February 20, 2014 by Anders Ingemarson
I have had my first piece published at RealClearMarkets: “Freeing the Individual From the Conceits of the Collective“. Please head over there to post your comments, and to tweet and share to your heart’s desire.
For those who prefer the familiar surroundings of SEPARATE!, here’s what I had to say (inline links are mine, not RealClearMarket’s):
“Freeing the Individual From the Conceits of the Collective”
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act is widely regarded as having ended legalized race-based discrimination in the United States, recognizing equal rights to all individuals regardless of skin color. Prejudices don’t disappear overnight and pockets of racial bigotry can still be found here and there, but by and large most Americans agree that race is not an issue today.
“Yet, all is not well in the land of the free and the home of the brave. The emancipation of all emancipations still eludes us—freeing the individual from the shackles of the collective. The Civil Rights Act ended the legalized practice of one particular form of collectivism—racism—but it did not address the legalized practice of collectivism in general.
“The racist version of collectivism holds that members of a certain race have no rights and that their life and work belong to a group of masters of a different race. It follows that the group of masters may sacrifice to its own interests the members of the race being denied their rights.
“Racism may be fading, but other versions of collectivism are alive and kicking. They hold that you and your loved ones have no or limited rights and that your life and work belong to whatever group they favor. Consequently, they hold that their pet group may sacrifice you to its own interests. Let’s look at a few examples.
“In the mornings you drive your 10-year old son to the local public elementary school. He doesn’t like school. He has struggled to keep up since Kindergarten. You know he’s a smart kid—he loves to play chess and has recently beaten you on several occasions—but somehow the public school he attends is a bad fit. You know of a private school nearby that caters to children like him. You have savings to finance part but not all of the tuition. You reflect that the public school taxes you are forced to pay, whether you use the schools or not, would make up the difference. Your rights to select an education solution that meets your son’s needs are being denied, sacrificed to the interests of the groups that force public education on you, among them teachers’ unions and the parts of the general public that support public schools.
“Your thoughts go to your brother. He runs the family farm in a neighboring state. It has been a struggle for years to make ends meet, but a while ago a good break seemed to be coming his way. An oil exploration company had approached him about drilling on his land with promises of royalties that would make the difference between pinching pennies and a life in relative comfort. However, the other day your brother called, telling you that the state legislature had just caved in to environmentalists and put a ban on fracking, killing the deal with the oil exploration company. Your brother’s rights to make decisions about his own land, escape back-breaking work and hand-to-mouth living, and raise his standard of living are being taken away, sacrificed to the interests of environmentalist groups.
“Your mother has a potentially life-threatening heart condition, but thanks to the care of a competent heart specialist, she has been able to live a quality life for years beyond the initial prognosis. When you visited her last week, she was distraught. The heart specialist had informed her that he is retiring. The Medicare rules he is forced to comply with prevents him from practicing medicine as his conscience dictates, including properly treating your mother’s heart condition. Rather than cutting corners, he’s calling it quits. Your mother is being denied her rights by being forced into a system that doesn’t allow for the proper treatment of her condition. Her doctor is denied his rights to practice proper medicine. Both are sacrificed to the interests of groups who use the force of the law to regulate people’s life-and-death healthcare decisions.
“Today’s collectivist groups differ in degree but not in kind from their racist brethren of the pre-Civil Rights Act days. Despite their veneer of civility, they advocate a form of slavery, robbing people of their future, wealth, happiness, and lives. Instead of Jim Crow laws, they use public education mandates and taxation, environmental regulation, government health care edicts, and a plethora of other legalized individual rights offences to sacrifice you and your loved ones to their own interests.
“Ending race-based sacrifice and individual rights violations, from the abolition of slavery to the Civil Rights Act, was a moral crusade. There were many setbacks along the way, among them Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, and the doctrine of separate but equal. What sustained the abolitionists, de-segregationists, and civil rights activists over the years was moral certainty in their cause. They were certain they were right, they were certain they had morality on their side, and they were certain the collectivists of the racist kind were wrong, were immoral.
“Today, there is no nobler cause than fighting to abolish the institutionalized practice of collectivism in every area of society. Winning will require the same moral certainty as the abolitionists, de-segregationists, and civil rights activists had in their cause. If we take a few pages from their book, we’ll start to see real progress towards the emancipation of all emancipations—freeing the individual from the shackles of the collective.”