The Origin of ‘Cult of Personality’
If one is to advocate free market capitalism, one must understand not only the basic foundations of this political and economic system (e.g., individual rights, rule of law, limited government, and economic freedom), but also the difference in strategies, style and mentality between the pro-capitalist camp and the pro-socialist mob.
Who were the true, genuine advocates of free market capitalism and how did they promote and spread their advocacy and ideas? The champions of this political ideology and system were Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Henry Hazlitt, F. Hayek, and Adam Smith. In promoting the ideology of capitalism and the virtue and value of freedom and individual rights, these advocates of free market system spent most of their lives studying and understanding not merely the basic principles of capitalism, but most primarily the nature of man in relation to existence or reality. All of them understood that capitalism is a vital, fundamental condition of man’s existence on earth. Just as man needs “rights” and “freedoms” in order to exist and live as a dignified, free human being on earth, so he needs a political entity called “government”, the only proper role of which is to protect his rights and to guarantee economic freedom and free trade.
All of them focused on the basic issues concerning man’s survival on earth. Capitalism is just a political and economic tool for man’s proper and dignified existence. They understood that property rights, economic freedom, intellectual property rights, and the protection by the government of trade and contracts are the fundamental institutions of capitalism and the pillars of a free and prosperous society. But how did Ayn Rand, Mises, Hazlitt, and Smith promoted their pro-capitalist, pro-freedom ideas? Unlike the socialist and communist intellectuals in the past century, these true defenders of capitalism never relied on and used iconography, heavy political slogans and acronyms, hymns, among others to promote their advocacy.
Now, how do we distinguish between a true political philosophy (e.g., capitalism) and a political platform (programs of a ‘potential’ political party or pressure group)? I offer the following as guidelines:
1. The use of iconography. No advocates of free market capitalism (e.g. Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, Adam Smith, etc.) ever used or endorsed the use of a specific political icon or logo. Any alleged political advocacy/philosophy represented by a logo or an icon is, in reality and in fact, a political platform or a political pressure group.
2. The use of acronyms. No advocates of capitalism ever used or employed acronyms to describe their political ideas. Political acronyms (e.g., BAYAN, AKBAYAN, BAYAN MUNA, CoRRECT™, etc.) are usually used by political parties, organizations and advocacy and pressure groups that tend to influence the government and the people.
3. The use of political slogans. No advocates of capitalism ever used or endorsed the use of political slogans. They simply focused on ideas. Political parties are known for their clever, creative use of political slogans. Some of the most popular political slogans in history are FDR’s The New Deal, Mao Tse Tung’s Great Leap Forward, Ferdinan Marcos’s The New Society, and Barack Obama’s Yes We Can, among others.
4. The use of political hymns. No advocates of capitalism ever used or endorsed the use of political hymns. Only political parties, political groups, pressure groups, and political regimes are known for their creative, excessive use of political hymns as part of their indoctrination agenda. The communists are also known for using political hymns and songs.
5. An alleged, disguised political philosophy/advocacy is, in reality and in fact, a political platform if it merely promotes superficial reforms and ideas. True advocates of capitalism (e.g. Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, Adam Smith, etc.) primarily focused on the basics and the foundation of the system. For instance, Ayn Rand focused on the morality of capitalism, the nature of government, the proper concept of rights; Mises focused on the economic foundation of capitalism; while Smith focused on the system’s political and economic concepts. Thus, you may know that an alleged, disguised pro-capitalist advocacy is indeed a political platform if merely targets superficial issues like economic liberalization, change in the form of government, removal of protectionist policies, etc.
Now take for example the curious case of an infinitesimal political farcical advocacy group in the Philippines called the CoRRECT™ movement that is being pushed by a pseudo-intellectual. Take a closer look at the movement’s logo below. Apart from beaming the iconic “star” of the Philippine flag and the dominant check mark, the logo is visibly concertized by one particular domineering letter: the Letter “O”. I believe this is not merely incidental. What is very much obvious is that this logo was deliberately designed to emphasize and advertise not merely the alleged advocacy of this new political movement, but also the man behind the movement. Indeed, this tells us something about an orchestrated, deliberate attempt to build a “cult of personality” around the empty abyss of the symbolic letter “O”. To make it clearer, let me borrow the statement of Pajama TV host Bill Whittle. I’m going to substitute “O for Obama” with “O for the CoRRECT™’s founder”.
“Now we come to the gold standard. From the pure design standpoint I always find this to be a little infantile, but the fact is, it’s a classic. Plowed fields of green under the sunrise of a new tomorrow all in the shape of the ‘O’. O for the [CoRRECT™’s founder] of course, but also ‘O’ for the One. The circle, complete, and self-contained. Sunrise in prosperity within the circle of life and outside it nothing but barren emptiness.”
Sounds familiar? Of course! This is how a cult of personality begins.