Rebirth of Reason

Intellectual Ammunition

The Lullaby Yoke
by Manfred F. Schieder

"We live at a time when only the most essential questions deserve our attention."
(Bill Haydon in "The Mole", by John le Carré)
     A member of my family, of known collectivist leanings, once told me: "Do you think that I am satisfied that so many people stay worldwide in the most utter poverty? Don't you think that I'm against raising their living standard?" To which I replied: "Well, then you have to tell me why do you insist in adhering to political and economic ideologies that originate and sustain the economic and social stagnation that condemns so many people to live as paupers."
     She mumbled that she believed what collectivists promised and added that hunger and despair is the result of greedy capitalists grabbing all of the world's wealth while socialism, if it were only allowed to act, could easily remedy this situation. To my comment that people in industrialized countries do quite well and that, on top of it, what they produce do much to alleviate situations that would else be much worse than they are, she came back with the age-old conviction that rich countries are rich because they rob everything that poor countries have while poor countries are poor because…, oh, we know all that, for we've read and heard it for millions of times already from people who have done and do their utmost to spread their lullabies of hate against Capitalism, which actually doesn't exist yet but is the only economic way by which people reaches the level of what can only be termed as "a civilized human existence".
     I thought of what Marx himself had said in his "Communist Manifesto", of Capitalism increasing the wealth of the poor in the short time of 100 years, but found it useless to try to change the mental position of a person who wants to stay attached to wrong concepts. Anyway, I had merely touched the neuralgic point of every collectivist, the great internal contradiction that forbids connecting with the mechanics of well-being: the inherent desire to remain tied to the yoke of lullabies whispering the venom of its lies. Some people just don't want to understand that personal freedom, the personal push to better one's own life, learning, the acquisition of knowledge, the desire to solve existing problems, which frequently moves a given brain to produce an invention that allows to create more wealth for all people that benefit from the invention involved, is the mechanic to construct a high living standard.
     I thought of Josiah Wedgwood creating a white earthenware pottery for common use that the average person could buy at about a shilling a piece at the time Wedgwood found the way to make it, but collectivists are unmoved by any trend toward a better life. They dream of eliminating industrial society so they can return to what they fancy to have been the never existing pastoral times, a fable of poverty and darkness as the first photographs of rural life revealed. I am still waiting for some ardent Greeny to invent a new smashing and particularly economic device to tap energy power from nature, but John Galt's ingenuity and inventiveness seems to be in short supply among these people.
     The steadfast devotion to the premises of collectivism reveals a rejection of reality and an adherence to remain attached to fantastic visions. Thus, it shares with those who hold to religions the same psychological foundation: the wish to evade personal responsibility, the rejection to acquire a positive view of this one and only life we will have in all of eternity and the hope that something larger than ourselves and beyond the universe will provide the means of survival. A wish to return to the womb, where Ma cared for everything, is the unexpressed longing. Reality, continuously present, is despised as the destroyer of idyllic wishes. Professional deceivers, many of whom are subject to their own self-deception, use these generalized yearnings to reach their aims of power and wealth over their fellowmen. They compose the staff of religious and political collectivist officials. They adhere and represent the same ideology. They pursue the same aim of ruling the credulous citizen. Whenever they can't obtain voluntary adherence to their social and/or mystical desires they resort, for these and many other motives, to violence.
     But reality stays put. It refuses to be moved aside, and this produces a contradiction in terms and, as such, originates an unavoidable, necessary and unmovable opposition and conflict.
