Tag Archives: objectivism

Free Market Revolution

Amid the ire directed towards our government, our biggest corporate entities and each other, there are calls from all sides for dramatic change in the policies and politics of America. From TEA party activists, to Occupiers, to the weary long-time unemployed, there is a sense of urgency that something must change, and must change fast. Free Market Revolution is a hard and honest look at the current culture of dependency, the malaise of a once motivated people, and the events that have culminated in our current fiscal crises and ever growing discontent with a system that repeatedly fails to promote growth and prosperity… and offers the only credible and moral ( yes, I said moral) solution to our country’s woes.

In Free Market Revolution, Yaron Brook and Don Watkins break down the often repeated talking points that our current financial crises was caused by greed and deregulation. They speak factually and bluntly about the actual numbers of regulations that were added during the last and current Administration, and their roles in creating a recipe for guaranteed disaster in the housing market, the resulting credit and lending crises that has been fueling the greatest recession since the 1930s, as well the slowest recovery in modern history. The undeniable blame for the current business-killing climate is laid at the feet of big government and collective calls for more regulation, where it belongs.

Dispelled, is the myth that America operates under a capitalist, free market system and explained are the reasons why proponents of a purely free market have been incapable of offering a defense of capitalism that appeals to America as a whole: A moral case for capitalism as an economic system that creates opportunity, wealth, and security for all, without ignoring what the left has so effectively defined as “basic need” and “rights”. Critics of Ayn Rand, without fail, point to her lack of empathy for the poor as a means of demonizing a free market system. Capitalists have been unable to argue the emotional talking points and the morality argument presented by the left, giving way to even more cries for social safety nets and spending by the government to pay for those “basic needs”. Until now.

Free Market Revolution makes clear what capitalists, successful businessmen, and proponents of Ayn Rand’s free market ideas have always known: That the only moral economic system is one that allows for success or failure based on individual effort and self-interest. Yaron Brook and Don Watkins put forth the simple idea that an economy unfettered by overbearing regulation will stimulate innovation and regulate itself via competition and common sense. They handily dismiss the idea that all entrepreneurs and successful business owners are out to gain by nefarious means, and grant the reader the idea that working for your own prosperity is not only fundamentally human, but also fundamentally moral. It is time for supporters of a free market economy to point out that the free market has not existed in America and could not have caused our current fiscal crises. It is time to stop allowing people like Madoff to be the public image of corporate success, and time to stop granting merit to the idea that selfishness automatically means benefiting at the cost of another.

Free Market Revolution is a tool for free market capitalists. One that offers a logical argument to the more and more public and political shouts against free markets and cheers the morality of an economic system that should not need defending, but extolling. You can order your copy here!

Yaron Brook (@YaronBrook) is Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, and CNN.com, and appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, The Glenn Beck Show, On the Money, and Closing Bell, among others. A former finance professor at Santa Clara University, he is the co-writer with Don Watkins of a column on business and capitalism at Forbes.com

Don Watkins (@dwatkins3) is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and the co-writer with Yaron Brook of a column on business and capitalism at Forbes.com. He appears regularly on radio and TV, and his op-eds have appeared in such venues as Investor’s Business Daily, The Christian Science Monitor, FoxNews.com, and Forbes.

Capitalism: The Perpetual Economic Revolution

 

Capitalism has gotten a bum rap from self-styled revolutionaries for being a supposed class system of exploitation that serves the interests of an economic oligarchy. But this is a fundamental misreading of capitalism, and dismisses several indispensable assumptions about the market system that are difficult to swallow for both socialists and corporatists. Rather than reflecting an ossified pyramidal society, free market capitalism leads to a dynamic and even tumultuous system that tends towards equilibrium through the process Joseph Schumpeter described as “creative destruction.”

Capitalism was a term invented by Karl Marx to describe the market system of exchange described by classical political economists like Adam Smith and David Ricardo.  The term is heavily imbued with the notion that capital is a material object whose exchange objectifies and commoditizes the individuals engaged in the transaction.  It has powerful emotional appeal to those who resent physical labor and would rather philosophize about the meaning of life than pick up a shovel and build some  oft-lamented-for infrastructure. But the socialists’ pathos-driven ruminations don’t change the material realities of the economy, and the need to measure the scarce goods and services demanded by individuals who seek to use them as they see fit.

