What drives a culture to ruin is often not the explicit efforts of thought leaders within, but the implicit assumptions of regular folk. Bad ideas often lurk underneath the surface of public discourse, and like termites, render irreparable damage before they are identified.
Today we are getting the bill for our gradual abandonment of the idea of the sanctity of the individual. That ideal has largely been forsaken. From a country in which law was conceived as a means through which to secure individual rights, we have slouched toward law as a tool to enact every six-legged simpleton’s image of utopia. The reach of government has grown until one marvels at just how much we have each become an indistinguishable unit in a vast collective.
Explicit attacks on the individual at least have the virtue of honesty. A true socialist makes no bones about his/her intent to force others to comply. A true fascist’s propaganda differs, but his agenda is the same. And us? We have become soft and stupid, allowing the collectivists to gain entrance with a thin disguise. We look for a red headband or a hammer and sickle, and not seeing it, show the termites the way to the joists and rafters.
The house is about to fall.
We are our own masters. We are our own ends. We decide the standard of value for our lives. Will we continue to elect wood-hungry vermin? Will we continue to fall for the useless bromides of rotund insects gorging themselves on our homes, our work, our lives?
If you are genuinely puzzled right now, it is because you have not identified the ideas you do stand for. If you believe you own your own life, abandon all pretense otherwise. Assert yourself boldly. Forbid any other, no matter what his/her claim to authority, to dictate to you the terms of your life. Stand up and claim your birthright. Let the world know in no uncertain terms that what is yours by right will not be taken without a fight. Decide to be fully human.
If you are revolted right now, if your deepest sensibilities dictate a life of subservience to the collective, live that way. Just don’t pretend you don’t want to force the rest of us to go along. State your intentions forthrightly. Better a Maoist in the open than a termite in the shadows. When you come up against the growing multitude of people who will no longer acquiesce, then ask yourself just how much force you are willing to use. We think you’ll reconsider.