February 22, 2009

Collectivism vs. Individualism

Santelli's Tea Party
Police Confiscate and Later Return Anti-Obama Sign
Putin Labels Economic Crisis a "Perfect Storm"

Lou Dobbs Poll as of 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009 (Japan Time):

How would you characterize the government's use of cameras in public places?

Necessary Security 50% 1296
Unnecessary Spying 50% 1304

Total Votes: 2600


In addition to conflicting opinions in the videos, notice how close the poll is. Right now people in the United States are evenly divided between collectivism and individualism. We are sitting atop the most important crossroads we have encountered in our 230+ year history. In years following World War 2, the world itself was divided between two principle social philosophies, the collectivist societies of the USSR, China, and their allies vs. the individualist societies led by the United States. In fairness, it should be noted that in countries such as France, Thailand, Holland, Japan, and a few others, the social systems operated under profound collectivist sentiments that were moderated by individualist political minorities.

It's not as simple as Democrat vs. Republican, Socialist vs. Labor, or any other Left vs. Right dichotomy. Over the past two hundred and thirty plus years even the United States has shifted back and forth between collectivist and individualist political majorities depending on factors such as economic stability, unemployment, and prevailing fear of external conflict.

Then the USSR vanished, seemingly overnight. Suddenly the distinction between the two sides of the political spectrum became blurred. Compromises began to flow back and forth. Much to everyone's chargin, mistakes were made by both sides. Political polarization began to grow. Neighboring cities, counties, states, and nations enacted policies the exact opposite of one another. The clever narcissists, always on the lookout for a decline in vigilance, played one side against the other and carved out huge areas of corruption between the two. When 9/11 threw the industrialized nations into a dizzy spiral of paranoid restrictions on personal liberties, the anarchists threw a celebratory rave and joined forces with the narcissists.

Now we live in a divided world where in many areas complete chaos is considered business as usual. The main problem with polarization is that it allows the most immoral and unethical among us plenty of room to ply their trade. Crime and criminal-mindedness expand into the gap between the two sides. Political and social polarization of the past twenty years has allowed terrorism to flourish and gangs dependent on narcotics sales to expand their violent trade.

Crime cannot be legislated out of existence because criminals, by definition, ignore the law. The only thing laws can do is punish behavior society deems either non-productive or destructive. In this era of extreme polarization, the biggest danger we face is each group (collectivist vs. individualist) trying to translate it's political, moral, and ethical position into laws designed to punish those who disagree with them. Therein lies the root of every civil war ever fought on any continent.

We in the United States need to recognize that certain aspects of our relationships with our neighbors are not going to change. Second Amendment advocates will never accept limitations on their legal freedom. Environmentalists will never accept the industrialist's desire to ignore, or in extreme cases denigrate, the natural world. People who grow up in major cities will always long for the freedom of open spaces but at the same time they will never have enough intimate experience with nature to truly understand "the natural order of things". People who grow up in the country will never understand the paranoia of city dwellers nor will the country citizen ever sympathize with the city dweller's need for an externally imposed sense of structure and order.

In short, the real issue both sides need to oppose is the desire of their opponents to legislate them out of existence. Demanding a legally enforced moral and ethical conformity to either a collectivist or an individualist society leads to one of two irreconcilable and equally undesirable outcomes: anarchy or fascism.

Herein lies the true strength of the Second Amendment and herein lies the only reason that gun control laws must be completely removed from the books, every single one. The Second Amendment, untouched and unlimited, gives both the collectivist and the individualist the same key freedom, a freedom that must not be compromised because every time it is weakened we move one step closer to either total anarchy or complete fascism. The true purpose of the Founding Fathers, the true motivation for writing the Second Amendment and wording it as they did, a purpose and motivation confirmed in the Militia Act of 1792, is to give the people of the United States of America the one thing no other government in history had ever granted: legal authority to wage war against the established government.

The Second Amendment is the ultimate protection for both liberals and libertarians, and even for both criminals and law-abiding citizens. The Second Amendment is the legal right to rebel against a government that no longer listens to the people's complaints!

Like it or not, when someone like the Unabomber, the Weather Underground, and even the Ku Klux Klan, takes up arms to fight against the government they are acting fully within their legal rights. The Second Amendment does NOT give them the right to attack civilian targets. Any attack on a civilian target is terrorism and should be responded to with the full force of law. However, attacks on law enforcement and military targets are acts of war, not acts of terrorism and even though most people feel the same emotional revulsion in both cases, the two types of attack are NOT the same.

Just because the Second Amendment gives the people of the United States the legal right to engage in armed rebellion does not mean armed rebellion must be the first response for someone who feels their rights have been infringed upon. Of course not! It is only after all other avenues of redress have been attempted and refused that the people should take up arms. We are not there yet, not even close. We were not there when Lincoln forced a military response from the south by refusing to hand over Fort Sumter and started the Civil War, which also means at least 618,000 lives were wasted in an illegal and unnecessary war.

Collectivist organizations like the Brady Campaign shoot themselves in the foot every time they force through another restriction on the Second Amendment. This is why I find it so difficult to understand the position of the gun control lobby. The foundation of their philosophy is first of all illegal, because it forces limits on a law which says, "...shall not be infringed." Period. No exceptions. There's nothing about "concealed vs. open", "sporting vs. military", and so on. The "militia" in the first clause is clearly defined in the Militia Act of 1792. The entire "organized vs. individual" debate is silly and the tragedy of it all is that D.C. vs. Heller's ambiguities means we will have to face several more Supreme Court cases before somebody points out the obvious.

Additionally, by attempting to limit or repeal the Second Amendment the collectivist organizations are removing the best weapon in their arsenal for opposing a tyrannical, fascist government so dedicated to individualism that society is reduced to a violent, chaotic social anarchy. The existence of the Second Amendment would allow the collectivists to build an arsenal, create an army, and rebel against an individualist government gone to extremes. Why in heaven's name would they want to remove their best legal defense?

I don't know how far into the future the United States of America will continue to exist. I do know that right now the collectivists have gained the political majority and there is every danger they will use their newfound power to force through laws and regulations which so severely damage the freedoms of the libertarian individualists that they take up arms and rebel.

Way back in 1980 I fully expected rebellion to break out all across the United States. At that time, I fully supported the government so I did the most logical thing for a young man expecting rebellion to do, I joined the Army. The expectation of rebellion was not the only reason, nor was it the main reason, but that does not change the simple reality that it was indeed a very real factor in my final decision to enlist.

Now I look out at the ebb and flow of information across the globe and it strikes me that the current political climate is even more volatile than it was back in 1980. There are millions of people spread across the entire spectrum of American society who are actively seeking a good excuse to start a shooting war. Even worse, not all of them are individualists! Many of the collectivists are fully prepared to use violence to force their agenda on the opposition. The current situation is very explosive and cannot be allowed to continue. If it does continue, the "worst case scenarios" I posted yesterday will seem like nothing more than fond daydreams.