At this point, it should be fairly obvious that a market’s price system is both more transparent to the economic participants and more “democratic.” And just like in politics, democracy can be messy.

Imagine further how messy the capitalist process is if we consider tens of millions of people “voting” several times a day with their money,  and how maddening it is for firms to try to keep track of it all. Now think about the disposition of  politicians relegated to the economic sidelines to “referee,” but who actually have power at their disposal to get a piece of the action. And in a market economy, there’s a lot of action to get a piece of.

In developing markets, what the left refers to as “Wild West” economy, one can accumulate a sizable market share fairly quickly. At the advent of vast changes in technology, firms can also soon get in market-dominant positions. The temptation is great for firms to buy off politicians, who often need campaign cash in order to retain the perks of office. Simultaneously, the state’s power of taxation is a valuable tool of persuasion for politicians to bully companies who would rather concentrate on the market than Washington.

It is important here to note the prime mover in the relationship: state power. Various specific corporations seek to “capture” the government and use it to promote their ends because the government has the power and the popular permission to interfere in the economy.  If people deny politicians this permission to intercede, then the career choice for those who desire to stay in office becomes much simpler: Keep their hands off, let people work and thrive to the extent they can, and they will have a job after the next round of elections. Of course, this would deglamorize “public service,” and also significantly reduce the odds of mysteriously becoming a millionaire within a few years of coming into office.

The point is that capitalism itself, strictly defined, is unpopular with large corporations that want to protect market share and ensure easy revenue by excluding competitors, and with power-hungry statists and leftists who want the activity of millions of individuals to be bent towards what they deem fit.

Capitalism is messy, but stable; it continuously eliminates the imprudent and penalizes the invaluable, rewards the dynamic and the responsive, and remorselessly holds accountable both firms and consumers. It is a perpetual economic revolution whose ongoing release of energies through creation and destruction prevents the buildup of more violent revolutionary forces, which result from individuals’ frustration at being stymied by those perceived to be less worthy.

Currently, the Democrat-led government is attempting to recreate revolutionary potential through central bank-driven capital destruction and excessive regulation, while politicians or their proxies point their wagging fingers at Wall Street, as if the banks’ most rapacious actions occurred in a vacuum. Rather, the greatest theft in the history of the American republic was led, accompanied by Democrat cheers, by the U.S. government itself.

You can call state intervention into the economy anything you want. But please, don’t call it “democratic.”

Why Progressives Are Always Wrong

The Objectivist Ayn Rand wrote a lot about the Aristotelian Law of Identity – where A is A – and the associated (Platonic) “Law of Non-Contradiction,” where a thing must be what it is and it cannot be something else. Liberals believe in subjectivism, or solipsism, that way they don’t have to be held accountable by reality.

In the progressives’ world there is no such thing as contradiction – only “false choices.” One could even say that Marxist theory (based on Hegelian theory) wars against the notion of non-contradiction by posing that thesis and anti-thesis are united in a synthesis.

Yet things are not this way. Either there is objective reality or everything is as a dream, with no causation (like Hume argued) and no consequences (as the Frankfurt School would have us believe). It cannot be that there is a half-way objective reality and half-way a dream that are synthesized. Ontologically speaking, it is either one way or the other. Either there is a real world that exists independently of our minds that we perceive, or everything is an illusion of the mind. The latter alternative is impossible, because a universe cannot be the unity of one mind, the product of a self-generated illusion with no external causes. This idea is non-sensical.

Thus all progressive arguments, based on post-modernism, post-structuralism, subjectivism, intrinsicism, solipsism, radical skepticism, and pure idealism, rest on feet of clay because these ideologies’ ontological assumptions are simply wrong or even absurd.

