Photo Credit: Western Journalism I don’t know why many Americans on the political left are embracing a system that has persistently failed throughout history. They love to cradle this system in words that sound warm and fuzzy and very appealing: cooperation, collective effort, common ownership, and mutualism. It reminds one of a quote often attributed to Albert Einstein: “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” Why are they convinced that they (modern progressives) can finally make this failed system work? They are in a collective stupor because they have overdosed on a drug called arrogance.
Their movement is full of contradictions. They vehemently oppose the western tradition of supporting “rugged individualism” and wish for all to join the herd and allow the government to shepherd us toward ‘greener’ pastures. The independent ones who choose to paddle upstream rather than go with the flow are ostracized and hated. However, they will compromise their own collective principles if an individual or minority group can bring political benefit to the progressives.
Thomas Jefferson defended the rights of the individual in the Declaration of Independence. He diligently studied the great British political philosopher John Locke. He practically quoted Locke word for word in his original version of the Declaration when he wrote that all individuals have a right to “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.” This comes from John Locke’s writings on natural law. Perhaps Jefferson was wishing to paint with a broader stroke when he chose to edit Locke’s statement when he penned the words “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The primary property John Locke was referring to was a man’s right to his own person. “Though the Earth…be common to all Men, yet every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself.” (First Treatise on Government) Some of Locke’s contemporary philosophers (Hume, Hobbes, and Rousseau) believed that property was created by the state and that therefore the state has sovereignty over the individual. Modern progressives embrace the idea of sovereign government over the natural rights of the individual.
The modern anti-individualism movement is clearly on display in the left’s hatred for guns. An individual in possession of a gun expresses an independence that drives leftists nearly insane. The gun owner is expressing his individual right to protect himself, not only from other individuals of ill intent but also from a power-mongering government. The liberal senses an attitude in the “bitter clinger” that declares himself to be owner and defender of his own self. The gun control freaks are frosted when an individual refuses to call on and trust a collective government to protect him.
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