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Freedom vs. Government

In a relatively good article, by Edward W. Younkins entitled, "Aristotle: Ayn Rand's Acknowledged Teacher," published sometime in 2004, there is one paragraph that was particularly interesting to me, because it clearly illustrated a basic flaw in both Ayn Rand's and Aristotle's political philosophy.

That paragraph is the following: "For both Aristotle and Rand, the issue of how a person should live his life precedes the problem of how a community should be organized."

But, there is no, "problem of how a community should be organized." The problem is that all societies are comprised mostly individuals who have not solved the problem of, "how a person should live his life."

All political solutions are attempts to build brick buildings with rotting crumbling bricks. There is no method of producing a free society comprised of individuals who loath freedom, are incompetent, and are morally corrupt.

Even the success of the fictional Galt's Gulch depended on the hand-picked individual's who comprised it, not it's organization (which was little to none). The mistake of all political theory, including Ayn Rand's, is the baseless belief that human behavior can somehow be "managed" or "organized" by the imposition of some kind of force or system, which is based on the even more fallacious notion that one can change people.

There are no "political" solutions, minarchism and anarchism included. The problem is not the system or lack of one, the problem is the "stuff" societies are comprised of. There will always be government. Ayn Rand described the results of anarchy as the emergence of rival gangs of thugs. The Autonomist Notebook says, "When gangsters compete for territory, the winning gang is called the government."

Those who attribute the highest level of individual freedom ever achieved in any society in history to the American form of government, are partially correct. That freedom was not the result, however, of the form of government, which we still have without the freedom, it was the fact that there was so little of that government, and one other, much more significant fact. In the early years, most of the citizens in this country were self-sufficient, productive, individualistic, highly moral, and proud of their own achievement. They were that or they lived in poverty and died.

The phenomenal social and economic prosperity of early America is the result of what individuals did, not the system under which they did it. But, from the beginning, those free Americans were clamoring to throw away their freedom as fast as they could, mostly through local laws and ordinances that would eventually govern every aspect of every individual's life.

The biggest threats to individual liberty, with the exception of the tyranny of taxes and regulation of business, are not the federal government, but the local gangs, the municipal, county, and state governments. Between them all, federal and local, there is not a single freedom enjoyed by our free ancestors they have not regulated out of existence.

If it is truly freedom an individual seeks, they will not find it in any government, system, or organization. Freedom, like every other value, must be achieved by the individual who enjoys it. In the world today, that means in spite of government.

—(4/25/04)