Note: Occasionally you will get the pseudo-intellectual who holds up the Wave-Particle Theory of Light as an example of how the Law of Non-Contradiction is incorrect. Yet light is a phenomenon that we perceive in a distinctly human fashion; we receive and interpret sense-data using our eyes. Our minds thus use concepts to describe the sense-data we refer to as “light.”

But even if we explain light’s behavior as exhibiting characteristics of a wave in some circumstances and as a particle in other circumstances, we should not conclude that light is both two different phenomena at the same time – simply because our apprehension of its behavior at the sub-atomic level is only indirectly observable and not fully understood. Ultra-violet and infra-red light are not directly perceivable, but since some physicists’ rationality indicated to them that these types of light must exist (in the wave spectrum) they invented instruments to detect these other wave-lengths.

An excellent supplementary example of how rationality can guide our interpretation of sense-data, and actually our discovery of new forms of sense-data, is the history of the concept of the atom. The idea that material reality is composed of miniscule discrete units was first formulated in ancient Greece by Leucippus and his student Democritus. The concept of the atom was confirmed empirically much later using electron microscopes.

The formulation of the related concept of the molecule was developed in the early 19th century by such physicists as Avogadro.The structure of molecules was later confirmed empirically by the “evil” corporation IBM.

What led to real progress is the acknowledgment that there is an objective reality by such men as Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Francis Bacon. Their pioneering in the philosophy of science fostered a neo-Aristotelian scientific revolution whose tangible benefits we are still reaping today, and whose base ontological assumptions the political left directly war against. The way to preserve the legacy and the ideological integrity of Western Civilization is to understand and appreciate its philosophical and cultural heritage.

The Nature of Reason: Crucial to Saving the Republic

Americans can be divided into two main factions, conservatives and progressives, who are vying for the soul of the republic. On each side of the highly contentious issues facing this country, these factions have opposing views of what is “reasonable.” Grasping this fundamental issue of philosophy is crucial to preventing the dissipation and destruction of our Constitutional republic.

On the issue of reason, many conservatives look to the founding, which was based on an Enlightenment view rooted in Aristotelian philosophy. Leftists are irrational in the sense they do not believe in the Aristotelian view of reason, but rather argue that reason is determined by “discourse.”

The leftist program itself is specifically destructive of reason through its denial of objective reality and its embrace of Hegelian and Marxist dialectical philosophy. It is thus no exaggeration to call much of modern leftism solipsistic.

But there is another faction to consider: the “moderates” who view themselves as “reasonable” in the sense that they wish to avoid extremes. Many self-described “independents” seek to extricate themselves from the political conflict by not taking sides, while others simply feel that the “reasonable” view is not represented at all.

Reason, in the Enlightenment sense, can be seen as a faculty of the human mind that one uses to determine truth based on logic, evidence, and history. This view of reason can roughly be termed the “Aristotelian view” of reason, due to the great thinker’s codification of logic, his argument that objective reality exists independently of the mind, and the law of identity, which effectively states that A = A.

The primary philosophical rival of Aristotle, according to most accounts, was his teacher Plato. Plato used the ancient form of dialectics, meaning the ascertainment of truth by argument, most famously employed by the philosopher Socrates. The Socratic dialogues show his interrogation of the “sophists,” those who cynically manipulated the language to justify any position. Socrates, who was nicknamed the “gadfly” of Athens, was famously executed for his challenging of tradition and religion.

While Plato’s collectivist view of the ideal “Republic” prefigures communism, Plato’s view of attempting to ascertain truth by dialogue and questioning should not be seen as the antithesis of Aristotle’s method. The starkest contrast for both Aristotle and Plato are the sophists, who are emblematic of civilizational decline as manifested by their abuse of language.

One of the clearest illustrations of how the deterioration of language leads to stasis or revolution and chaos is ThucydidesThe History of the Peloponnesian War. In this first “modern” history, Pericles is the demagogue who manipulates the Athenian mob into continuing the war against Sparta, despite the Athenians‘ decimation by plague. Later, in the ultimate sign of hubris, the Athenians are persuaded into launching a disastrous expedition to Sicily, where they are promptly routed by the Syracusans and the Spartans.

