There are some people who easily make judgment, thinking they’ve completely understood their idea and thoroughly checked their ‘premise.’ I believe so because I’m talking directly from my own past
experiences. I was like them before. I often criticized some book authors and even newspaper columnists after reading some excerpts of their works. I was wrong. Now I’ve learned that before one could lay down his own judgment, he should exert some effort first to know better the works of others.
That, I think, is the attitude of a responsible scholar, or a student of the school we call life. I would like to share the story of a good friend nicknamed Duncan who exerted some efforts to exchange ideas with me here on wordpress. Really, I appreciated his patience for sparing his time to a simple blogger like me. Duncan and I had this emotional and serious discussion about one of the many writings of Ayn Rand I published on Ideological Soup’ titled “Ayn Rand New Order of Tomorrow.” Our series of discussions started with a comment. Duncan said in his comment: “There is a camp of folk, in this world, that not only think that capitalism is the best means to an end, they believe that it’s a system that can take the planet forward.” He went on to say: “They worry about sacrifice to a bigger faceless goal, they concern themselves with “inalienable” rights, handed down to us “humans” from some place or another. They dream of an unregulated capitalist society where everyone has the “right” to pursue happiness as they see fit, and own property etc.”
Based on the foregoing, Duncan’s ideological inclination is deeply hinged on Karl Marx’s Communism that advocates for revolution, which, according to marxists, is the only way to attain what they call equality of, by, and
for the proletarians. Well, I believe that everybody is entitled to his/her own opinion. But like what I’ve said in my previous article about the Return of Nazism, there are some dangerous ideologies masquerading as advocates for reason. In that article I said that “Ideology can be very dangerous, although this fact may be unknown to many, if it’s designed to control the mind of a multitude with the intention to transform the latter into an unwitting and stupid collective block, either to gain power or to maintain the status quo with the intention to build up political, economic and military dominance.”
In regard to communism, I have made a strong statement that “I’m against totalitarianism and communism.” In my blog titled ‘Individualism over Collectivism’, I have made the following
statement: “I’m against collectivism and any ideology that seek to subjugate individuals to an absurd collective whose aim is to abolish individual rights and freedoms for the sake of what their proponents
claim as the “common good.”
This is so because today, “there are lots of political ideologies and philosophies that continue to confuse the people. We have various “isms” that advocate the goals and visions of their respective
In one of my replies to Duncan, I called him “confused” and not really consistent with his statements. By confusion or contradiction is meant there are inconsistencies in his ideas that he’s not really aware of. By confusion is not meant simple confusion. By contradiction is not meant simple contradiction as well. Duncan insisted he’s not confused and even challenged me to show the inconsistencies in his ideas. The confusion is not simple and cannot be seen directly on the face of his article. The contradiction I am talking about is not directly manifested by the texts of his comments.
Thus, to Duncan— the contradiction in your comments is NOT textual but ideological. This is the reason why I said you’re confused, because the idea carried by the texts of your reply is littered with
so many contradictions. I was like you before, when I still thought my old ideology was the gospel of reason that must be taken by rational human beings. I was mistaken. I was confused, and most of my ideas were full of contradictions that I myself even failed to understand or decipher. It is ideological, but the flaws have been deeply entrenched in the nucleus of the ideology of yours that is effectively defeating your capacity to think rationally. I have made a correct conclusion that Duncan never read the rest of my
blogs and some of the books of Ayn Rand. He replied by saying “I don’t have time for her idealist nonsense. I have better things to do with my time, like live in the real world.”
My answer is how come you think you’re really right? I can’t imagine myself exchanging ideas with someone who is just basing his “conclusive opinion” on the excerpts of Ayn Rand’s works. It’s like debating with someone who has a very limited view of a particular issue like say, individualism versus collectivism. That is one contradiction itself. How can someone claim he’s got the most rational ideology on earth if he dogmatically refused to understand the ideas of other writers or intellectuals (I’m not referring to the intellectuals created by superstructures)?
Despite my disappointment, still I would like to answer Duncan. He said that there are people (obviously I and Ayn Rand are one of them) who “concern themselves with “inalienable” rights, handed down to us “humans” from some place or another.” He added by saying “They dream of an unregulated capitalist society where everyone has the “right” to pursue happiness as they see fit, and own property etc.”
