Scott's Choice





Individual Rights – or Statism


28 March 2010

The basic political issue America now faces is the value of the individual versus the value of the state.

To put that another way, the question is the nature of humanity – does the individual live for himself, or is it better to subordinate himself to the state?

If you believe that the mind – reason and free choice – is capable of personal responsibility and achievement, then you must choose individual political freedom – the protection of individual rights.

If you believe that people by themselves are ineffectual – that they must be regimented to survive – then you must choose some form of tyranny – a dictatorship, socialism, etc.; the form makes no difference. Statism must override the life, liberty, and happiness of the individual. This is the evil of “the greatest good for the greatest number”.

Historically, of course, the vast majority of people through the ages have lived in the misery of such regimentation – such tyranny. For the rulers are always as human as those they rule – with the same weaknesses and vanities, when an entire population shields them from the real-world impact of their actions.

Choosing to believe in the mind is far tougher: you must accept that someone – some others - will disagree with you – on virtually everything. And then you must agree to join together to fight the tyranny that will destroy you both. As individuals, we agree to disagree.

Politically, this means that respect for another’s right to his life, his liberty, and his property is paramount. We agree to let each person succeed – or fail – through his own efforts. Beyond that, we agree to disagree. But that is all we need.

To avoid tyranny and regimentation, individuals must think in principle. The best thinking is to work up from the basics, and correcting our own mistakes. The alternative is mindless regimentation. Some will have fundamentals that seem different – as individuals, we agree to disagree, even when we know the other guy is wrong.

There can be no “halfway”. A little regimentation inevitably leads to an ever-greater quantity. There is never “just this once” , or "just this one group I hate", or “just a little”, or “just do it for me”; not even “just do it for the poor”. There is just the love of freedom, and the hatred of imposing one’s will on others. That is acting on principle.

It is time to get the “halfway” out of America. We can undo the damage; we can undo everybody’s pet peeves and pet programs that turned into another person’s oppression – that has ruined someone else's life. We can make the United States a place that absolutely respects a person’s right to his life, his liberty, and his property – that is founded on that principle – or we have nothing left but the regimentation of tyranny.

We should do it because being an individual is always better than being one of the regimented horde. Whether it was the Greeks against the Persians, or the American colonies against the British, or us, here and now, against socialists, environmentalists, "sustainable development", and other wannabe dictators, individuals have always won against mindless onslaughts. For ourselves, for our children, for their children, for “our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor”, we must act – together.

-- Scott


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