Such we can see in ancient history the theme of Aristotle as the elucidator of reason as a human faculty capable of knowing objective reality, Plato as the expositor of reason as discourse, and the sophists as the propagators of anti-reason. Logos in ancient Greek means not only reason, but language. By implication, the destruction of language is the destruction of reason.

The Romans borrowed heavily from the ancient Greeks and applied the Aristotelian view of reason to make great strides in law and engineering. After the Roman empire collapsed in the West, the Europeans fell into a period of superstition and obscurity, known popularly as the “Dark Ages.” While many challenge that there was such a period of civilizational stagnation in Europe, they are merely bridling at the implication that collectivism is a dysfunctional political and societal ordering principle. But the proof is in the pudding – the Roman achievements in engineering, law, and literature still stand, and post-Roman Europe, up to around the tenth century, is a rabble of disconnected artifacts.

The rediscovery of Aristotle by scholastic thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas paved the way for the scientific revolution of the sixteenth century. Since that period, men began to systematically question and sweep away the dogmas of the day, the human mind again being seen as an instrument of observing and making sense of objective reality. The true leap forward in logic and empiricism ushered in astounding progress in the fields of astronomy, anatomy, chemistry, physics, and the natural sciences.

But in the spirit of skepticism inherent in the Enlightenment project of dismantling superstition and illogical beliefs lay a seed of anti-reason. In the newly found freedom of inquiry, intellectuals began to dismiss the logical and empirical foundations of scientific thinking and to attack reason and thinking itself.

The Romantic period can be seen as a transition in human thought from the Enlightenment conception of reason, rooted in an Aristotelian view of reality, to a new view of reason, one stressing reason as discourse and deliberation. Romanticism fed a desire by many to “escape from reason” and objective reality by retreating into sentimentalism, collectivism, mysticism, and tribalism. But it only presaged the eventual backlash and assault on reason that came with Frederic Nietzsche’s nihilism and the dialectics of Hegel, and his pupil, Karl Marx.

While Nietzsche can be seen as someone who sincerely desired to liberate the mind from ancient superstitions, including in his view, religion, ultimately he urged the “will to power” by those whom he called “the supermen,” and the creation of mythos to turn men back from the brink of self-destruction.

While Nietzsche can be seen as the modern “gadfly” of our age (although he was no fan of Socrates), it took Hegel and Marx to codify a systematic philosophy of anti-reason, which was ushered in by the great leveler of reason, Immanuel Kant. Kant built on David Hume‘s dismissal of causality as happenstance to compose destructive critiques of reason.

Immanuel Kant was admired by Hegel, and Kantian thinking turns up in several of Hegel’s passages. But Hegel’s adaptation of his rival Fichte’s dialectical reasoning was the symphony of destruction needed to undo the gains of the Enlightenment, both intellectually and politically.

Hegelian dialectics is a self-contained, self-referential philosophical system that in its simplest popular form means that “thesis and antithesis results in synthesis.” It is a view of human history and reality that is the obliteration of the Aristotelian law of identity, A = A, which is the touchstone of the founding philosopher of objectivism Ayn Rand.

It took Karl Marx to take the limitations of dialectics as a phenomenon of mind and instrumentalize it as a weapon to be put into practice by developing his key approach of “dialectical materialism.” Marx thus brought to fruit the teachings of the old master Hegel by “turning him right side up.” Hegel was a believer in the “unity of the particular and the universal” and a proponent of “freedom in the state.” In this way, he is a philosopher often credited with fathering the twentieth century left and right totalitarianisms of communism and fascism, respectively.

But Marx’s masterstroke, by reversing Hegel, was being able to make an argument that his dialectical materialism led to ultimate freedom from the state. Yet the application of Marxism, since it is a philosophy that is “free” from the objective reality of scarcity, leads itself to totalitarianism without any miraculous “redemption” at any unspecified point in the future. It is simply destruction: of reason, of economy, of society, all the way down.

