LIVING OUT OF THE BOX — PART 2

Found the above at Political Irony’s Rugged Individualism and Self-reliance in the Welfare State. Although Liberals fashion themselves as the protectors of individual liberty, they abhor the idea of rugged individualism. If Alaskans are paying for the welfare state, should their leaders refuse the money? Would that make Liberals happy?

This post continues where Part 1, Why Do We Think Inside The Box?, left off.

How Do We Escape The Box?

How do we escape the box? How do we obtain release from needless captivity to conventional wisdom? I do not know. Because thinking outside the box involves thinking for ourselves, there is no simple formula one person can provide everyone else. What WE can do, however, is free each other from the endless nursery of the nanny state.

Recollecting Rugged Individualism

The battle over individual rights is as old as man. That is, some men have always desired collectivism, the supremacy of the group, and some individuals have always resisted such tyranny. What has made the United States unique amongst other nations is the extent to which the people of this nation supported individual liberty over collectivism.

In 1928, just before the beginning of the Great Depression, Herbert Hoover made a speech, the closing speech of his 1928 presidential campaign. In his speech, Hoover used the expression “rugged individualism.” Here is how that expression is defined in the Cultural Dictionary at Dictionary.com.

rugged individualism

The belief that all individuals, or nearly all individuals, can succeed on their own and that government help for people should be minimal. The phrase is often associated with policies of the Republican party and was widely used by the Republican president Herbert Hoover. The phrase was later used in scorn by the Democratic presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman to refer to the disasters of Hoover’s administration, during which the stock market Crash of 1929 occurred and the Great Depression began.

What did Hoover say that deserved so much scorn? Here is a link to Hoover’s speech. What Hoover’s speech reveals is that even before the onset of the Great Depression, Democrats had prepared themselves to grasp control. Here is how one of the current generation of Democrats explained his reaction to our current economic woes.

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.Rahm Emanuel (quote from here)

Hoover’s speech is often juxtaposed with Roosevelt’s 1932 “Forgotten Man” speech.  Yet, when confronted with the Great Depression, Hoover did not actually implement policies that favored rugged individualism (see THE WAY OUT OF THE NEXT GREAT DEPRESSION). Rugged individualism requires that we each take responsibility for our own actions. In the wake of stock market collapse, the Hoover administration raised taxes. That included tariffs to protect domestic producers. Instead of reducing the size and the burden of government, Hoover increased the burden. Later, using the forgotten man as an excuse, Roosevelt grandly increased that burden. Therefore, the Great Depression deepened and lingered, and we were left with a great irony. Because so few actually read it, a speech promoting individual liberty, Hoover’s speech, is now used to deride it.

Although Democrats have confined Hoover to the dustbin of history, the battle for individual liberty continues. Conservatives do not look back to Hoover as a hero. Instead, we uphold the memory of Ronald Reagan. What we must also remember is why the Left so detested Reagan (see Essay: The Rugged Individual Rides Again); it is the same reason they despise Hoover.

Liberals glory in the unity of everyone marching in lockstep. They perceive the power; they ignore the cost. So they rewrite history, warp the Constitution, and banish the Bible to irrelevance. They deny any possibility that charity is a personal responsibility and not the duty of government. They allow no truth that refutes the need for an overpowering collective will.

How Do We Find The Truth?

To think outside the box requires a desire to know that exceeds our fears and our laziness. Courage and hard work does not make a man pretty, but it does make him rugged. When we become a rugged individualist, we become capable of thinking for ourself. Then we can accept personal responsibility for our own education. Then we can take up the pursuit of wisdom. Instead of merely imbibing what others would have us believe about religion, history, science, and so many other subjects, we can go to the source.

If we want to know what the Bible says about Jesus, we read the Bible. If we want to know what the Founders believed, we read what they wrote. If we want to know what little we know about God’s creations, we can study science.

If we suspect we are creations of God, then we must seek to know about God and His purpose for us. If we are Christians, then our object must be to live as victorious Christians.

In his book, Spiritual Fathers, Dan Schaffer speaks of life as a process. No Christian begins that process as perfect, but perfection is the goal.

Victorious Christian living is not perfection. It is not following the proscribed faultless life pattern. Victorious Christian living is entering the battle and never turning back. It’s important to understand that God has called us to be committed to him. All we have to do is hang on to him and stay in the process. Without that commitment we’re not going to persevere and experience the blessing of the victorious Christian life. (from Spiritual Fathers – Restoring the Reproductive Church by Dan Schaffer)

As rugged individualists we do not abandon each other. We do not put self before duty. Instead of having it imposed upon us by the will of the collective, we willingly accept responsibility.  

In Spiritual Fathers, Schaffer tells the story of two men struggling together to defeat a man-eating African lion. The roaring beast surprises them. The beast overwhelms the hunter, the only man with a gun. The tracker does not run; he reacts by attacking the lion with a mere spear. The beast promptly takes him down. Nonetheless, the hunter recovers. Unable to find his gun, he grabs the fallen spear and drives it into the lion, killing it.

When each man might have run to save his own life, each chose to stay and fight. Because of their loyalty to each other and their personal sense of honor, these men defeated a lion that would have kill either of them had he stood alone. What bonded these two together — and their courage — no government program can replicate.

The above cartoon is from the post James Aronson Award For Social Justice, at Informed Consent. Apparently, Liberals consider rugged individualism stupid.

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