What is the real question people with political concerns should be asking? Maybe to stay focused on the real question we need to know about red herrings.

So ... what is a red herring? For years, we've been misled by a fox hunting fable which claims if two parties were fox hunting and one party wanted to cheat, it would drag a heavily smoked herring, red in color, across the path of the other party's hounds to distract them from finding the scent of the fox.

Although this fable has no basis in reality, if you were to see two parties on the hunt, both dragging red herrings across the landscape, you would be tempted to call the parties Democrats and Republicans, wouldn't you say?

Red herrings: Arguments which distract from the real question.

So in Washington we recently witnessed a fox hunt called "fighting over the 2011 budget to avoid government shutdown." The Republican red herring was: "Government is spending too much, so we must cut costs." The Democrats, as usual, used any number of red herrings having to do with seniors and babies and women who would supposedly die if costs were cut.

No one asked the real question: What is the proper function of government?

Consider a people with no government who are producing and trading with each other, enjoying the struggles and rewards of life, and generally doing what people naturally do. Why would they form a government? Who needs a government, and for what purpose?

This is the question everyone should be asking. All other questions are red herrings.

Last month's article on this site, The Spiritual Foundation of Liberty, pointed to a valid reason for people to form governments, but found no valid reason to create a legislature with legislators who can continually make new man-made (ego-made) laws. Governments which continue to accumulate laws continue to move farther and farther from the original reason for forming the government. Such governments are out of touch with reality, doomed to create misery everywhere they have influence.

Ezra Taft Benson, 13th President and Prophet of the LDS church, once delivered a momentous speech (which hopefully every Mormon reads)  entitled The Proper Role of Government. President Benson refers back to the "natural rights of man" concepts held by Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. Modern libertarians might not agree with every word of his speech, but at least President Benson was asking the real question.

In your ruminations about your country's political state, in your discussions with others regarding political matters, are you wasting your time following red herrings?  Or are you constantly asking the real question?

To understand the evil psychology of modern "liberal progressives," read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"

"God's laws will keep your minds at peace, because peace IS His Will, and His laws are established to uphold it. His are the laws of freedom, but yours are the laws of bondage. Since freedom and bondage are irreconcilable, their laws CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD TOGETHER. The laws of God work only for your good, and there ARE no other laws beside His. Everything else is merely lawLESS, and therefore chaotic." -Jesus Christ in A Course in Miracles