By Bradley Harrington
“Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” — Louisa May Alcott, as quoted in “Elbert Hubbard’s Scrapbook,” 1923 —
Well, Dear Reader, the last two months, where we’ve covered things ranging from “existence exists” to “taxation sucks eggs” and a lot of the stuff in between — has been a bit of a journey. But not one without purpose.
For those of you who might recall, I posed several queries a number of columns back:
(1) “ … How is it that things have gotten to the point in our politics and culture where they could be characterized as ‘un-human’ in the first place?” (2) “What social forces, exactly, have been at work to separate and divide us from ourselves?” And, (3) “… Once those questions have been answered, in what fashion can those divisive forces be counteracted and nullified?” (“Some work I need to handle,” WTE, Dec. 16, 2016.)
I knew, then, that it would not be possible to answer those questions properly, later on, without first making reference to a wider framework of ideas and experience that could encompass both us as individuals and our American society as a culture.
Therefore, I spent months providing one — and in as much of a persuasive and non-confrontational fashion as I could think of.
Now, “later” has arrived — and, after our travels, I submit that the greatest and most divisive “social force” that has “been at work to separate and divide us from ourselves” is: The use of coercion against us by others.
The neat thing about persuading people is that, if the idea is sound, it often works — and, when it doesn’t, the potential “persuadee” is free to continue walking their own path through life.
Once someone picks up a gun, however, and ORDERS a peaceful human being around, seizes their property or TELLS them what to do, and we’ve got a completely different horse on our hands. Nor does it take a rocket scientist to figure out that the personal and political consequences of such actions can only be resentment, backlash, chaos and destruction.
No one likes to be forced into compliance against their will — yet, not only are such occurrences on the rise all around us, we’ve actually institutionalized the phenomenon (a tremendous social error which has actually created the increase).
If there’s a “better” way to set people against one other, I sure can’t think of it.
Of what use is it to teach our children, the very future of our nation, that coercion is wrong, evil and disastrous in its results — when even the slowest 6th-grader can look around and see that our entire political system operates on that basis?
And, if our youth conclude from such observations that our culture is sick, twisted, contradictory and hypocritical to the core — who can blame them? And, when such children are unleashed into our society — as they’ve been unleashed for uncounted decades now, with no principles, values, ideas or guidelines other than “might makes right” — what other results could we ever expect, other than what we are now witnessing all around us?
If , after having the integrity of their souls battered by a tidal wave of altruistic, collectivistic duplicity, our youth mindlessly turn to drugs, guns and gang-herds — WHO made it possible?
And, if our goal for such “divisive forces” is that they be “counteracted and nullified,” doesn’t it make sense that we would begin work, personally as well as socially, on getting rid of their source, i.e., the initiation of the use of force by some people against others? And — above all — on de-institutionalizing it?
If we want to advocate principles and virtues of liberty, individualism, peaceful co-existence and non-aggressive actions, don’t we need to begin by practicing what we preach?
I’ve spent the last two months detailing the nature and operation of a rational, workable, moral philosophy and social system that accomplishes — from top to bottom — exactly that objective. It’s all there, spelled out in black and white, for anyone to grasp. It is our original great American Experiment, handed to us by our Founders, with the contradictions removed.
All that remains, now, is to begin aligning our reality with our dream. And that’s as easy as examining our social and political issues and asking ourselves: Is coercion being initiated against anyone — and by whom against whom?
And, once those determinations have been made — we have to follow through and weed such occurrences out of our lives and culture wherever they are found.
And then, someday, after a lot of hard but worthwhile work, we’ll wake up and realize that we’ve become free at last to pursue all of our other dreams.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on February 26, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.