The Importance of Individual Freedom   Leave a comment

The song goes, “I am a child of God.”

Not, “We are a group of children of God.”

Why?

Why does the individual and his/her power to choose, matter so much?

I have been thinking a lot about what individual liberty and responsibility mean, since this Nov. 6th election, and have come to the conclusion that many Americans must fear individual freedom.  And I’ve been thinking about Ayn Rand.  Did you ever read “Anthem” –the novel in which people don’t know the word “I” anymore?

For all the positive effects of having a united society and a cooperative spirit, there is a dark side to collective and cooperative movements.  But some fear the responsibility that comes with freedom, so much that they choose to give away their own autonomy in the attempt to gain security (in the form of government handouts, whether of money or of “we know best” life planning handouts, such as the managed workforce that our education system is becoming).  They choose the collective responsibility over the individual responsibility.  But this ultimately crushes the individual.  People need freedom like they need air to breathe, but they are also afraid to be free because they don’t want to be responsible for the consequences of their own decisions.  They willingly give up this precious, hard-won prize, believing the lies of those who hope to control them.

It’s like a prisoner who is released from jail but returns deliberately, because he fears the unknown more than he fears jail.  It’s like the abused wife who returns to her control freak husband because she fears the emotional or financial realities of independence.  They should be stronger than this!  They should shoulder the burden and the joy of freedom from oppression and overregulation!

By buying into socialism, collectivism, communism (and even the educational movement of nationalizing education, common core)  we reject choice and local accountability; we are giving up true America.

   Ayn Rand’s book, Anthem tells of a world in which the concept of individuality and the word “I” do not exist.

Everything is “we” and everything is common.  The individual does not matter; only the collective matters.

Here is a quote from Anthem.

“The word “We” is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.

What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree and to obey?

But I am done with this creed of corruption.

I am done with the monster of “We,” the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.

And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.

This god, this one word:

“I.” 

―    Ayn Rand

What does this quote from this book have to do with Common Core?

Everything. When education is nationalized, when local control over schools is lost, when all major tests are standardized and nationalized, when standards must match from village to village and state to state (and from nation to nation, if the globalists get their way) then there is no individuality.  Freedom is lost.

And why are we buying it?  Why do we want to have common education rather than local autonomy and the freedom to set our own standards and innovate according to our local needs and desires?

Is freedom really so scary?  Scarier than losing it?

Consider these words on the subject, from another great man, Howard W. Hunter:

“What is the real cause of this trend toward the welfare state, toward more socialism? In the last analysis, in my judgment, it is personal unrighteousness. When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms. . . .

If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through “a democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” Both have last their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not,” lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift.

Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms which they have lost. Speeches of the Year 1965-1966, pp. 1-11, “The Law of the Harvest”, Devotional Address, Brigham Young University, 8 March 1966

“From my own experience in business and as a lawyer and church worker, and from my firsthand observations in this country and other countries of the world, there appears to me to be a trend to shift responsibility for life and its processes from the individual to the state. In this shift there is a basic violation of the law of the harvest, or the law of justice. The attitude of “something for nothing” is encouraged. The government is often looked to as the source of wealth. There is a feeling that the government should step in and take care of one’s needs, one’s emergencies, and one’s future. Just as my friend actually became a slave to his own ignorance and bad habits by refusing to accept the responsibility for his own education and moral growth, so, also, can an entire people be imperceptibly transferred from individuals, families, and communities to the federal government.”

Speeches of the Year 1965-1966, pp. 1-11, “The Law of the Harvest.” Devotional Address, Brigham Young University, 8 March 1966

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