For any group of people to gather together and form a cohesive working relationship, there is a need for certain standards, guides, rules, if you will. I just sent cold shivers down the spines of any anarchists that may read this; however, even within a family there are behaviors which are not acceptable. The purpose of such minimum standards is to prevent harm to others in the individual’s sphere of influence.
We begin with protection from physical harm and proceed to emotional and mental harm. It is instinctive for a parent to want to protect its offspring from harm. It branches out from there to wanting to protect one’s parents and siblings and other family members. As families live in communities consisting of other families, people begin to see varying degrees of behavioral acceptance and set community standards for behavior outside the family that most can agree upon.
Eventually these standards become laws which every member of the community is expected to abide by. This is extremely basic. As the community grows, it becomes a society and the rules of that society, over time, become a culture. Many generations later the culture is ingrained in those who have grown up in it and they rely on the history of their forefathers to give validity and credence to the standards by which they live.
If we look back at the beginning of these cultural values, we can see that they were, in fact, based on faith in a power higher than the men/women establishing them. The most powerful person in the group was expected to follow the same rules because they had to answer to a higher power for their actions. There was accountability to something more than man. This is true of all cultures from the beginning of time.
We have now come to a point in societal evolution where people are trying to shake off the idea of a more powerful authority than man. This is very disturbing to me. Mankind is somewhat flawed. Everything is somewhat flawed. Man is no different. He is a mortal creature and has what we refer to as human nature. While man is extremely capable and has great capacity for intellect, he is still humbled by his human nature which he cannot ever overcome. It is an integral part of his being. Without it, he would be omnipotent and a mortal being can never be that.
So, realizing his own imperfections, what makes any man think he has all the answers? What makes anyone think that another person should hold all the keys to his fellow man’s happiness, freedom or opportunity? We have our cultural standards, laws if you will, by which we agree to abide. But beyond that, we are accountable to a higher power that even the most intelligent and most physically powerful must inevitably answer. If this were not so, then the most intelligent and most physically powerful would never cease to live. They’re human power would never die. No one would ever be able to overcome such influence over their fellow beings.
And yet there are always those who think they have solved the problems. They are going to create a society where everyone will have the same amount of everything and everyone will be happy and content. The fact that thousands of years of history has proven that to be impossible, due to human nature, doesn’t mean a thing to them. They are more intelligent, in their own eyes, than anyone who has come before them and they have found the magical, golden key that will make everyone’s wish come true.
Unfortunately, they completely disregard that pesky little thing called human nature. They are oblivious to the reality that man, even they themselves, is flawed. A flawed being cannot create a perfect society. It is fine to strive for it, but one must realize that it cannot actually come to pass because perfection cannot be achieved by something imperfect.
In human history, America stands out as the greatest governmental achievement of all time. This isn’t because it is perfect. It is because it is the only governmental structure ever devised that allowed for the imperfections of human beings but gave them the freedom to govern themselves and the opportunity to achieve their individual goals while still adhering to basic standards of behavior that have been tried and proven throughout the history of mankind to prevent harm to others.
The American system, as set up originally, realized that there are basic flaws in man that lead him into corruption and tyranny. But rather than squelch it by restricting the better part of human nature, it was set up to encourage the best and still allow the people themselves to fight against and weed out those who may go too far toward the harmful and dangerous behaviors that could hurt society. Instead of not allowing people to have arms, as a governmental control to avoid harm, the people were allowed to keep and bear arms. This is amazing. It shows that the government can be maintained as long as the people allow it. Most people are good and will do what is right; however, should those in government go too far, the people will not be powerless and they can defend themselves and their freedoms against tyranny because they have the tools with which to do it.
This idea was totally radical. It had been conceived of but never actually tried before. This was the Great Experiment. This was the hope for the people of the entire world. This marvelous experiment was so successful that people were able to unleash their creative genius and invent and conspire together to make the most wonderful machines and technology in the shortest period of time since man walked on the earth. Never before had such great accomplishments occurred so quickly. People around the world have been lifted from poverty and poor health more than ever before. Ways of producing food, clean water, medicines, all manner of things to improve the lives of people have come from the freedom of the people of one nation spreading to the rest of the world.
But somehow, that isn’t good enough for some people. They still maintain the idea that, as great as this has been, it isn’t good enough because it isn’t what they consider perfect. Somehow they believe that they can make it perfect. They believe that by restricting and regulating more and more, and thereby denying freedoms to more and more people, they can take care of everyone and all those Utopian dreams can be achieved. But those who believe that is possible are, again, not allowing for human nature in all its forms.
Let’s assume someone with such ideas was given the ability to rule the world. That person would be able to make all the decisions for everyone else. That person could decide what you were allowed to do for a living, how much you would earn, what your working conditions would be, where you would live, what you would learn (if you were allowed to be educated at all), how much food you could have, how large or small your house would be, how many children, if any, you could have, even whether you could live or die.
Now think about that. One person, just as flawed as anyone else, being able to decide all those things for you and everyone else. Who should that person be? Obviously someone you agree with. But what if it’s someone you don’t agree with? Or what if it is someone you agree with, but over time, since human nature is what it is, their ideas morph and become something you don’t agree with? What if it’s someone who was very good at hiding their true ambitions. What if they convinced everyone they were going to do one thing and did something that was diametrically opposed to that? Human nature is a funny thing. A person’s entire way of thinking can change very quickly due to the onset of a mental illness or corruption or any number of things. But once a person is given all the power, how is it to be taken away should things go terribly wrong?
What if instead of one person, it is a group of people given such power? Wouldn’t the same potential for disaster exist? Wouldn’t it be just as dangerous to place the decisions for everyone in the hands of just a few?