     The existing self-established authorities automatically took over the way of life typical for the irrational animals that preceded the newly evolved species of rational beings. As long as no clear conscience existed that rational beings require a different social framework from the way of life typical for irrational animals, these self-established authorities didn't find any or, at least, not much opposition, and, thus, had not much to fear. The majority of the population obeyed and whoever dared to raise his voice was quickly eliminated. Moreover, since the social environment required by rational beings was slow to develop - for evolution proceeds at a slow pace - the authoritarian position of the self-established authorities remained unchallenged. As a matter of fact, it continues to be so on the greatest part of the planet, particularly among those societies that are barely if at all civilized, though they would very much like to be considered as such. Still, slow as it might be, evolution steadily increased the brain's size and its relation to the organism where it is located, and this resulted in producing the situation when facts could no longer be concealed. The discovery of how to make fire and the invention of the wheel, the early rudiments of mathematics in Babylonia, Egypt, China, India and Greece, the first architectural efforts, the beginnings of surgery in Egypt, etc., the later crossing the border to develop what was to be named Renaissance, all this lead directly to the moment when in Virginia, about some 350 years ago, the idea, nay, even the concept of individuality started to be conceived and developed. As from there on, the challenge of the new kind of social environment against the age-old way of life became evident.
     This was the moment when the most advanced group of mankind would start the revolution against mysticism and herd existence. As history shows daily, we are now crossing a time of transition toward the coming stage of total individualization and the moment of the final face-up against those who still want to throttle the development of mankind and send it back to the state of far past beliefs and herd life will, as present developments show, become inescapable.
     The present resurgence of religions and further esoteric sects and the upsurge of the Islamic opposition against the modern world and its intention to crush it through unbound violence and an also unbound production of children are clear indicators that the individualization and the human rights inherent to the new type of society has been clearly recognized by those holding to an irrational way of life. They correctly view it as the disrupter that confronts the old habits that have since long lost any validity and use for the rational human being.
     The path towards full personal, responsible and productive freedom signifies a revolution against collectivist authoritarianism, collectivist authoritarianism being the mentality of societies that remain attached to the past, where groups of rulers accrued the benefits of wealth and power wrenched from a population held and treated as slaves and serfs obliged to support the dictators. This "traditional way of existence" is, thus, totally at loggerheads with the requirements of the in the meantime reached accretion of the minds that have developed through centuries what can only be called "the rational way of existence".
     Those that insist in keeping the old or traditional way of coexistence grab at anything at hand to keep their power or establish and expand their ruling, however criminally destructive and murderous it may be. Acts of terrorism, manslaughter and mass killings are, for them, acceptable means. Inventions for the betterment of human life and production are despised. These people are imbued with the mentality of the criminals, who are at heart antiwork and antilife. What is, thus, at stake becomes a matter of survival for the whole species, for were they to succeed, it would lead to the destruction of the developed nations first and, consequently, to the eradication of most of mankind and a return to the primitive for those remaining. But the reality of evolution itself can't accept such a situation, due to its implicit contradictions, for collectivism, the type of society inherited from our prehistoric past, operates on the basis of irrationality, the typical characteristic of pre-human species. The past times have been condemned and left behind by evolution itself. Once the brain grew to reach the level of rationality, the questions revealing the existing contradictions became too evident to be disregarded, for:
     1) If a man is obliged to maintain his next of kin with values identical to those he receives from his fellowman (who must live in accordance with the same premises), where's the sense of the interchange? If each one delivers the same that he receives, it would be an act of uselessness, even worsened by the fact of the entropy involved.
     2) If one receives more than he gives, we would face an act of charity, worsened by the fact that it would be made by obligation and not by free will. The act itself leads the receiver to a state of dependency and the giver to one of pauperism.
     3) If one receives less than what he gives, he would soon face the specter of physical, spiritual, intellectual, cultural or whatever else you may want to call it, impoverishment.
     On top of this comes the sheer fact that the evolutionary development of rationality, with its outcome of industry and well-being, cannot and will not coexist with the irrational.
     The reason why many people adhere to the doctrine of altruism, which is the basis of collectivism itself, resides in the belief that they will obtain, with less of their own effort, a surplus from those that produce more. To make sure that this condition remains everlasting, they either elect or, else, favor a government that declares to hold the same premises. Either through a voting procedure or by power grabbed by a given gang, the productive part of the population is milked (exploited is a much more precise word) through taxes, exacting laws, etc. The ruling gang takes hold of all the still existing benefits and, by throwing a few crumbs to the population who thought that the system would allow them to live from the wealth of the producing part of the community but was deceived in its expectations by the sheer facts, the rulers insure themselves of the loyalty and continued adherence of the general population. Most of the world's countries present a clear example of the foregoing.
