Clashing Visions: The Struggle Between Totalitarianism & Individual Freedom
The nation is being torn apart not by two competing visions, but by two mutually exclusive ones. Whereas conservatives and liberals once debated the alternative means of reaching the same end goal — the promotion and expansion of the American Dream — our country is now essentially divided over whether we should have a limited, Constitutional republic or an unfettered state with complete control over all aspects of human life.
We should all realize that the current discourse between supposed right and left is not a rehashing of the debates between the so-called Federalists and Anti-federalists that rent our country for decades. While it was legitimately and honestly debated by our Framers whether a stronger central government or a more directly democratic one would be the better guarantor of liberty, it was generally agreed that the protection of the individual from oppression was the foremost of the government’s duties.
What we now find expressed under the banner of one party is a toxic mixture of the worst elements of tyrannical aristocracy and democracy, two animating principles that feed on one another. The faction referring to itself as the Democrat Party is in fact the most anti-democratic in disposition of the two major parties. While this party is driven by fear of the people themselves ruling and directing the economy through free market capitalism, the constituents of the opposition party have enough trust in themselves and their fellow citizens to rely on self-government as the foundation for economy and society.
The nominal progressives who drive the Democrat Party fashion themselves as deriving their intellectual heritage from liberals, although the latter is indeed more akin to today’s conservatives in that they both share a heritage in classical liberalism. Progressives are driven in the extreme by their hostility to the uneven dispersive effects of capitalism, a fetish that leads them to cede all economic and social decision-making to the state. There can be no good, unless there is evenly distributed good, so they hold. Thereby, they eviscerate the entire concept of the good.
Unity, equality, and democracy may therefore be the stated goals of the Democrat Party, but what is glaringly missing in the narrative is a discussion of means. Forced unity is its goal, which entails overriding the autonomy, dignity, and worth of every individual. Forced equality is its aim, which conveniently provides the mandate to expropriate wealth, exploit the working class, and suppress all threats to the political class through the maintenance of mediocrity. Democracy is merely a means to an end; that is, it is a way of cashing in on the propagandistic media and education system’s program to persuade Americans to willingly give up their liberties.
Thus, while progressives may pose that they are truly democratic in that economic wealth is power, and therefore evenly distributing wealth is evenly distributing power, their thinking elides the flaw that channeling wealth through the government thereby becomes the true source of power. The power to give is the power to take away. The power to reward for political loyalty is the power to punish for political disloyalty.
The cardinal rule for all human systems is that human beings and their desires cannot be omitted. Presuming altruistic motives of all human beings under an imagined system is as fanciful as it is dangerous. And it is likewise intellectually fallacious to assume self-interest and the desire to live well, produce, and be compensated is tantamount to greed. Seizing unearned wealth and repressing competition and accountability is greed.
So it is with utmost suspicion and reserved condemnation that we should view the Democrat Party’s apparent quest to undermine all bases for self-government. It is a profound and sad truth that the more helpless people are, the more powerful the Democrat Party becomes. The more hopeless people become, the more they turn to a strong leader to fulfill their spiritual yearning. And while many Republicans turn to God, many Democrats turn to government as their god.
While it is tempting to charge the Democrat leadership with evil motives, the overwhelming majority of people do not aim to promote evil. What we must assume of most of the Democrat Party is a good faith effort to promote what is mistakenly held to be the good, while there is an increasing tendency in the party to ignore both the morality of means and the damage caused by its policy effects. Since the party has ceased appealing to reason and persuasion, instead resorting to ridicule and force, we must conclude that its members believe we can no longer even think, let alone govern ourselves.
The left mistakenly holds ends discordant of means and this drives it towards totalitarianism and the evil surely to result thereof. What is crucial for American conservatives to do is therefore disabuse our fellow men of empty values and to link noble ends to moral means in their minds. One way of fighting evil is to positively change the intellectual environment.