Individual Liberty is the Key to a Free Society
Individual liberty is the concept that each person has value and inherent, natural rights that are be either bestowed by the creator or nature. These rights are not granted by any governing entity and therefore, cannot be taken away. The rights of each human being is equal to that of any other. The balance between one person’s freedom and another’s is called liberty. It is the ordered balance of freedom that states that one individual’s rights end where another one’s begins and that the rights of all individuals are equal.
Individual liberty is rare in world history and is still rare in the modern day. Most governing bodies around the world think of human rights as allowances that are granted by the government. In other words, people are born into life being ruled by whatever country they are born into, and it is by the grace of the government of that country that they have the rights that they are given. This philosophy negates the value of humanity and it it also ignores the equality of individuals, for the governing elite are the ones who have the power to decide who has what rights. As we know, these governing elitists always preserve the rights for themselves that they want.
In ancient time up through the 18th and 19th centuries, the primary form of government was autocracy, where a single leader or small group of leaders were the “chosen ones” who dictated the rights of the people who lived within their jurisdiction. In the modern era, many autocracies remain, and a new form of modernized totalitarianism populates much of the world. This new form of totalitarianism derives from the family of socialist governments, including socialism, fascism, and communism. These modern forms of autocracy hide behind the promise of equality for the people, but are always ruled by a small group of governing elitists who call themselves “servants” or even “saviors” of the people.
These forms of government do not look upon the people as a body of individuals, but rather a collective clump that is, in and of itself, a single entity of the ruled who are to be herded and controlled “for their own good.” In this way, the rulers promise utopia in that none of the people have more rights than any other. Yet, this is not true in that the elite who are in the government and their comrades in the media, arts, business, and entertainment are the ones who enjoy the wealth of the country while the masses are equally poor. In collectivism, there is no such thing as individuality, for this philosophy thinks of equality in terms of equal result, not equal opportunity. The people largely have equal rights in that they largely have very few of them.
The United States of America was founded with a new vision of equal opportunity and equal rights based on individual liberty. Every person was seen as having the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It was gravely unfortunate that this was not extended to African Americans at the time of the founding, but there were many who saw the ending of slavery as a future goal of the country. The greatness of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution should not be ruined by the fact that these documents and principles were not being observed by the founders. Their vision and their words in writing were greater than the reality of their lives at the time. Now, more than ever, we have evolved to a point where we should be realizing the full potential of the founders’ vision since we are now far more capable as a nation of living up to these ideals.
Unfortunately, the United States is not going in this direction. The United States of America is gradually heading down the path of socialism, in which individual liberty is slowly being eroded in favor of collectivism, in which the representatives of the people are becoming more and more like elitists rulers over the masses, who are becoming more and more burdened by an ever-growing centralized Federal government that is surmounting an enormous debt upon their shoulders. More and more, the people in the USA are being told by their rulers that they just need to give away more of their liberty, property, and money to the government for more and more broken promises of security and benefits. As the people work mroe and more to support a larger and larger government, we are finding that we are working more for the government and its promises than we are for ourselves and our own well-being.
The number of people who are dependent on the government giving them the fruits of the taxpayers’ labor is growing exponentially and the number of people working to support those who live off of them is shrinking. The promises of politicians and the assurance of more and more government being the solution of the ever growing amount of problems that the very same government creates is spiraling out of control. The same old promises of socialist utopia that have lured millions of people in other countries into the very same spiral toward widespread poverty is now happening in the United States. We are reaching a point at which there may be no return. We never truly tried the founders’ vision for this country, and the shadow of the old-world autocracy is looming large over the nation.
In a society where individual liberty is practiced, the human being has the opportunity for personal growth and is, as a result, far more productive, even for the whole of society. When one is simply a cog in the machinery of society, then one does not work with the same productivity, and the nation becomes a country of parasites feeding off of each one’s limited labor. No one is motivated, because no one is working for their own benefit. The great collective suffers as a result. Yet, the ruling elite does not suffer, and thus, such forms of government will always be the preference of the politician who has an eye on power. It is hard to campaign on promises when the society is already largely fulfilled. It is hard to get support in return for benefits and entitlements when the people can take care of themselves.
This is why most politicians do not like freedom nor the concept of individual liberty. The individual has a chance to pursue knowledge and embark on self-growth when he or she is allowed to think of himself or herself as an individual, rather than just a unit in the collective. If we wish to live fruitful lives, we need individual liberty.