THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 144, October 22, 2001
I Hear America Dying
A Foolish War - Part One: The War of 'We'
by Keith Shugarts
Special to TLE
"Freedom through Strength and Unity" - seen written on a banner overhanging Route 66 East going into Washington, DC.
With supreme arrogance, the President of the United States strolls to the podium to address the assembled scribes and sycophants. The President speaks with the assured confidence of being able to define right and justice and without the need to accept responsibility for actions past. All the while, individuals are compelled to fall upon bended knee in supplication to ask for individual rights and liberties to be restored to them, to be able to protect themselves without the need of an omnipresent and omniscient state. The President speaks through parsing lips of freedom, yet it is not individual freedom that the President is worried about, the President is worried about the freedom of the group, the freedom of the collective, the freedom of the We.
Robert LeFevre, writing in one of his essays states, "that man owns himself and may never with propriety, own another human being". If this is true, then how can the President of the United States order other individuals to obey his orders? If man owns himself then is he not subject to his own council and decision making and not that of the President, any member of government, or anyone? If freedom is to be defended, as the President suggests, then should not every individual in the country be free to make their own decision concerning not only the persecution of this war and their own participation in it, but also individual foreign policy, and other matters of concern? Since neither of these questions can be answered to the positive concerning the freedom of the individual, then the President must be speaking of defending the freedom of another. That other would be the group, the collective, the We. By denying an individual the freedom to defend himself, the government denies the individual ownership of himself and instead makes him a ward of the state, essentially owned by the state.
Further illustrating this point, I choose the words of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld is speaking before the assembled multitude of propagandists that passes for the American media on those broadly defined terrorists said, "We will not change the way we will, we will change the way they live." Later in that same briefing he said, "They want to chase American values from the World". This is a man speaking of the freedom of the group to act, the freedom of the collective.
It is the words the collective uses; we, us, they, them, our. These words have polluted even libertarian thought look at the use of we amongst the words of liberty and see how it is co-opted to speak for the group in the disguise of an individual. We infers total acceptance without debate or remark, without disagreement. Yet, as all these people speak of We, they do not speak for me. They pretend the arrogance of unanimous consent and approval where none exists.
Mr. Colonessi, in his letter to the editor of The Libertarian Enterprise, as well as others beseech the government to return to them legitimate freedoms and liberties. Mr. Colonessi wishes the government would end the War on Drugs and return to individual citizens the right to protect themselves through the carrying of arms. Others ask to be allowed to decide for themselves their own foreign policy rather than being compelled and coerced to follow the we, the group. Pilots asked to be allowed to carry side arms on planes they were denied. They were denied by their Union. Their Union, a collective, a We. Yet all the measures taken by the United States government, the rulers of the collective, are group protections, are protections designed to allow greater freedom for the group while denying those of the individuals. The strength of the state is allowed to grow unchecked with the cheering fury of most of the collective We.
The We, acting through the government, needs to deny the individual, the I, the ability to protect themselves or there would be no need for the government. The We denies the individual weapons with the idea that harm may come to someone. The We denies the individual the ability to protect themselves against plague and bacterium by denying them easy access to antibiotics on the idea that the individual is not intelligent enough to practice restraint even with the fear-mongering propagandists acting as the media. The We again denies the individual knowledge, preferring instead to keep the individual in the dark and deny them the ability to protect themselves with knowledge. The We denies the individual the ability to act as a sovereign person by denying him his inalienable rights, liberties, and freedoms to be able to act for himself and instead insists that the individual acts with the We, if only with the support of stolen tax dollars.
The individual is damned in this war, and has been for a long while now. This collective action grows from the very majoritarian democracy that rules over this land the despotism of 50.00001% ruling over the other 49.999999%. (For an alternative look to L. Neil Smith's A New Covenant). Each collection of We wishing to impose their will upon another, burying the individual, the I and Me under their collective desires. Each collection of We wanting to impose the desires to see their schemes and wishes fulfilled upon the backs of the I and Me. The same aggression that the collective looses upon these broadly defined terrorists is also used against the I and Me as suggested by Robert LeFevre in his essay Aggression is Wrong when he says, "Governments, by their nature are invariably agencies of aggression. This is our excuse for having them; they can be employed against the 'other fellow' to compel him to provide the money for our schemes, to compel him to do or not to do in accordance with our wishes."
Freedom through Strength and Unity sounds eerily like Arbeit Macht Ihr Frei and defines the ideals of the War of We.