“A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”
― Milton Friedman
One has to wonder when rehabilitation of the Republican Party becomes a losing proposition for classic liberals – perhaps it already has. The pull-out of funding from the party coffers to the Virginia gubernatorial effort a scant three weeks before the election and the absolute lack of curiosity about a “libertarian” challenger, one at least partially funded by an Obama campaign bundler, indicates a level of indifference to so called Tea Party beliefs that simply boggles the mind. The lack of support for Ken Cuccinelli is tantamount to support for Democrats.
My only demand of my political representation is to protect my individual rights, those being the “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” that were enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. I ask for nothing in return, my creed is that of the mythical John Galt:
“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
But I guess I have to face the fact that it is just too hard for most to be classical liberals. It takes work, effort, thought. It is hard to be free, Liberty takes more than eternal vigilance, it is a constant war against the vicissitudes of life. You have to believe in something greater than yourself and be prepared to defend your position. Because you believe in individual liberty, you have to make the hard decisions and expect others to make them, too. You have produce and are measured by your tangible successes but your individual success does not mean that you are not compassionate or you care only for yourself, it means that you will give help where necessary but that you will also expect the recipient of that help to work as hard as you do. Your ethos is that if everybody individually works to be successful, all will be successful. To make a worthy effort and fail is laudable and noble, to live a life of subsistence off the success of others is not, to concern yourself with what your life means to society is noble, to try to dictate to others how to live is evil.
And you have to be prepared to be John Galt or his predecessor, Howard Roark. Perhaps more than any other example, Rand’s characters embody the strength of the individual based on the proposition that true liberty depends on the freedom of the individual – the greatest desire of who is to simply be left alone and free to achieve whatever is possible.
It is apparent that today, some people can’t even conceive of being that independent and apparently there are enough who believe in the safety of the hive that they can muster enough votes to win elections. These folks are far more comfortable relying on others and take great pleasure in telling them what to do even as they depend on them for sustenance and support. These people are called “progressives”. They don’t really have to produce anything because they have jobs in elite occupations in academia, union leadership, journalism and government where the measure of performance isn’t what you produce; it is how well you work the bureaucracy or how much dependence you can create in other people. They can be found in large concentrations in the human hives of large urban areas on the left coast, the Northeast and upper Midwest.
It takes little effort to be one of the crowd, a part of the collective.
The great paradox is that most people live their private lives as classic liberals. They make decisions, take responsibility and work to provide for their families but when it comes time to pull the lever for a conservative, they don’t do it. Maybe it is some kind of delusion, some wishful illusion that “progressivism” is really the answer. It isn’t. “Progressivism” is a leech, it only lives off the blood of others. Curiously, Marx stated that:
“Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks”.
In perhaps what is the ultimate irony, Marx actually describes what we call Marxism today, “progressivism”. Where the individual classic liberal is internally driven to produce, the ideology of “progressivism” only survives by sitting above the people, producing nothing, owing its very existence to the practice of taking from one and giving to another while profiting from the exchange, being nothing less than the blood sucking vampire described by Marx.
In doing so, “progressives” are violating a basic natural law – that the productivity and output of the individual is the sole property of that individual – but when the individual doesn’t value their own productivity or see that productivity as being limited by some social or political system that they believe they have no control over, it is easy to convince them that they do not own that output, that it belongs to the collective.
That is the culture that we have to find a way to change.