In some ways, the structure of American government facilitated the traction of dialectical reason because the representative bodies were founded on deliberation and discourse. Freedom to debate truth in a marketplace of ideas led to the apprehension of the process of debating truth as reason itself. But reason is not about the process, it is about ascertaining truth as grounded in objective reality, with the assumption that there is such a thing as cause and effect.

A transitional thinker in the history of liberalism, and one who can be seen as a fulcrum in the shift from classical liberalism to modern liberalism is John Stuart Mill. Mill’s On Liberty, though a marvelous work in many regards, shows signs of the replacement of the Aristotelian view of reason with the view of reason as discourse and deliberation.

It is with the deep drive for liberty in the thinking of some Enlightenment philosophers that freedom begins to intellectually cannibalize itself through a focus more on language than on objective reality. “Freedom” becomes unhinged from the moorings of Aristotelian rationality and begins to embrace aspects of nihilism, leading to modern liberalism.

Within the modern liberal left developed left and right flanks, Marxism and progressivism, respectively, around the turn of the twentieth century. While Marxists were revolutionaries eager to destroy the “bourgeois” state and the prevailing capitalist economy, the progressives were incrementalists who sought to usher in the Hegelian triumph of the Idea.

The problem with Marxism is that though its program was perfectly destructive, its explanation of reality and history is simply wrong. It failed to predict spontaneous socialist revolutions in advanced capitalist states, and the cooperation of workers worldwide to break the horror of World War I. The “vulgar” sentiment of nationalism overwhelmed the workers and convinced the Marxists that their assessment of the power of socialism as an idea was mistaken.

This led to a resurgence of Hegel on the left, and an adoption of a program by leftists in the most advanced capitalist states to proceed with socialism, or more accurately, the destruction of capitalism, incrementally. This impetus gave birth to both Fabian socialists and neomarxists, the twin heads of the progressive program to transform capitalist societies; the economic and the ideal spheres of the New Left, respectively.

The New Left‘s program initially argued for a “Third Way” between radical Marxism and capitalism, which was only “reasonable” according to the synthetic logic employed by the left.

Since America, the land of the free, embraced the model of reason in government as deliberative discourse according to the “will of the people,” the creeping introduction of socialistic ideals led to a situation where capitalists, whose model of economy explicitly embraced an Aristotelian understanding of objective reality through scarcity, supply-and-demand, and the free operation of prices, were forced to “compromise” with the undoing of the system; that is, they had to introduce unreason and unreality into government and economy.

The earliest paragon of the “third way” between capitalism and socialism is best exemplified by Benito Mussolini. As Jonah Goldberg details in Liberal Fascism, Mussolini was a Marxist who opportunistically exploited rising Italian nationalism and the corporatism of Benedetto Croce to found a “mixed economy” where capitalism still existed, but property was owned and controlled by the state, while labor was directed by the state.

The justifications for the increasing power of the state was pioneered in the modern era by neomarxists, most notably those of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, such as the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci, and the Hungarian communist Gyorgy Lukacs.

The Frankfurt School, led by Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer, drew on the work of Hegel to develop sophisticated forms of propaganda that would erode capitalist and Christian societies and usher in their demise. Gramsci urged communists to penetrate every sphere of culture and use it to urge members of “democracies” to capture the state. Lukacs essentially codified ways to pervert the youth to rebel against Christianity.

The chaos and discontent of the late 1960s led to radicals seeking to specifically undo any reason that might be drawn upon to make sense of their destructive program and to head it off before it was too late. Many entered academia and began the project of codifying unreason. This was not only done through the teaching of Marx, but by the adaptation of Alinsky’s principles to teaching, specifically, speaking to one’s audience in the language the people will understand.

During this turbulent period, Cloward and Piven harnessed Gramscian theory to persuade the less well-off to make incessant demands on the welfare state, as established by the pseudo-fascist FDR and continued by Lyndon Johnson. Alinsky was a field general in organizing communities to make increasing demands on the system, propelling it to collapse.

