Ten Mistakes— 10. You Cannot Save The World

What is generally meant by freedom, whenever philosophers, academics, or politicians use that word, is some social condition usually referred to as a, "free society," and almost everyone who argues for or promotes, "freedom," is actually promoting a kind of political system.

Freedom only pertains to individuals, not societies. Freedom is a necessity of life for human beings because, to live, they must be free to learn, and think and choose how to live. Only individual human beings have the necessity and ability to consciously choose their behavior. A society's, "behavior," is only the sum of the choices and actions of all the individuals that are that society.

The great mistake that most who seek freedom make is to believe their freedom depends on some social condition in which they will be free, and they spend all their time and effort attempting to produce a free society.

A "Free Society" Will Never Exist

In the article, "Free Society, The Unrealizable Ideal" I explained that almost every individual, organization, and institution promoting freedom is not actually promoting freedom at all, but some ideology, or movement, or program meant to change society (which always means politics) that will somehow result in, "freedom." In the article, "Freedom Methods that Won't Work," I explained why the methods cannot work, because they are all collective movements and nothing but individual effort to free one's self will ever provide an individual true freedom. In the article, "Ayn Rand's Mistake," I explained how even Rand made the mistake of attempting to change society by means of a movement that failed, because no movement or program will ever make a society free.

The Fundamental Mistake

The fundamental mistake is in the belief freedom is something one has a claim to just because they were born, as some kind of, "right." In an old article, "Individual Freedom," I wrote:

Two things:

1. It is immoral to not be as free as one can possibly be and every individual is morally responsible for establishing their own freedom.

I know that sounds like heresy. This will sound even worse:

2. No program, no campaign, no movement, no organization, party, campaign, or any other collective effort is going to establish freedom for anyone.

I know that most liberty minded people will disagree with both of these assertions and I have no intention of changing their minds. Those who disagree with the first point are usually those that believe freedom, or liberty, are theirs by some kind of, "right," just as some people believe education, health care, a job, food, and housing are theirs by some kind of right.

Those who believe that freedom or liberty is theirs, just because they were born, might like to ask themselves, sometime, why they have a right to anything they have not produced or earned by their own effort. They do not have to ask that question of course, and I'm not encouraging them to, it's only a suggestion.

I want to emphasize that the second point is not meant to discourage anyone from supporting or participating in any movement or program they believe may produce freedom. Again I suggest questions: How and when will the program you support be successful? Do you really expect it to result in your freedom during your lifetime? Again, no one has to ask themselves such questions, but they seem reasonable to me.

[NOTE: Those questions were the basis for the," Freedom Challenge."]

Others Cannot Be Changed

The only human being you have either the authority or ability to change is you. You have no authority or responsibility for anyone else's life or how they live. It would be wrong for you to interfere in anyone else's life, even for their own good, even if you could.

You really cannot change anyone else, because every individual has their own mind and must do their own thinking and choosing. It is possible to influence others, both positively, by appealing to their reason with good explanations, and negatively, by appealing to their irrational feelings, emotions, desires, superstitions, and fears or threats of coercion—but you cannot actually make anyone else think or choose what to believe against their will.

Only if another individual is willing to learn, and chooses to, might you be able to help an individual change their mind or views on some things, but even that must only be done using reason and never appealing to another's irrationalities.

Since you cannot even save another individual, you certainly aren't going to save any collection of individuals, like your family, neighbors, community, society, or the whole world.

What to remember:

You Cannot Change Others