It is time to have a real conversation about what being an American is. Once it came to my knowledge late in the night of Sunday, March 20, 2011 that the Department of Justice had changed the colors of its website to black, gray and white colors, something eerily similar to the marketing of the European Union, added with the strange sort of collectivism being preached by public workers and the unions that represent them, that American’s must decide what it is they are.
Here Doc Thompson talks about Governor Kasich’s Ohio Budget and the further application of School Choice, which I support tremendously, because it creates competition in the education system. I am more convinced now than ever that the collectivism taught in schools by default has been devastating to our national economy, our political structure, and our personal identities and can be declared an epic failure. I have been open-minded about public education for the benefit of society. But now that I’ve seen the protests at the state level, and the way students have been conjured up to serve the needs of teachers unions in spite of whatever their parents might think, I am now prepared to openly speak against all the devices that are failing in American society so they can be identified and changed.
I came to similar points of view as Ayn Rand not by reading her. I came to her work late in life. But I traveled a path similar to her and arrived at similar conclusions. She, as I do, likes Nietzsche and understands without corruption what that philosopher was trying to say. She was an atheist where I’m not, but I understand her reluctance. I see spirituality in higher dimensional planes where she looked for reason in the observable world. But on matters of collectivism versus individualism I am with Ayn completely without pause.
She is on my mind because the film Atlas Shrugged is coming out soon and I have been waiting for that film for a long time. In that great book of the same name Ayn describes a tree that one of the characters enjoyed as a boy, that made him feel safe. The tree seemed unmovable in the world, a symbol of stability in a changing world. Until one night lightning struck the tree and it split in two. The boy sad, was able to look down inside the massive trunk now that the tree had split. What he found was that the tree had been rotten on the inside, eaten away by millions of parasites over a long period of time till all that was left was a hollow shell that showed its former strength, but was in fact barely able to hold itself up, and was easily destroyed in a big storm.
America is that tree. It has been eaten and parts of it killed from the inside by these insect-like collectivist. They in themselves are not bad or evil. But if you ever study a termite colony you see that their societies are very destructive to wherever they establish their residence. They are just doing what they do, but their life style is destructive to where they build their nests. Any group or organization in America that preaches collectivism, that’s labor unions, education establishments, clubs, country clubs, political organizations, Freemasons, fraternities, I’d even say the Boy Scouts of America is a form of collectivism.
Now that may seem extreme by let me tell you a brief story illuminating this fact. I have joined my share of groups, but I usually end up leaving them because of this whole collectivism issue. I hate it. Years ago I was a member, which I still distinctly support, but I was much more heavily active back then, called the Joseph Campbell Foundation. I spent my 20’s reading Campbell’s vast work and through him and his lectures, which I think I heard them all, I explored James Joyce’s work through the Skeleton Key and Ulysses, and much of Nietzsche’s work. But Campbell’s work put me on the path. Now Campbell was an intellectual individualist, much different from other intellectuals, so this is the reason he’s been successful on a level most only dream of regarding the field of comparative mythology and religion with sub categories in psychology, philosophy and art. Campbell was a maverick in many ways which is another way of saying he was an individualist. But, many of the people attracted to literature, and I run into this all the time, are liberal. So many of his fans were left-winged, so the moment he died, even to his warnings, they tried to turn Joseph Campbell into some collective savior, almost a religion.
I learned this on a literary meeting sponsored by the foundation. I figured it was a safe, and authentic event because at the time George Lucas of Star Wars was one of the board members, so I figured that the people in the foundation would reflect Campbell’s views. What I found were a group of left-winged people who had lost the message of Campbell. They memorized his work and could quote it on demand, but they didn’t “understand” it. They were victims of “collectivism.” The point of the meeting was only to be around similar personality types for some sort of reassured conformation of their appreciation of Campbell’s work. Ayn Rand has a similar kind of following with her own Ayn Rand Institute. I don’t mind such groups, but I personally don’t enjoy them because they get in the way of my own individuality. I’m currently in the same dilemma with the Tea Party. I stay in the distance, I support them very much, but not at the expense of my ability to act on my own.
American Football, the game itself, not the cheerleaders, the politics around it, the fans, the schools, but the game of football in its raw form is just the right mix of individualism and team work. In football individual talent through competition emerges on the field of play with the focal point being the ball itself. It’s a game of individual assignments that must be executed with an overall battle plan’s overall goal of moving the ball down the field of play 10 yards at a time. Football is a brutal game where only the best find their way on the field. There isn’t much sympathy for those that are “benchwarmers.” They are actually looked down upon in our society. That is the true heart of the masses, otherwise, football wouldn’t be as popular as it is. The public has accepted those rules because on a subconscious level, they understand the implications of not allowing the best to play the game. The team that attempts collective diversity would find itself at a serious competitive disadvantage and the game itself would be boring. The winners on the football field are those that can run faster, hit harder, throw further, and adapt to changing circumstances most rapidly.
American’s understand football, because it is the game of capitalism.
But when the rules get blurred in all the associated groups that we naturally are inclined to join, because there is security in the group, we find that the world appears to be more complicated. But it’s not. We make it so.
It’s not that I dislike the insect like collective minded. When I swim in a pool and a poor little bug falls in and struggles to get out, I scoop it out and attempt to save it. I always do, even though the insect is part of a collective society. But, when a hive of worms builds a nest in a tree, or a wasp nest evolves in my garage, or termites, or ants make their presence known near my home I kill them without regret, because I’m protecting my home, my property. Collectivism does not understand this concept because personal property is seen as for the greater good of society, which is just how insects few the world.
So my words here, and the resistance to further taxes in schools, and reform such as what we are exploring in School Choice as heard by Doc’s interview are for the good of that great tree that is America. I see the insects that are eating the inside of our beloved tree need to be removed so the tree doesn’t die or split at the first big storm. And I have no emotion about the lives of those insects. They should not have attempted to set up a colony in our tree.
In a less harsh way, look at school reform. The interview above is absolutely correct. Education will change because it’s too expensive and ineffective. That’s a fact of life. It will evolve rapidly in the coming years to something more individually based, and it will happen because that’s the way it works in the world at large.
We’ve been compassionate and we let the insects live in our tree, and they have maliciously attempted to hollow it out without regard for the strength of the tree. And that is the cause of their soon to be fate. It is not the heartlessness of me or others that seek continuation of the greater life form of our nation. It’s not about fairness, it’s about competition and getting the results of that competition that is an occurrence reflected in nature itself. It is in mankind’s arrogance that they attempt to alter nature into a collectivism that does not act as a parasite on the world around it, which is an impossible and naive dream by incompetent insect like minds only considering their small lives and hungers.
My advice, be an individual contributor to society, not an insect.