Jurgen Habermas is a modern philosopher whose “intercommunicative rationality” has persuaded elites that discourse is reason. Subjectivism, as encapsulated in postmodernism, has stymied the penetration of evidence into the minds of leftists to provide counterfactuals and to illustrate the destructive nature of their worldview. Thomas Kuhn transformed science from the Popperian philosophy of science as the falsification of theory to the Kuhnian one based on “paradigms” and “consensus.” Kuhnian science can be demonstrated most readily by the incessant refrain from elites that the “debate is over” regarding the theory of anthropogenic global warming, which has been falsified six ways from Sunday by satellite data and other empirical evidence.

In such a view of the world as the elites now propagate, evil is not evil, good is not good, there is only the gray area that is “reality.” In this worldview, private property is negotiable, individual rights are expendable, and the Constitution is subject to “interpretation.”

The destruction of reason as a means to ascertain truth using logic and evidence is the destruction of the free society, which only exists in objective reality, not in the utopian constructs of the systematically unhinged mind.

The universities have become institutions of systematized insanity, factories for the training of unreasonable foot-soldiers who only know the refrain, “we want,” “we demand,” and “we have a right.” Whether those “rights” infringe on the fundamental rights of others is beyond their comprehension; to reason as such would be a destruction of their “have their cake and eat it too,” “that’s a false choice” mentality.

As George Orwell noted, “Political chaos is connected with the decay of language.” And the language of the left is not only decayed, it is twisted, manipulative, and perverse to its very core.

The full import of the argument of this article is that there is no reasoning with the elites currently directing American society and economy to its necessary destruction.

The elites have no need for the average American’s “common sense,” the logic and fact-based reason of conservative spokesmen, or the demonstrable history of republics that descend into democratic chaos and ultimately, tyranny.

There is literally no traction for truth based in reality in the minds of elites, there is only their innate drive for power, influence, and the admiration of their elite peers. Their scorn of tea party activists is predictable, and their inability to see how the statist program they view as a “reasonable mix of capitalism mixed with socialism” (or “mixed economy”) undermines the freedom that is the foundation of their worldview is intellectually ingrained.

Those who see reason as “discourse,” those self-described moderates and independents, cannot be persuaded by moderation itself, but by a forceful articulation of the antithesis of the left’s ideas, not only on the basis of the substance of particular issues, but on that of the fundamental approach to government-individual relations as articulated by the Constitution as framed by a proper understanding of reason.

The Constitution is the best known political guideline for society not because it implies a philosophy that we desire to be true, but one that simply is true. The success of the United States, far from being the result of injustice, was due to the proper understanding of reason and reality by the founders as applied to the framing of the Constitution.

Only those who are strict adherents to the Constitution, therefore, must be elected. Whether or not we can save ourselves from the element of “reason as discourse,” which is eroding the fundamental individual rights of life, liberty, and private property, is very much in doubt.

Increasing numbers of moderates, however, are slowly being persuaded through living evidence of the error of the “third way” of economics; though the Marxists, who are intent on destruction as they carry out their demented plan of “liberation,” will only push harder.

Armed with the truth and the proper understanding of reason and reality, we can bring to bear the best possible defense of our republic. Only by showing and displaying to the moderates and independents the light of reason can we possibly hope to realign the aims of on an increasingly tyrannical government with the constraints of objective reality; this would do much to lighten the burden on those who bear the costs of ignorance.

We, the Steadfast Guardians of Liberty

Everywhere around us it appears the ties that bind us together as Americans are unraveling. The value of freedom that formed us as a people and provided us with unity of purpose, and consequentially allowed for civil and sensible national discourse, has been utterly severed. We now discuss to what extent we must enslave our fellow man to our most capricious of desires; and we plot to what degree we will ruin the nation through unchecked debt born of disregard for consequence.

What is lacking in our Constitutional republic is any sound notion of rights; due to the self-serving immediacy of our capacious desires and through our utter confounding of democracy and freedom we have sacrificed our children on the altar of expediency. By majority rule we have selected our oppressors, who heave our wealth into the ever-gaping chasm of want and idleness; and meanwhile, our politicians with earnest displays of self-aggrandizing pomposity claim credit for siphoning off our sweat and tears and blood in which to baptize their party faithful.

