Let Freedom Ring

Hello everyone,

 

I had planned to refrain from any new posts until after the election, but this subject came up and I decided not to wait.

 

I will put it into a political context for the sake of the election, but it is a topic which has much broader implications.  It is such a core issue, that I intend to return to it in the future.

 

This is based on a comment I made in regards to a debate about individualism vs collectivism.  Some of you may not be familiar with the terms, so I will lay a little foundation, and hope you will follow up by learning more about the issue.  In future articles I will explain and explore in fuller detail.

 

I have to insert a note here about language.  In the following I am using the term “men” meaning men and women and all individuals.  It is the language used in the founding documents and is not meant to exclude women or any persons.

 

I would suggest to those who are struggling with the concept of “individualism vs collectivism” that may wish to consider examining the issue more fully.

 

The works of the philosopher Ayn Rand may be helpful.  She emigrated to the U.S. from Russia.  She left a communistic collective country, to embrace the U.S. which was founded on the concepts of individualism.  And if you study all the things which originally defined our country, you will find that individualism is at the core of what we once were.

 

Collectivism and Individualism are not separate doctrines.  They are exact opposites of the same concept.  They cannot coexist.  They are like matter and antimatter, which cancel each other out when mixed in equal amounts.

 

If freedom is important to you, you will find that it can only exist in an individualistic approach; only persons can be free.  As its opposite, collectivism can only lead to the opposite of freedom, which is slavery.  There are those who believe that somehow we might be able to exist as “relatively” free slaves, but that is a contradiction.

 

Individualism seeks to set men free, collectivism seeks to enslave men.

 

So what the heck happened to us?  We started out as a nation based in individualism.  To verify this, one only needs to fully read the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and fully understand the words used.

 

It is not enough just to recite these words without understanding.  We must understand their meaning fully before we can argue anything about them.

 

The sad truth is that we have turned away from these concepts and no longer embrace the very things which once defined our greatness.  We were founded on these great ideas, and we have slowly over time moved in the opposite direction.

 

It is not surprising that we have fallen into this trap.  Most if not all now living have come into this world at a time when the battle was already well in progress. 

 

I mentioned above the left extreme of communism, defined in it essence by Karl Marx.  Now I will mentioned another collective concept from the extreme right, which is Fascism.  This collective concept was embraced by Adolph Hitler and the National Socialists (Nazis).  It embraced the collective nation as being more important than any individual freedom, and we all know how well that worked out.

 

But what you may not be aware of is that the German philosophers who started Germany on the road to Fascism, then came to the United States and started spreading the same doctrines most especially in our educational systems.  This re-education of us all was a factor in why we reversed our thinking regarding our founding principles.

 

It is time we wake up from this nightmare which has spilled over into the entire world.  It is time to make a choice between the conflicting opposites of individualism and collectivism.

 

In this election, all the candidates are speaking about change.  Each candidate is arguing that his version of change is better than his opponent’s version.  One thing we know for certain is that some kind of change is what we want.

 

I don’t think anyone is really happy about the direction in which we have been going.

 

I don’t think anyone is happy about what is happening to us and to the world.  Whatever we are doing seems to be wrong, and thus we want some sort of change.

 

I am suggesting that the change we are really seeking is based on the conflicting ideologies of individualism vs. collectivism.  This is a core choice to be made and will define the nature of all other change.  If we do not make the better choice, then any other change will be merely a variation of the wrong choice and will not really change things for the better.

 

If you look at all the various choices of “isms” you will see something which is quite obvious. 

 

Communism  – a collective ideology

Fascism – a collective ideology

Socialism – a collective ideology

And the list includes almost every doctrine you can name.

And then there is the one exception.

The original founding principles of this country which, unlike all the rest, are based on individualism.

 

So can individualism work?

 

It did for much of our country’s early history.  But we have abandoned it in favor of collectivism.  This is where we went wrong.  It is time to change for the better.

 

One often hears the argument in defense of our modern collective philosophies that times have changed.  The world is a different place.  These arguments are made against the founding principles, by those who are convinced that collectivism is the only way.

 

I can only reply that they are right.  Times have changed for the worse.  The world is a different place today.  It used to be a better place.

 

The thing that has changed is that we no longer value the rights of the individual.  These rights as stated include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Individualism is founded on the premise that there is nothing more important than these rights.  When I say nothing, I mean exactly that.  No government, group, state, country, religion, monarchy, dictatorship, majority, community, society, and any other collective entity or institution is more important than individual rights.  It is in these rights that all freedom exists.

