Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Society in Conflict - Conclusion

The first step necessary for a proper society is the removal of force as a functioning principle. Force is the enemy of voluntary exchange and it distorts the personal and economic decisions of people by imposing sacrifice as the moral base. Sacrifice is immoral because it re-distributes value from one person who has honestly earned it to another who has not. This is a form of theft that violates the rights of the productive citizen and forces people to function against their self-interest.

How does man outlaw force in society?

First, he must define what it would mean to outlaw force. How does a country do it? What premises must it hold philosophically before it can begin to think about such an issue and move toward practical implementation?

Ayn Rand, again, provides the answer:

“Reason is the only means of communication among men, and an objectively perceivable reality is their only common frame of reference; when these are invalidated...in the field of morality, force becomes men’s only way of dealing with one another.”

The role of government as a protector of individual rights, means protecting citizens against the initiation of force and fraud against them. This protection leaves people free to use reason in order to affect their own survival. Individual rights relate to how man survives. Individual rights is a principle that acknowledges the human mind as the critical factor that must be accommodated in order to have a society without conflicts of interest.

No amount of “good intentions” can ever be more important than the practice of leaving men free to make their own decisions and practice their own moral precepts.

To accomplish this free society, an intellectual and philosophical movement must take place that recognizes the value of the individual mind in society. It involves “respect for human beings”.

Respect for human beings means recognizing that each human being, by his nature, has rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of his own moral code. He has a right to think for himself and to respect himself without the interjection of a ‘moral authority’. When people respect each other’s rights, they recognize that they can only use persuasion and reason when dealing with each other. They also recognize that the only way to make an honest living is by offering products and services to people that actually improve their lives. And they recognize that attempting to profit from dishonesty, deception and lies is not a way to survive.

In fact, one of the most common misconceptions about capitalism is that it allows the unscrupulous to get ahead. It is precisely the unscrupulous who lose when the right of people to make their own decisions is liberated. Simply put, you don’t expect me to do business again with someone who has cheated me in some way. The quickest way for a businessman to go out of business is for him to take the attitude that his customers are stupid and that he gets ahead by cheating them. That is not respect for human beings.

Respect for human beings is at the heart of Rand’s trader principle. Those who live by values, she says, not by loot, must use reason in order to provide values in trade with others. This is the principle that eliminates conflict in society. When disagreements arise, contracts must be reviewed and reasonable people must agree on the terms of the contract. When this does not work, a law court operating on rational principles is consulted. The process is free of violence, free of demands for sacrifice, free of vitriol and conflict. As long as the government does its job of fairly protecting the rights of individuals, society can be civil, relationships can be mutually beneficial and people can live safely, happily and creatively.

Today, under the leadership of President Obama, the collective principle wrongly holds that conflicts of interests rule society. Under this view, there is an evil capitalist behind every corner who must be taxed, regulated and forced to operate without a profit. The President's collective principles demand allegiance and loyalty to the principle of "shared sacrifice" and it asserts that sacrifice is demanded by morality. President Obama's collective principle insists that the productive, the rich, should be forced to sacrifice their earnings for the sake of unions, crony capitalists and leftist government departments and grant recipients that provide no value to American citizens. The enemy of the collective for the President and his cronies is the individual who must be fought, isolated and ostracized if he does not comply with collective demands.

The collectivist idea that capitalism creates a "dog-eat-dog" society is a myth. The truth is that even the low level of freedom that exists today has less conflict than virtually any society in history. More people work together, reason together and come up with better solutions to problems together than during any time in world history. In spite of oppressive government, capitalist systems are the most peaceful, most advanced and most improving societies on earth - and they are the last to start wars. This is because the idea of respecting people establishes a social environment that engenders peace and this brings about a constantly improving society (Remember, it was the communists who claimed that capitalism would die and collapse – it was communism that collapsed because it did not respect people. In retrospect, we can now see that it was not capitalism that was the most exploitive system ever. It was communism and the conflict it created in society.).

Ayn Rand advocated respecting human beings as a fundamental principle of human interaction and she declared that men, using reason and living in political freedom, can get along just fine. When reality proves her case millions of times every day, she is vilified and accused of being in favour of fascism and exploitation. It should make you wonder about the motives and the intellectual dishonesty of her critics. Certainly, the fact that progressives tend to advocate sundry rotting conflict-ridden systems that are exploitive and disrespectful of people should make you wonder why they call their coercive systems “social justice”.

In order to have a society without conflict, we should study the Constitution and learn how the system was intended to work. We should understand the purpose and role that individual rights played. We should understand that individual rights, when protected, were intended to liberate men to use their minds and keep the results of their labors. We should understand the purpose and role of a limited government restricted to protecting individual rights. We should understand the Bill of Rights and why the framers sought to separate religion and state.

And we should understand that the principles of the Founders have been hijacked by progressives who want to turn us into slaves to a coercive state. The best answer we can give the progressives is a Constitutional Amendment that creates a separation of economics and state, a prohibition that keeps the government from economic intervention into the private business relationships, decisions and actions of free citizens.

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