By Bradley Harrington
“When you violate the rights of one man, you have violated the rights of all, and a public of rightless creatures is doomed to destruction.” — Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged,” 1957 —
Last week (“‘Public Safety’ Vs. Liberty,” WTE, July 9) we took a short glance at Chairman Mao, the world’s leading mass-exterminator, clocking in at 55 to 70 million Chinese citizens dead, all for the public safety. I guess when Mao said that “before a brand-new social system can be built on the site of the old, the site must be swept clean” (“Introductory Note to ‘A Serious Lesson,’” 1955), he wasn’t kidding.
While eminently qualifying himself as the reigning HMFIC at the top of the Citizens Exterminated Department, however, Mao was by no means alone in his quest to “sweep sites clean” of the human chattel he and others he found to be such a hindrance.
Joseph Stalin, for instance, another exponent of Marx’s communist school of thought, determined 20 to 40 million of his Soviet comrades needing sweeping out of the way as well, giving him Second Place. “Life has improved, comrades. Life has become more joyous,” he told the survivors at a Stakhanovite Conference back in 1935.
(SIDEBAR: And Franklin Roosevelt, by smiling and handing Eastern Europe over to Comrade Joseph back at the end of World War II, sentenced another 300 million people to abject socialist slavery for another 50 years. It’s these kinds of moral/philosophical failures on the part of the United States that guarantee an aura of “respectability” to such regimes they could never acquire on their own merits in the world of ideas. And we wonder where such states come from, as we consider how to — or even whether to — combat them? But I digress …)
Finally, weighing in at Third Place, we have the German Nazi thug Adolf Hitler, cashing in his chips with 12 to 20 million souls slaughtered by his hand, all in the name of the “public safety.”
Despite his distantly-third showing in the mass-extermination arena, however, Hitler proved himself unsurpassed when it came to mouthing the collectivist slogans by which he deluded his enslaved serfs:
“Our party,” he once declared, “is convinced that our nation can only achieve permanent health from within on the principle: The Common Interest Before the Self.” (“Program of the Nazi Socialist German Workers Party,” 1920).
“Help for small shops and businesses,” “improved pensions,” “land for small farmers” and other “health” and “education” improvements were all promised by the Nazis to their expectant public (“The 25 Points,” 1920).
What they gave them was the gas chambers. Actions which should make even the staunchest advocates of the true “public safety” stop and think twice before being bamboozled by such rhetoric in the future.
Well, that’s upwards of 100 million people wiped out, right there, just with the Top Three, and we haven’t even discussed lesser rank-and-file annihilations such as Castro’s and Guevara’s Cuba, Ho Chi Min’s North Vietnam or Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea. Masters of the “public safety,” every last one of them.
So then, just what does the “public safety” actually MEAN, anyway? We see clearly that such excuses have led to, and are directly responsible for, the commission of the most unspeakably-engaged-in atrocities in man’s history. But does such a phrase have any conceptual meaning of its own, independent of such philosophical hijacking?
Yes, IF — and ONLY if — those aggregates are handled down in terms of their constituent elements. That is, down to US, each of us, as individuals, as individual human beings.
The “public safety,” then, if it means anything at all, can only mean the aggregate total of the safety of ALL the public’s members, each and every one of us, as individuals. As a collection, not a “collective.” Which means: The protection of ALL our lives and property.
This is what constitutes the “public safety”; these are the purposes to which our laws are contrived. That each of us, every last one of us, have the security of our lives, liberty and property.
What are we to think, then, of a government which uses that very principle as a justification for further concentrating its powers? The hanging of us by means of our own ideas … Tactically brilliant. Shouldn’t some huge red flags have been going off for several decades now?
There was a time in These United States, Dear Reader — and not too many generations ago at that — when an awful lot of us believed the “public safety” demanded the shooting of Redcoats and other allegedly-duly-constituted “people of authority” throughout the land. (aka the American Revolution.)
Perhaps, instead of contemplating the atrocities committed by altruist authoritarians for uncounted millennia, those are the lessons of history we should be pondering instead.
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 July 16, 2017. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.
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