Polls measuring the political concerns of grassroots Americans consistently show that a majority is “extremely angry about government intrusion into personal lives.” Despite that finding, a parochial, anti-conceptual view of politics predominates among political party officials, politicians and candidates.
For instance, as the Tea Party movement was born in March 2009 discussion groups proliferated around the nation. Grassroots Democrats, Republicans and Independents, candidates for political office, ranking political party officers attended the meetings. So did many activists, bloggers and Tea Party supporters. The discussions tended to revolve around political corruption, excessive spending, budget deficits, the bailouts, government take-overs, and so forth. Grassroots attendees seemed to be looking for something that would tie together all of their concerns.
But when one stated that the growing intrusion into American lives shows that “we must demand a restoration of individual rights,” political party officials and political candidates declared that “Voters are turned off by that philosophical stuff.” One candidate said, “The only way you can get elected is to talk about fiscal accountability and transparency. Talking about ideas is a waste of time. Philosophical ideas are too abstract. People don’t understand them. What they understand is their pocketbook.”
Such fatuous remarks reveal the magnitude of the speaker’s ignorance. Bookstores are doing a booming business selling books that deal with ideas. For example, “Total sales of Ayn Rand’s novels reached 1.1 million in 2009. . . . Nearly half of those total sales were Atlas Shrugged,” a novel that deals with philosophical ideas. During the first quarter of 2010, sales had not slowed. Her non-fiction work, such as the Virtue of Selfishness, is also reaching new highs in sales. Libraries have long wait lists for books that deal with ideas. Bloggers dealing with ideas have good-size followings. Articles posted on the net by columnists who deal with ideas generate hundreds of comments. Talk radio has grown large, with steady audiences. The questions phoned in are predominately thoughtful.
The majority of American voters characteristically have worked hard all their lives to improve themselves financially and intellectually. One does not improve oneself financially and intellectually by reading exclusively the comics, the society page or the tabloids. Americans are looking for ideas.
They know it is not right for government to confiscate their money and give it to those who have not earned it. What idea makes them know that such action is robbery? The right to property. They know that it is not right for government to set salaries. What idea gives substance to that knowledge? The right to life. They know it is not right for government to demand homeowners have a license to sell their home. What idea is behind that? The right to property and liberty.
Rights are the foundation of our Republic and of men’s well being. Only the restoration of our rights can stop the descent into collectivism—and it does not matter if you call it socialism, progressivism, fascism or communism, all are expressions of collectivism, the fundamental political principle guiding the Obama government.
The opposite of collectivism is individualism. Morally, individualism is the doctrine that says man has the right to live for his own sake. Politically, it espouses the individual’s right to life, property, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Economically, it results in the free-market. Under individualism, men are free to pursue the shape and meaning of their own happiness as long as they do not violate another’s rights. Under individualism, men are free to choose the work that interests them, earning their own way, minding their own business, helping those they wish to help. These are some of the aspects of individual rights that need to be discussed, advocated and made the center of a political platform.
The political party that does, will be the winning party in 2010 and in 2012 will sweep the collectivists out of office. The candidates who do, will be statesmen returning this country to the land of freedom it once stood for.