The basis of Duncan’s premise is this very debatable statement— “The very idea of “rights” implies a society that is incapable of thought.”
Ayn Rand’s idea is not centered on the rights of every individual. That is also mine. To me, individual rights are the natural rights of man— that man has the right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Duncan argument is this— “For “rights” to be granted, there has to be a controlling entity to do the granting and there has to be something that needs “protecting”.” Such a statement is totally misplaced. My belief is that rights are never to be granted, since rights are innate, natural, and god-given to man. To answer this, it is important to go back to the history of mankind, which Duncan strongly disagreed because he believes it’s not necessary to learn something about history.
In fact Duncan even said “I don’t.” he said: “I don’t study the past, I like to look forward.” That is another contradiction. To understand the present one must understand the past. To anticipate the future, one must also understand the present. In summary, Duncan’s idea is the following:
1. That the idea of rights implies that society is incapable of thought.
2. That everybody is part of the collective.
3. That no one is an island.
4. That “laws” is, by the same token, an indicator that the society is
broken in some measure.
5. That Duncan and his ilk like to live.
Duncan said that rights do not have to be granted. In fact he even believes that Ayn Rand’s philosophy is centered on “granted rights”, which is totally wrong. I agree with him, but not in evaluation. In the entire history of man, the only country that “recognizes” individual rights is the United States of America, but it seems that the superpower nation is now sliding back to the dogs. Thus, the right word is not grant but recognize. It is recognition of individual rights because since the earliest civilization on earth, man’s rights were an unknown species despite the fact that some philosophers like Aristotle and John Locke gave so much insight about man and his rights.
The pharaohs of Egypt based their rule on the ruler’s absolute power— that the pharaohs had the right to kill their subjects if they wished to. Their power is based on mysticism, on the gods and the goddesses in that the rulers were considered children of Isis and Osiris.
The Caesars of the Roman Empire based their tremendous power on absolute rule. That they had the power and all rights to sacrifice their people to satisfy the ruler or for the glory of Rome. Then came the many empires in Europe that ruled with the blessing of the blood-thirsty Roman Catholic Church, which was another long era of mysticism. Many empires ruled using both force and faith. In fact several murderous Popes of the Catholic Church even sent the children of Europe to kill Muslims in Jerusalem on the guise of what they called the Holy Crusade. Then came the empires of the last century like Communist Russia, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Great Britain, and the Chrysanthemum Empire of Japan.
The rule of Russia’s communism was based on equality and the common good. That the greater good of the society is the paramount law. For the good of the country, every able men and women may be sent to war. This means there is no such thing as individual rights because the common good of the society is the sole determinant of all laws and rights. But the question is, who is the society, or who form the society? Is it not the individual men who have individual opinion, belief, whims, caprices, and prejudices?
Duncan, I’m sorry to say this, but you are one of the many people who would like to live but do
not know how. You believe you have the right to have a job, to live a better life, not to be oppressed by other people or even the government, etc., but you yourself and your wishes are effectively contradicted by the ideology you strongly believe in. When you said I’m part of the society and that no man is an island, Duncan, that doesn’t mean I wanted to live a hermit-like life. Individualism doesn’t mean isolation. It means you respect the existence and rights of others like the way you respect and protect yours. We only live once, Duncan, and we die once. What is there to live for when all rights and laws were already uprooted by one powerful collective block for what it deemed as the common good? You believe that society is capable of thought, is it? No, the idea of society is a big myth. Some people use the concept of society to enslave, sacrifice, control, and silence “man.” I know, Duncan, whoever you are, you are just one of the many people who really think they hold the right ideology or philosophy on earth. Their intention is good, but they are unaware that theirs is the ideology of death.
Their is the ideology or philosophy of death because while they believe they have the right to live and to exist, the very foundation upon which their ideology lies is the sacrifice of “man” to society. You may not know this, Duncan. You may shout to the world that this is not really the foundation of whatever ideology or philosophy to deeply believe in, but I tell you, you are unwittingly another “brick in the wall” of the kind of “society” you have deeply associated yourself.
That’s why I urge you to check your premise, to understand well the foundation upon which your idea in life is acutely based. Try to understand the premise of your ideology, where it leads to, and what its purpose is.