     Of course, there's a great lump of ignorance and voluntary self-blinding involved, for the producers immediately become aware of what's being played at their expense. Thus, they apply the same premises and reduce their efforts to the barest minimum. Often they are even killed for not obeying the dictates of the tyrants but this, momentarily leaving the personal tragedies involved unconsidered, merely worsens the outcome, for the lowering of the production grinds to a total halt. Particularly where the altruistic premises become extreme, such as in Communism, the "envy" factor becomes so overwhelming, that all of the producers are physically eliminated and "production", taken over and ruled by government, turns into an indescribable chaos. Whatever may remain of the "market" runs underground, with all kinds of hooligans participating in this part of the system. The rulers, apart from also being involved themselves in the black market system, additionally resort to extortion and menaces. By terrorizing the freer countries of the world and by bribing government officials, etc., they obtain sustenance for a given time. The supply of grain, etc. by the United States to Soviet Russia, is a case that comes to mind. Mankind hasn't yet learned that prohibition is the fertile working ground for gangsterism. The era of "Prohibition" in the United States didn't eliminate alcohol but established "Cosa Nostra" as a cancer endangering the continued existence of the whole nation.
     The outcome of these kind of developments is stagnation, shown in theory and, consequently, in praxis by all those countries that turn collectivism into its political "culture". The growing spiral of the facts of deception, extortion and dictatorial control engorges the whole of society, finally reducing it to total collapse. Those able to escape emigrate, either officially, if at all possible or, most often, in a secluded way; others starve and those that had up to then been able to save part of their income, consume it to the final point of inanition. Private businesses and factories - the last expression of the egoistic pretension of working for one's own benefit - close their doors, are "nationalized", i.e. confiscated (stolen is the proper term) by government or leave the field in search of better conditions. The barren earth is covered by the remaining slaves and serfs and conditions are set for large social upheavals. Civil wars and revolutions ensue with its huge mounds of untimely dead. In most cases, total exhaustion in all aspects of social coexistence sets in. The population languishes and, in due course, the countries involved split and separate into several parts. The outcome of the USSR is a clear example of this.
     The foregoing shows why collectivism can't progress and, thus, is unable to reach a general well-being. It's the antithesis of it, the return to prehistory, the move back to a herd existence of irrational animals driven by its rulers, who are the sole beneficiaries of the system… as long as upheavals don't start or one sector of the ruling gang doesn't eliminate, through political purges, those standing in their way, as history proved often enough.
     There has been up to now one sole exception to what is generally understood as "revolution", though the motives triggering it were diametrically opposed to the general understanding of the term. I've mentioned this exception in relation with upheavals that mainly purport to establish a different version of the same already existing system. Its origin took place during the 17th century and involved the population of Virginia, a region in North America that, at that time, still belonged to the British Crown. What happened there broke the existing vicious circle.
     The Puritans had come to the American continent pursuing their religious premise, which constitutes the basis of collectivism and was later and of course incorporated by Marx to his dogmas: "From each in accordance to his capacity to each in accordance with his needs." Everybody works for the community's well-being, the general rule that had been originally established for the colonies. As a result and due to the details described above, hunger and death by starvation extended themselves like a pest, with the to be expected accompanying illnesses and early mortality from deprival as the only result of what collectivism "produces".
     Although the deceased were replaced by new immigrants from the British Isles, the story repeated itself through the years. As a consequence, the population didn't increase. Loafers lived from what the producers produced, but these themselves slackened their efforts as they saw that they received the same amount of crumbs as those that remained idle. After decades of recurring disasters, Governor Bradford decided to give up the ruling doctrine to try something quite different; something that had never been done up to then, for everybody was convinced that it wouldn't work anyhow. Bradford concluded that what he proposed could, in the worst case, merely mean a continuation of the existing disastrous situation. Still, he decided to test what would happen if everybody was allowed to works specifically for his own benefit.
