Within each individual there lies the ability to speak up against atrocities, against injustice, against discomfort, frankly, against anything that one so desires to speak against. This is the case in the western world where speech, as of this writing, is still currently free and protected. Though we must recognize that even in our modern/postmodern day there are places where this favored liberty of speaking up is not allowed by the dictators who, with great equanimity sitting in their office, seek to control all speech. Quite an oxymoron of power and fear but nonetheless an unfortunate reality in too may oppressed regimes.
Albert O. Hirschman in Exit, Voice and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States, takes us on an expedition of economic and social realities of the self-regulating behavior of the marketplace. One can detect Adam Smith’s metaphor of the invisible hand of the market as Hirschman alludes to it as being the choices, and voices that the consumer makes regarding their buying/staying power and their vocal displeasure regarding firms, organizations, and states.
Hirschman states that voice is far more messy a concept due to its unwieldiness to be maintained to a faint grumbling and its volatility to crescendo into possible violent protest. Yet it is the “voice of the people” that has historically been the vying factor for change in states, governments, and regimes. It was on July 4, 1776 where a declaration of thirteen united states unanimously voiced a declaration of independence stating: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” This famous “voiced document” went on to declare the necessary “exit” from the King of Great Britain. Laying down with quill and ink the truths that were held to be self-evident that men have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness and if any such form of government becomes inept, even destructive, to these ends then it is the right of the people to both voice and then to exit (abolish) such government and institute a new government.
Such a demonstration of voice can and, in the case of the independence of the United States, was labeled as desertion, defection, and treason. Though the expression of voice and then exit from a state/government is the most dramatic form of voice leading to exit it is also the most dramatic from of loyalty. For though the events following this voluntary signing of this treasonous document were paid for in much blood and cost of property there was an indescribable loyalty to the cause for which each man had blazoned his “John Hancock” upon that parchment. Unfortunately, the message of loyalty and bravery to voice opposition as the founding fathers demonstrated has not been the pervasive message that many have garnished from their actions. Rather the message captured and acted upon is that of “cut-and-run” when the going gets tough. “It is the flight to exit that has become much of American tradition. Dissatisfaction with the surrounding social order leads to flight rather than fight, to withdrawal of the dissatisfied group and to its setting up a separate ‘scene.’”
I must swim back to the church for I feel out in deep water when treading among political science and economics. The plethora of denominations and schisms within the church scene hold enough evidence that the flight to start another brand of Christianity is alive and well in Christendom. The lack of loyalty is both pervasive and disheartening. Having pastored for 11½ years in the same church I heard the voices and witnessed the exit of many. Trying to “keep” the sheep happy and content was as difficult as Samuel Johnson descried in his fable about the Happy Valley of Abyssinia. No matter how often, nor how well, you feed and watered the sheep there was discontent among the flock. I ought to have outfitted myself with the traditional fire fighter clothing as apposed to a collar or suit, for fire fighting was the mainstay of the duties I encountered. Yet there was loyalty, albeit, to the building more than the cause or the mission to which Christ has called His Bride to.
Could it be that our voices are raised to often in discontentedness more for issues that do not deserve our voices to be heard? Could we often be, as they say, barking up the wrong tree when it come to our dissatisfaction and complaining? Who will give voice to the Unreached, the uneducated, the unborn, the less fortunate, and those, who like our fore fathers, are today desiring a declaration of independence from the destructive governments they find themselves oppressed by? Will we be the voice of one crying in the wilderness or simply one of the many voices barking up wrong trees?
 Albert O. Hirschman, Exit, Voice and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970), 16.
 Ibid., 17.
 Ibid., 108.
 Ibid., 10 see footnote 5.