You rebuke Ayn Rand for being concerned with individual rights. I would like to tell you that the idea of individual rights is just the consequence of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. Duncan, again, you are one of the countless of human beings who deeply love the gift of life and yet refuse to understand life’s essential attributes. How you can say you wanted to live if you’re not concerned with you individual right? The man who preaches life but disregards the concept of man’s rights is actually preaching the gospel of death. The man who preaches that society is capable of thought and is actually more important than a single human being is actually preaching the gospel of self-sacrifice.
For the common good and national security, George Bush and his stupid Congress— Hillary and Obama are two of them— forced America’s children to war in order to kill the innocent children of a country that never threatened a single American.
Now you are talking of a society that is capable of thought? China is the best example of the kinds of society you’re talking about. China, ah, a society that is capable of thought, ruled by a group of so powerful collective block composed of few politicians. That single “society capable of thought” is more important than the rights of its billions of people. Perhaps, you already heard the case of Internet bloggers who are still missing up to these days for a crime punishable by that society you’re talking about. Their sin, perhaps, is the very virtue that is cherished by your own “society” or by other “moral societies” in the world. That sin or virtue is the truth. For telling the truth, of what is happening in China, these bloggers are now part of the rising number of desaparicidos (the disappeared) in the world’s most populous collective. You might be thinking ten disappeared people are just nothing compared to the ‘common good’ of over one billion thinking society.
You must remember this, how can a society protect thousands of its own people if it cannot even protect one single individual? Those thousands of demonstrators who peacefully protested in Tiananmen Square in 1989 were killed like sitting ducks. For the common good, the few politicians who ruled billions of stupid people in China had to slaughter these thousands of protesters. That is the kind of thinking society you are talking about, Duncan.
You are right when you said that every individual must interact with his fellow individual. What are we doing now, are we not interacting? That is the usual fallacy that some confused people thought of others like me. They easily give judgment that those who believe in the virtue of individualism are isolationist. I cherish friendship and people. But I do not want to associate with people who advocate for the ideology of death.
You really think communism and Bush’s Nazism and other bad “isms” like totalitarianism, fascism, and racism are different from each other? Actually they have so many things in common, and they are the following:
1. They are all based on the idea of collectivism;
2. They preach the idea of a greater society;
3. They are silent as to individual rights;
4. Their nourishment is patriotism;
5. Their virtue is self-sacrifice (e.g., common good, go to war for the sake of the nation or oil, abolition of private property for the sake of equality, etc.)
6. They all fool the people through the idea of common good, equality, prosperity, glory, etc.
7. Their goal is national prosperity by means of war and invasion, otherwise known as the plunder of nations;
8. The basis of their influence is the confusion of the people.
This is the reason why we have to be keen on individual rights. There are many ideologies that are either silent or strategically, tactically, and flawlessly negate, reject, or utterly abolish the idea of individual rights. They regard individual rights as the enemy of the society they earnestly and creatively try to project. For the living, for the people who really like to live, they must guard their individual rights with their own life. For what is there to live if such rights were successfully abolished by people of evil intent for the sake of what they call society that is capable of thought? People will be like slaves or living dead without such rights, like those who live in Myanmar and North Korea who never felt in their whole lives the glory of living with individual rights.
Really, if people wanted to live the life of a free man, their rights must be duly recognized and respected and never granted as what you tried to project. To live, man must use his rational judgment. There are many ideologies in the world today that add to the confusion of man. Indeed, tyrants succeed to continue with their reign in power not only because they are protected by the laws they create and the men who dutifully offered their lives for the common good, but mainly because of the confusion of men.
The best answer to your comments is now being shown by the signs in the world today. Just look around you, what is happening in some countries in the world, and you may find the answer. Sad to say, the ongoing ordeal of billions of people in North Korea, Myanmar, and China combined is attributable to their ancestors in the last century who failed to prevent the rise of a dangerous collective. Tyrants do rise because of people’s defective mindset. People’s defective ideology is the permissive cause of ruthless regimes.
I end this long reply with this poignant message from Ewen Cameron who worked for CIA’s MK-Ultra about half a century ago: “It is not simply against future conspiracies of evil men which we have to guard ourselves, but the weaknesses and faults in our social order, in our ways of living, against which we have to be on continual guard.”