     The result (defenders of the free market system may start smiling now) was unexpected for the Virginians of the 17th century and, thus, astounding for all involved. The most able, the most productive started to apply all their efforts to better their and their family's situation while the less willing to work faced the fact that they were now obliged to apply their own efforts if they wanted to survive, since they no longer had access to loafing and living from what others produced. As the premise changed - it now practically read "Each to himself" - so did society. Altruism was shed and rational egoism, the generator of human progress, set in. As a consequence, the whole of society, excepting the hang-arounders, progressed. Reality approved what didn't contradict itself and produced its own cornucopia of material and, consequently, spiritual well-being. Reality obliged loafers to become industrious, perhaps not all of them, for it seems that society will never be able to rid itself completely from people unwilling to care for themselves, but still the majority had to change its mentality and provide its own share of effort. What is more, this didn't require any dictatorial commands. Out of it grew the strong spring that was to originate the only and true revolution up to now registered by history, which set up, in 1776, the Rights of the Individual and included the up to then unheard of right to pursue one's own happiness.
     The correct formula is, thus "Individualism and Progress" or, if we remember all the countless and useless deaths caused by all kind of collectivisms and its Stalitlers, the outcry of "Egoism or Death", for not to be egoistic implies a return to the times of the Primitives, annulment of one's self-esteem and intellectual and physical death. That philosopher extraordinaire that was Ayn Rand said it with very precise words in her article "Collectivized Rights" in her book "The Virtue of Selfishness": "Progress can come only out of men's surplus, that is: from the work of those men whose ability produces more than their personal consumption requires, those who are intellectually and financially able to venture out in pursuit of the new. Capitalism is the only system where such men are free to function and where progress is accompanied, not by forced privations, but by a constant rise in the general level of prosperity, of consumption and of enjoyment of life." Capitalism, added Mrs. Rand, is the system of the future… should mankind want to have a future.
     It's a long trek toward this destination, though not a difficult one, since the course is already clearly given, but it's a long one, for the mind of every human being or, at least, a majority of mankind, must reach the same conviction, starting from the data and the reasoning with which thinkers of free minds filled and continue to fill the intellectual cornucopia of ideas for a fully human society. Capitalism, based on the solid foundation of its supporting philosophy - Objectivism, the philosophy of reason -, opposes all kinds of collectivism but needs neither compulsion nor violence to prove what it offers, for producers despise the use of violence to convince. They prove the fact that progress can only be obtained with Capitalism by leaving, as the heroes of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" do, their tools of work at rest and closing the sources of production and well-being they've created when their drive to progress is blocked. The absence of these fountainheads of plenty confirm that mankind cannot progress without them if, as mentioned above, it wants to progress. Producers are men of the mind, not men of arms and with each new day, they perceive now more and more clearly the sound of the lullabies with which collectivists try to tie them to their yoke of irrationality.
     A great awakening is starting to take place in the world and the cry for Change with which collectivists hide their purpose of enslavement, truly corresponds to those who stand for personal independence, personal freedom and full integrity with the values of Reason, Purpose and Self-Esteem, as Ayn Rand stated, and Rationality, Independence, Integrity, Honesty, Justice, Productiveness and Pride as the virtues required to attain them. More and more producers and intellectuals are beginning to hear the drum call to Individualism, Personal Rights, the Right to Live for Oneself, Productive Egoism and Personal Happiness. The sound of creative and productive Capitalism will tear apart the lethargy into which collectivists want to lull mankind. It's necessary to break the repetitive sleepsong's yoke that held mankind in shackles for thousands of years. We are crossing a time of great transition.
     The premise is: CAPITALISM, NOW!
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