Fear is a powerful tool. Improperly applied, fear causes us to make irrational choices without thinking. Yet it can also, in the words of the Book of Proverbs, be the “beginning of wisdom.” The difference is what we fear.

In Proverbs 9:10 we find, “fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”. Scripture is replete with examples of the foolishness of man. Individuals, prophets, and even disciples often make the mistake of fearing men more than God.

A healthy fear is critical in all facets of life. And, frankly, it is very easy to fear the wrong things.

I have come to believe what underlies many of our problems in the American body politic is too little fear. That is, too little fear by the politicians of the voters and taxpayers. As evidenced just by their performance in recent years, most politicians in the Texas Legislature very clearly fear the retribution of lobbyists and bureaucrats more than the taxpayers and voters.

Were this not so, for example, they would have rushed to end the corporate welfare programs opposed by both parties and large majorities of citizens that fund unreliable energy companies. Instead, we are treated to the spectacle of those politicians tripping overthemselves to find new ways to get the taxpayers’ cash to their cronies.

The fault rests with us.

What we should have been fearing is what has resulted. We should have feared the loss of liberty, the growing bureaucratic deep-state. We should have used that fear to drive actions protecting our republic.

But it was easier for us to fear the loss of free time that comes with being engaged. It was easier to fear the inconvenience of true self-governance.

We allowed ourselves to fear the disapproval of the power-hungry, self-serving politicians. We feared not being loved by our elected officials. We even feared the disapproval of those who hate us.

And so, we have found ourselves fearing a government that – in our laziness – has been allowed to become a prowling leviathan.

As citizens, we have failed to inspire sufficient fear in those elected servants. We’ve allowed them to think they are the masters of this republic. We have put ourselves at the bottom of the governing hierarchy.

Too many citizens fail to even participate in elections. And even fewer bother to take the steps necessary to hold politicians accountable for their actions and inactions. The downward spiral of cause and effect blur, with the result being lawmakers who don’t sufficiently fear the citizenry and citizens too fearful to engage effectivetly.

Wisdom is found in learning from our mistakes, being fearful of repeating them. Will we let fear stop us from fighting back?

It’s up to us, as citizens, to inspire in our elected servants greater fear than the lobbyists and bureaucrats. Rather than accept table scraps, the citizenry must unwaveringly demand that politicians seek our approval and our approval alone.

As citizens, we must set aside fear, stand firm, and demand obedience from our government.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."