truly something to celebrate!
    Let all doubters garner at least some respect for why Christians
    celebrate the season. In our post-modern era where political correctness
    demands equal time for all beliefs, Christianity is unique for the
    belief it maintains that God went the extra mile by reaching down to
    reconcile his creation to Himself. All other beliefs require endless
    striving by adherents to justify themselves before their God.
    Where was Christ before Christmas? He was present through the ages.
    He has been here all along.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • The vice president.

    What a bunch of malarkey.