Hymn To The Individual

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January 1, 2014 by Anders Ingemarson

2013 was a good year for championing the moral case for separating state and the economy. The collectivists were out in full force: NSA snooping overreach, healthcare rights violations, gun control lobbying, expensive budget deals, and much more. Each attempt to increase our dependency on government and control over our lives is bringing us closer to the final climax in the battle between the individual and the collective.

It may not look like we’re winning, but the undercurrent is getting stronger with more Americans joining the fight for limited government, individual rights, individualism, and a morality of rational self-interest every day.

The odds may seem high and the dark forces powerful. But remember that ours is an epic fight against thousands of years of prejudice and discrimination against the individual; winning takes time.

Ours is a struggle not unlike that which faced the 19th-century abolitionists. The core of the abolitionist movement was not large; at its height in the 1840’s, it is estimated to have consisted of some 3,000 activists. Adjusted for population growth, it translates to about 50,000 individuals today. That’s all we need. 50,000 activists with the moral certainty that individualism is right and all forms of collectivism are wrong. 50,000 activists that write, give talks, educate, raise money, sway public opinion, and push elected representatives in the right direction. 50,000 of us creating the ripples that will turn into the waves of change.

Collectives don’t change the world, individuals do, and nobody captures that better than Badger Clark in his poem “The Westerner”. It is my favorite spiritual fuel—a hymn to Man. Let it reconnect you with what made our country great and what will eventually restore its greatness—the spirit of the individual.

I wish you a successful 2014!

“The Westerner” by Badger Clark

My fathers sleep on the sunrise plains,
And each one sleeps alone.
Their trails may dim to the grass and rains,
For I choose to make my own.
I lay proud claim to their blood and name,
But I lean on no dead kin;
My name is mine for the praise or scorn,
And the world began when I was born
And the world is mine to win.

They built high towns on their old log sills,
Where the great, slow rivers gleamed,
But with new, live rock from the savage hills
I’ll build as they only dreamed.
The smoke scarce dies where the trail camp lies,
Till rails glint down the pass;
The desert springs into fruit and wheat
And I lay the stones of a solid street
Over yesterday’s untrod grass.

I waste no thought on my neighbor’s birth
Or the way he makes his prayer.
I grant him a white man’s room on earth
If his game is only square.
While he plays it straight I’ll call him mate;
If he cheats I drop him flat.
Old class and rank are a worn-out lie,
For all clean men are as good as I,
And a king is only that.

I dream no dreams of a nursemaid State
That will spoon me out my food.
A stout heart sings in the fray with fate
And the shock and sweat are good.
From noon to noon all the earthly boon
That I ask my God to spare
Is a little daily bread in store,
With the room to fight the strong for more,
And the weak shall get their share.

The sunrise plains are a tender haze
And the sunset seas are gray,
But I stand here, where the bright skies blaze
Over me and the big today.
What good to me is a vague “maybe”
Or a mournful “might have been,”
For the sun wheels swift from morn to morn
And the world began when I was born
And the world is mine to win.

(from “Sun and Saddle Leather”)

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