With mock sobriety and solemn buffoonery, our alleged field generals in government are marching us towards the abyss. All the while they serenade us to The Battle Hymn of the Republic, a song to which half of them trek us scattershot around the globe and to which the other half have forgotten the words. Whereas the former contingent implores us to fly to arms against vicious, ubiquitous enemies intent on depriving us of our rights, a cause for which we are to sacrifice our sacred freedoms, the latter faithlessly clamor for us to unify with the entire world, including with petty despotisms that would use such an overgenerous pretense to effectively destroy us.

Honor and integrity being as foreign to the paper-pushing tyrants who inhabit the halls of government as the contrived values of the world’s tyrannies are to the majority of Americans, we should probe the ultimate source for our burgeoning oppression. One thing is for certain — we did not survive the darkest periods of human history as a free country to be yoked under by the likes of the two-bit charlatans and slipshod masterminds who currently feign to knuckle us under.

What is essential in our liberation is therefore the promulgation of a proper understanding of rights. This will provide us with the moral clarity with which to decipher the conniving sophistries of our would-be rulers. Rights are ineluctably individual and not contingent upon the accidents of nature, such as skin color, place of birth, or sexual disposition. Such qualifications make a mockery of the legal concept of rights and devolve them merely into state-granted privileges. False conceptions of rights, often flown under the banners of high-sounding euphemisms like “civil rights,” do not put conditions upon government, where the onus properly belongs; but rather put conditions upon our individual rights, which are already due us under the auspices of freedom.

More controversially for those already receptive to such argumentation, and hopefully not an irreparable division between those of us who are already individual rights advocates, in route to reaching a properly arrived at consensus, is the source for our rights. While the Founders and those who properly revere them argue that our inalienable rights emanate from God or a Creator, this is not necessarily the case. Counter-intuitively for many, and argued with full awareness of the religious revulsion that such a statement might provoke, rights can be objectively derived from the true aspects of reality, human nature, and life itself.

While the rightfully religious might find such a claim heretical, and those who adhere to pragmatic democracy as a form of government might find this dogmatic, the reasoning for such a position is logical, straightforward, and absolutely conducive to religious observance and practice.  No less a mind than Thomas Aquinas’ found that Nature was an expression of God’s will; and therefore, we may observe that which we deem as destructive and deadly fully accords with a common understanding of evil, and that which is creative, productive, and life-sustaining is likewise of good. Such a rational breakdown is crucial to a proper understanding of rights and justice in society.

Property is indispensable to the condition of liberty, which is the right to lead our own lives. Being born into this world as co-equal human beings, essentially  rational creatures, we must have the freedom to exercise our faculties in order to be human and thus to achieve happiness. We are not born into a condition of being owned by society or government; this is an affront to reason and morality. What should bind us together as a people is a reverence for life: its creation, furtherance, and promotion. And life cannot be protected or preserved without individual rights or a charitable disposition, the latter being nurtured by a just religion.

Some may appeal to a supernatural defense of our rights in the face of government, as a totem to ward off the enemies of freedom. But oppressors do not hold any regard for such intangible warnings, as real or unreal as they may be. What is essential to understand is that the proper counterweight to government force is popular force; whether prayer animates that force or a self-aware enough regard for one’s rights to vigorously uphold property, liberty, and life in society is inconsequential to the state. After all, the God of the Old Testament mobilized men to take action against their oppressors, whether by flight or by war. It was action that saved the Israelites, not idle prayer.

Thus, while an allowance for religiosity is completely acknowledged as being utterly indispensable to a free republic, the safeguarding of our rights must not rest on an appeal to an invisible protector. Millions of people in the past appealed to such a God without effective and expedient mobilization to action and were nonetheless enslaved and even slaughtered without worldly recourse. We must not relegate justice in this world to resolution in the afterworld. We must uphold what is right in the here-and-now and be the steadfast guardians of our own liberty.

Kyle Becker blogs at RogueGovernment, and can be followed on Twitter as @RogueOperator1. He writes freelance for several publications, including American Thinker, and is a regular commentator on the late night talk show TB-TV.