"The secret to happiness is freedom. The secret to freedom is courage."
Thucydides penned that 2,500 years ago, and the House Republicans should be thinking on that line -- especially this week.
There are 234 Republicans in the House, who are about to elect a new leader. Are there at least 118 of them who realize the times in which we are living?
One hundred eightteen who are watching, as Charles Krauthammer put it on my show Friday, "the world sort of collapsing all at once, the way they look around everywhere -- the border, Ukraine, obviously Iraq/Syria, all of this stuff caving in on a presidency, and burying it. "
Do at least 118 GOP House members recognize the crisis we're in -- not just the GOP's political crisis as represented by the political earthquake of the defeat of Eric Cantor -- but the multiple crises in the form of an army of Freddy Kruegers marching across Iraq, Edward Snowden looting the country's vault of hyper-secret intelligence programs and giving them to China and Vladimir Putin, a staggering debt, and a near-nuclear Iran -- all presided over by an utterly clueless president and the bizarre staffing of a White House run by Valerie Jarrett?
Do at least 118 of them realize that the country desperately needs a huge GOP win in November? Not a small-ball, one-run win, just hanging on to the House for two more years, but instead a smashing up of the Democratic majority in the Senate?
A national vote delivering a thrashing to Team Obama-Reid-Pelosi that screams out "Halt Obamacare," "Stop EPA," and "Confess!" to the crooked, power-drunk bureaucrats of the IRS and Veterans Affairs Department?
If there are at least 118 such folks, they will vote this coming Thursday to elect Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho as the new House majority leader, and in so doing energize Speaker John Boehner, turn him in the right direction, and give a huge lift to prospects of a turnaround beginning in January.
If just 118 House Republicans grow a collective spine Thursday and choose Labrador, they will serve notice that the real thing is finally arrived: Not K Street's version of a rising tide lifting all boats, but an emergency alert and a fire drill aimed at passing the Paul Ryan budget in both chambers in 2015, repealing the Affordable Care Act, curbing the lawless EPA and doing whatever is necessary to stop the worst president in history from earning an even lower approval rating in his last 24 months.
Those 118 will have acted as well to send a message abroad to our beleaguered allies -- however few of them that remain, and at the very least to Israel -- that help is on the way.
A Labrador-led House will take steps to immediately pare the Pentagon's nonsense programs and bloated civilian ranks and get the money saved into ships, planes and other weapons and the men and women who actually fight with them.
They will stop Obama from signing further destabilizing treaties and making devastating cuts to our nuclear arsenal.
To do this, they will need a real leader. Not the nicest guy in the Congress. Not a prolific fundraiser. Not a blue-state glad-hander whom everyone greets with a smile but to whom no one would turn for an idea on how to stop the crumbling underway.
They would would deliver the change they promised their voters, and send out the front door the Puerto Rican son of a single mom who worked his way through school, served a two-year Mormon mission in the poorest parts of Chile, settled in the West and from there defends property and gun rights and energy exploration, and insists on border security first, before regularization -- not citizenship -- and in no case before 2015 when the GOP controls both houses of Congress.
At least 118 Republicans could on Thursday rewrite the book on the future of the GOP and send out as the majority leader a savvy, articulate political combatant, fluent in both Spanish and English, one who can deal with Telemundo, as well as MSNBC, who can duel on Univision, as well as CNN.
Want to debate what the GOP thinks of single Latina moms and the awful schools their kids are herded into? Send Labrador onto that set to challenge Nancy Pelosi, in Spanish.
On Thursday, the House GOP can chose to stun the political and media elites as badly as they themselves were stunned by Cantor's defeat.
They can change the course of the party in a stroke, energize its base and not further alienate it. Cantor's loss could serve a purpose and in fact become the way out of the box canyon the House leadership has led the conference into.
The stand-patters and a few long-timers won't want the grief, can't risk their stakes, no matter how dire the situation around them.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy knows them by their first names, after all. He might do a fundraiser for them in the district. He promised them a subcommittee chairmanship.
Empty promises, those. If McCarthy becomes majority leader, a whole lot of Republicans in the country are going to figure out that, like Travis at the Alamo, help isn't on the way. Lots of them will stay home. Some of them will turn against the party for good.
But perhaps 118 House Republicans really are thinking about the country, the party, their children and grandchildren?
A "Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss" election will outrage the activists across the country, making every Senate race harder, and some impossible.
McCarthy's a nice guy, but not a safe choice. He's the dangerous choice in fact; he's the guy who ignores the fire alarm, assured it is just a test.
A Labrador win, on the other hand, changes everything. Why not swing for the fences and actually try out the best man for the job for a change?
To stay happy, you have to stay free. To stay free, it is going to take some courage. For the 234 House Republicans, that choice is front and center Thursday. Pray that at least 118 of them summon the courage to do what is best for the country.Hugh Hewitt is a nationally syndicated talk radio host, law professor at Chapman University's Fowler School of Law, and author, most recently of The Happiest Life. He posts daily at HughHewitt.com and is on Twitter @hughhewitt.