The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
– Ayn Rand
Perhaps the most amazing thing about our so called “evolved” society is its arrogance. Throughout history, this arrogance oscillates from one side of the political spectrum to the other, like a great pendulum suspended from the heavens. The current repository of this arrogance is the left in American politics, the “progressives” and their current delivery system of choice, the Democratic Party.
If you don’t believe me, just have a look on the comment pages of newspapers or the blogosphere and you will quickly realize that the left smugly consider themselves superior to the right and with the re-election of Obama, it has given them an additional reason to pat themselves on the back and tell themselves – and us – just how smart they are.
Arrogance has a symbiotic partner.
That symbiotic entity is conceit.
The conceit of the left is exemplified in their belief that they are the center of the universe, that everything that happens, happens to them, because of them and for them and as such history has no meaning unless it supports them.
Therein lays their Achilles heel. Proverbs Chapter 16, verse 18 says:
Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
History, at least political history, is not linear. It is more like an old 8-track tape, having multiple, separate and distinct tracks but running on an endless loop. Everything old is new again if you wait long enough.
What we are fighting today is no different than what civilized man has fought over ever since we figured out how to cultivate crops and domesticate animals and then turned our attention to trying to control each other as we formed interdependent societies. The conflict as as old as time itself.
It is the constant tension between the individual and the collective.
We pointed out that, some 164 years ago, Frédéric Bastiat wrote:
As it is certain, on the one hand, that we are all making some similar request to the Government; and as, on the other, it is proved that Government cannot satisfy one party without adding to the labor of the others, until I can obtain another definition of the word Government I feel authorized to give it my own. Who knows but it may obtain the prize? Here it is:
“Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”
Citizens! In all times, two political systems have been in existence, and each may be maintained by good reasons. According to one of them, Government ought to do much, but then it ought to take much. According to the other, this two-fold activity ought to be little felt. We have to choose between these two systems. But as regards the third system, which partakes of both the others, and which consists in exacting everything from Government, without giving it anything, it is chimerical, absurd, childish, contradictory, and dangerous. Those who parade it, for the sake of the pleasure of accusing all governments of weakness, and thus exposing them to your attacks, are only flattering and deceiving you, while they are deceiving themselves.
For ourselves, we consider that Government is and ought to be nothing whatever but the united power of the people, organized, not to be an instrument of oppression and mutual plunder among citizens; but, on the the contrary, to secure to every one his own, and to cause justice and security to reign.
No doubt Bastiat would recognize the political conflicts ongoing today. He would probably be shocked that we are still on about it.
Can it be so difficult to understand that liberty is an individual trait, that if the individual has no liberty then society has no liberty and that the freedom of a society is measured in the freedom of the individual? Why is it so hard to see that socialism and collectivism is not based on altruism and concern for others, it is based on selfishness, envy and a desire to prevent others from achieving more?
The quality of a society is measured through examining how it treats the smallest minority.
The epitaph of Robert the Bruce, the man who finally freed Scotland, has special meaning today:
A noble hart may have nane ease, gif freedom failye.
(A noble heart cannot rest if freedom fails.)