That is why America has been so successful. The power was placed in the hands of the people rather than a few leaders. But, for the last 100 years there has been a push by those who believe only a few have enough intelligence and ability to run the country. They call themselves Progressives or Marxists or Socialists or Communists or Democrats or even Republicans. They call themselves by any number of names. But what they all have in common is the belief that they have all the answers and the rest of the population has no clue at all how to achieve greatness. They believe that everyone else must be shepherded and looked after and saved from ourselves because we aren’t bright enough or capable enough to do things for ourselves. Everything must be governed and governed by them. They are going to ensure that we are all happy and content. None of us should ever suffer financial, physical, mental or emotional distress. They are going to see to it.
Once again, not a thought is given to human nature. The very people who claim to have the ability to do that are proving the flaws in their own nature. No one has the right to take away anyone else’s failures. Not anymore than they have the right to take away anyone else’s successes. Humans learn fastest and best through failures. It is sad, but it is true. The school of hard knocks is the one school that can claim the best success stories for its graduates. As a parent, you don’t want your child to stumble and fall, but you know it has to happen and you know your child will learn from it. The government, first of all, is not my parent. Second of all, it has no right to prevent me from stumbling and falling. If I open a business and I am successful, that is my success. I earned it and it is not due to the government. On the other hand, if I open a business and it fails, that is my failure. I earned it and it is not due to the government.
This is called accountability. This is where we get back to the beginning. I answer to a high power than man. No man can claim my successes or my failures. They are mine alone. And no man has the authority to tell me how to run my life or my family. As long as I am not harming society, I am to be left alone to find my own path, easy or difficult. That is freedom. And because most men are good or try to do good, there is no need for a government to protect us from ourselves. We make mistakes and we do great things. There cannot be one without the other. No group of people will ever be able to ensure anything greater than what free people can do when left to be free and allowed opportunity.
Global warming, oil drilling, demographics, disease, famine, all these things are better left to the free people who are basically decent and care for their fellow man. Some people are not decent. Most people are. The chances that a huge population will find the right way are much better than that one or two people in a small group will do so.
Another thing about human nature is that, even if something is good for a man, he will resist it if it is forced upon him. Therefore, no matter if there were a perfect human making all the decisions for everyone else, those decisions would be reviled and fought against simply because the people would have no choice.
Utopia cannot exist with mortal beings. We must allow for human nature and all of its wonderful abilities and flaws. No one can truly control another and why would we want to? Opportunity, to succeed as well as to fail, and the freedom to pursue opportunity is the greatest gift, other than life itself, that anyone can have. Whenever any law is enacted, it restricts a freedom somehow for someone.
This is the difference in the thinking of Liberals and Conservatives, not Democrats and Republicans. Liberals are actually opposed to liberating people. They feel that by making all the decisions for people, they are doing the best for them, which is not their responsibility to begin with. It is up to the individual to do what is best for himself. Conservatives want to restrict government to allow the people to have more of their own freedom. They want to govern conservatively, not overwhelmingly. Personally, judging from history, I prefer the conservative approach.
I don’t need or want the government to force my employer to provide a safe working place. I don’t need or want the government to make sure my water is pure or my food is safe or my wage is a certain amount or my education is free or my law enforcement is unbiased or my neighborhood has a certain ratio of all religions. Those are all things I can do within my community as an individual joining with other local individuals or as a worker negotiating with my employer myself.
If I don’t like the way my community handles things, I have the freedom to pack up and move to another community where I do like the way things are handled. If I don’t like the way my local law enforcement treats certain races, I can make changes to my local law enforcement agency personnel or move away. If I don’t think I’m being treated well in the workplace or I’m at risk for my safety or not being paid what I’m worth, I can quit and work somewhere else.
If I’m not willing to do those things, then I’m allowing others to control my life and I must accept it. But it is not up to the government or anyone else to fix those things for me. It is up to me. If enough people agree with me and are willing to do what is needed, as I am, then the community will repair itself or it will cease to exist. There are ghost towns which bear this out. The people don’t need to have restrictions and regulations forced on the community which take away their freedom to do it for themselves.
That is demeaning. It sends a signal to the people that they aren’t capable or smart enough to do things for themselves. Worst of all, it takes away an individual’s personal power over their own life and transfers that power to an unknown, faceless government who has no personal connection to that person and bit by bit more and more power is accrued by that impersonal government and less and less is left to the individual. More government means less freedom and, because government is made up of a relatively small number of individuals, it means government becomes more powerful and people retain less freedom.
In order to remain free, we must be willing to do the work for ourselves and accept responsibility for the good and bad that we say and do. We must not be willing to let someone else do for us what we can and should be doing for ourselves. Every time someone else does something for us, we lose the power to do it for ourselves. Nothing is free. We pay for it with our freedom or our time or our money, sometimes with all of those. If one person is getting a meal for free, someone else has paid for it. If someone is getting their rent paid for them, someone else has worked and earned the money that was used to do it. Freedom has a high price but it’s worth it. If you allow others to do anything for you at all, you are allowing them to pull your strings. He who controls the gold makes the rules. If you are willing to take something from another, you must dance to their tune. You owe them. They control you. That is not freedom. That is slavery.
When you take something from the government, you are really taking it from your fellow citizens who paid the taxes that funded that service, whatever it may be. And always remember, government is made up of flawed people who are subject to human nature which includes good as well as bad. The more power a person has, eventually they will succumb to their basic human nature which includes the flaw of corruption. Don’t hate the person for being human, just remember they aren’t any less flawed than you and keep control of your own power. Hold onto your freedom. Don’t be so willing to point the finger of blame at someone else. Be willing to accept responsibility for your own actions. But never be willing to take from another what you could have earned for yourself. Stay free and encourage others to do the same.