Individual Rights Vs. The Collective–I compare America, the way the founders envisioned it, vs. America, the way the regressives want to degrade it.
When we speak about the rights of the individual, we are saying something very different than the left’s view of the topic. Our founders carefully crafted a Constitution that is designed to protect us from the excesses of government. However, a sufficient percentage of the people have not guarded those rights against government intrusion, until just recently. Those excesses are readily apparent in our country today: federal control of education, health care, environmental law, interference with personal property rights, and a litany of others, all in violation of the spirit of the Constitution and it’s writers, interfere with the everyday citizen’s ability to live as he or she pleases. Limits on religious expression, speech codes, censorship, and oppression are all also beginning to take a toll in the rights of the American citizen.
“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation”
Our Bill of Rights is a prime example of the founder’s intent. It guarantees the rights of the individual, while at the same time; the other sections vastly restrict the powers of the government. The document was created with those concepts in mind. Today, many liberals lament the fact that the Constitution stresses what the government can’t do, rather than what it can. To this, I must respond, “That’s the way it’s supposed to be!” Our founders warned us about the threat from the left, even before the left existed. Their warnings are valid because no matter the underlying philosophy, tyranny is tyranny.
“Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”
Tyranny, whether it comes in the form of Monarchy, Fascism, Marxism, or “progressivism,” attempts to “solve” human problems by government dictate and action. To my knowledge, there has never been a totalitarian government that has directly said, “ We’re going to oppress you!” Instead, they appeal to the masses, sometimes with an offer of protection from a real or imagined threat, or other times, with an offer of “equality and justice.” Some offer relief from economic chaos, while still others offer a sense of pride or belonging. Some take control by using carefully coordinated media propaganda and the artificial crisis. Others assume power by a personality cult, threats, or intimidation. Their functionaries may create laws and regulations with the intention of creating a crisis. They may build on pre-existing cultural or economic jealousies, building the tensions until they explode into a ”created crisis” that they can then “solve.” They use mobs of converts to bully and oppress anyone who interferes with their plans. They will persecute and vilify anyone who speaks out with knowledge of their true inventions. Dissenters are branded as defenders of the status quo, unpatriotic, terrorists, or otherwise have their reputations destroyed. They may be deprived of their work, subjected to frivolous lawsuits, or other “punishments” designed to silence them. Some may face physical danger, even death. They will accuse their opposition of doing what their own activists do. No matter how it is presented, totalitarians use empty promises to decieve the people, convincing them that their particular “medicine” is the cure for the problems they face. They back that up with social disorder designed to advance their point of view, while at the same time, silencing or discrediting those that disagree with them. They are deceitful, not only about their intentions, but about the true content of their plans. Their true goal is gain power, and then, to maintain said power.
“single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day…a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, to plainly prove a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.”
Rights hold a different meaning for the left than does the right. The left see’s the people as a large collective mass, not as individuals. Their plans and schemes to “help” this mass are top-down controlled programs that do not allow for the individual needs of the people. Whether it is health care, education, housing, or others, the government places restrictions and requirements on each, eroding the freedom of the individual. So, when the individual accepts the government “drug,” they lose control over an aspect of their life. The more of these “rights” that are accepted by the people, the more freedom they lose, until, in the end, their cradle to grave experience is fully managed by the government. The left also seeks, in the end, to provide these “rights” to everyone, granting them ever-increasing levels of control over the mass and what they can or cannot do. Since they view the people as a collective mass, they talk about “rights,” like housing, education, and health care. They then apply these to the collective, at the expense of your individual freedom. At the end of the day, so to speak, the people might have these “rights,” but they will have no freedom. After all, if your government controls where you live, your medical care, what you can eat, your salary or wage, your education, your transportation, and what you can say, and where you can say it, how free are you? Note that all of these examples are now being done, being discussed, or in the process of being enacted.
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”
Another concern with this view of rights is that the individual might be sacrificed for the good of the collective. If a senior or a disabled person has to be denied care to supply those resources for others, it is acceptable to the left. Ezekiel Emanuel has said as much himself. If an individual or small group has to be economically ruined to satisfy a policy initiative, it is an acceptable sacrifice. If a group of farmers has to be bankrupted to protect a fish, it will be done. The top-down regulation cannot accept or account for the needs of individuals, only the collective. In the last century, millions of individuals died in socialist experiments, five-year plans, and the Great Leap Forward. These statistics were acceptable to the leadership, as long as the collective was maintained, and more importantly, the power of the leadership went unchallenged.
“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”
It is also important to note that the totalitarians do not always restrict rights by direct action. They will often create circumstances in which individuals will have no opportunity to exercise their enumerated rights. Elected officials and government appointees have advocated for the control of web content, and the regulation of what one can say, and in what circumstances it can be said. Similarly, talk radio is to be attacked by mandating changes in local ownership to those people that will not run conservative programming, in spite of the obvious advertising revenue. The left will, of course, say that people still have the freedom to speak; they’ll just close the venue. In other situations, they will create regulations or taxes in order to create scarcity or make a product too expensive for a common individual to purchase or own. Again, they will hide their intentions in claims of fairness, diversity, environment, and equality, but the true intention is again to gain and maintain power, while at the same time shutting off dissent.
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
The left also views the human family with disdain. In the communist nations, efforts were made almost immediately to disrupt the family’s influence over children. Education was co-opted almost immediately, with children being placed in government sanctioned programs at the earliest age possible. Home schooling was banned, and private schools were either required to adopt the government program, or were closed altogether. The purpose was, and still is, to indoctrinate children to the leftist point of view. Independent thinking and the ability to use logic and reason to address problems are enemies of the left. A person that can look at their situation and realize that the government is the cause of their problems is a stumbling block for the left.
Also, the government schools have actively worked to separate children from any religious beliefs that they were taught at home or in Church. In the leftist totalitarian state, there can be no power higher than the state itself. Religion must be ridiculed as “unsophisticated” or held up as a sign of a limited intellect. Discrimination and restrictions on religious expression are soon to follow, either passed as law, or mandated by courts. In the end, the left is jealous of God’s influence, and wishes it for itself.
At the same time the left is creating “rights” that do not exist in our Constitutional Republic, they go about systematically limiting the individual rights that our Constitution guarantees. Speech codes ban freedom of expression on campuses as “hate.” Religious expression, particularly when the religion in question is Christianity, is being banned from schools and in the public square. Even in the face of last year’s Supreme Court decision, opponents of the Second Amendment are still working towards a “gun free” America. Other groups are attempting to use environmental regulations and misapplying eminent domain the deprive property owners of the use of their land and homes. The power of the states to manage their own internal affairs is being controlled and dominated in defiance of the Tenth Amendment. Activist judges, some of whom openly boast about making policy, legislate from the bench, creating rights that do not exist, and striking down ones that do. This is a slow transformation of America, from a free state, to a socialist one.
The left views each human life as a burden; one more mouth to feed, one more brain to indoctrinate, one more body to medicate, one more statistic to manage. Conservatives view each human life as an opportunity. We believe that each human being can make decisions for themselves, and manage their affairs without the interference of the state. Additionally, we can point to examples of government interventions either increasing problems, or creating new ones.
If we are to maintain our freedoms, and recover the full use of them, Americans from all walks of life must stand up and demand them. This has started, but there is much to be done to stem the tide of tyranny that threatens to overtake us. The days of political apathy are over.
“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”