 

And individualism holds that all men have these same rights, not just Americans, but all men everywhere.  And in fact, they stated that it is in this way that we, all men, are created equal.

 

Collectivists would have you believe that all men are equal.  What they mean by that is that all men under a collective system are equal slaves.  This is not what the founders meant.

 

They were very specific.  We know that all men are not equal.  Some are more beautiful than others, some are more intelligent than others, some are taller than others, etc.  But the founders said quite clearly that we are all equal in the individual rights we have.  They held that this was truth, and that it was not debatable.  It was absolute, and inalienable.  We are equal in that each of us has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

 

There are more of these equal rights than the above mentioned three.  All of them are individual rights, not collective rights.  Many of are listed in the Bill of Rights.  It is in this way, the individual freedom, that we are equal.

 

Now if we turn to the issue of government, and how it was intended to function in our nation, we can see that it has evolved into something which we do not want, if we value individual freedom.  The original concept of government was to protect and defend the individual rights of our own citizens.

 

If you read the Constitution, you will see that this is what was intended.  The Constitution is an amazing document, which clearly outlined how government was to work.  It has one flaw in that it assumes that people understand the principles upon which it was based, and does not fully explain why the principles were included. 

But as far as it goes, it is very clear.  It was also written based on the principles of holding individual freedom above all else.  And it is written in a form which does not say what the government can do.  It says what the government cannot do.  And all these limiting factors have one thing in common, in that the government cannot do anything to interfere with individual freedom.

 

The form is this, and it is repeated throughout the entire document:  The government shall make no law which does “such and such.”  And in every case it boils down to the following:

 

The government shall make no laws which remove individual freedom.  That is exactly what it says.  Read it for yourself.

 

Our government today, no longer follows the Constitution.  This has become very obvious.  Our current soon to be ex-president Bush provides a striking example.  After taking an oath to uphold the constitution, he went on to remove individual freedoms, for the collective concept of the greater good.  But there is no greater good than individual freedom.

 

When asked about this, he said that the Constitution was “just a piece of paper.”  Do you agree with him?  I do not.

 

The Constitution limits the power of government so that it cannot deny anyone his individual rights.  It says that the government is to be of the people, by the people and for the people.  The people are the individuals with individual rights.

 

The government was to serve the people, not to rule over them.  We now have a government over the people.  This was what the founders wanted to avoid, and it unfortunately is what we have allowed to happen.

 

As I promised, I will return to this core issue in future posts.  It is a huge subject to examine and understand.  But I will close this with an introduction to have this subject applies to armies, war, military aggression and those related things.

 

Starting again with the individualistic view that all men have equal rights which are not up to debate, but in fact are inalienable, and given that the government is charged with the task of protecting these rights, then how does the military fit into all this and how is foreign policy affected?

 

The founders said that the government should provide for the common defense.  Note that is says defense, not offence.

 

In that the government is our government, it has a duty to protect the life, liberty and other individual rights of our citizens, from outside forces which would deny us these rights common to all men.

 

There is what seems to be a conflict here, but I will try and show why it is not.  The conflict is that if we embrace the idea that every man has a right to life, then how can we justify killing any individual?  This is especially an issue in war.

 

But the principle is that every man has a right to life, and that if another individual or group tries to violate that right, then in defense, life must be protected, even if it mean killing that aggressor who would deny that right to another.  But understand that life may be taken in defense, not in an attack of aggression.  We held to this principle in war, for a long time, but recently we have abandoned it.

 

Having adopted a collective policy, we now have become the very thing which we were once against.  We have become an offensive aggressive empire, with a totalitarian goal of a one world order.

 

This is the concept of globalization, and it is contrary to our principles. It is because that we have changed to this as a foreign policy, that we have lost the respect we once had.  When we were true to our policies, we were viewed by the rest of the world as a symbol of freedom for all men.  France, who had a grand regard for the concept of freedom and liberty, gave us a gift which we proudly look at as symbol of our country.  The Statue of Liberty.

 

Do you think we would be deserving of such a gift today?  I don’t think so.

 

We have abandoned the principles in favor of collectivism.  There was a time when our ideals could spread across the world, as men seeking freedom would voluntarily adopt our ideals because we were a shinning example of individual freedom.

 

If we do not return to our strength, and adopt the principles which once made us truly great in the eyes of the world, we will go the way of all previous empires.  Every empire in history believed that they could enslave the rest of the world by force.  And every empire has failed.

 

The collective based idea of world conquest is the enemy of freedom, no matter how much we use the word “freedom” as a meaningless slogan.  Freedom is a concept we need to once again embrace.

 

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