"It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville
Something is wrong! We must do something! We can't just sit back and let this happen!
Column by Vahram G. Diehl
The general human paradigm is that in times of crisis, it is always better to do something than to do nothing. Even if after all is said and done we still fail in our cause, at least we can fail knowing that we gave it everything we had and never went down without a fight. Such noble ambitions may feed one's ego and grant him a fleeting sense of momentary purpose, but how deeply rooted in the reality of effective change and liberation are they?
Careful observation of historical events and general human behavior indicates that people seeking action for the sake of action or change for the sake of change have more often than not triggered countless series of events which ultimately culminated in results counter to the original intentions of the actors. When activists of the world act on impulse, they risk great unforeseen detrimental butterfly effects and misuse of their intentions as more confused actors join in on the vaguely defined bandwagon.
Doctors have for centuries sworn themselves to a Hippocratic oath, stating predominantly that in whatever approach they take toward any given patient and their affliction that they must “first, do no harm.” In effect, this means that a responsible doctor must utilize his vast fortune of information on the subject of human health to rationally predict which of all possible actions on his part will create greater health in the patient and which will only worsen his prognosis. When the realm of action is the delicate balance of parameters required for sustained well-being in the human organism, there can be little room for error between intention and outcome.
If we were to extend this virtuous Hippocratic oath to all aspects of human behavior on Earth, notably the shaping of society, how much different would our world look? How much more productive, prosperous, peaceful, and purposeful would our lives be? Just as you would not trust a person lacking in knowledge on the subject of human health to perform medicine and operation on your medical condition for fear of “doing harm” where help was intended, would you any sooner trust a group of people with no knowledge on the subject of a prosperous society to put their intentions to work on your social structure, no matter how noble their intentions might be? A patient killed by an ignorant surgeon with noble intentions is nevertheless still irreparably deceased.
Fortunately, the subject of society is tremendously simpler than the subject of medicine, and there are in fact a great multitude of options available to every man, woman, or child whose intentions are pure. None of us have to be stuck content with inaction against tyranny, and we are not limited to protesting in the streets or creating a majority occupation in the voting booths. How could we ever track the potential long-term retrogressive effects that might stem from involvement in these types of mass endeavors? Our actions can be simple, controlled, precise, and profound in their positive effects everyday of our lives without inciting even more violent confrontation than already exists. Some suggestions are as follows:
- Educate yourself! Read a book! Uncover the secrets of the universe! Social plights have always been caused by ignorance of the subject of which actions will lead to which effects. Don't fall victim to the disease of sensationalism. Know the facts behind how existence operates and plan your life accordingly, or else you may spend your entire time on this planet chasing an imaginary fruitless dream and fighting demons of your own making. Stand firm in truth, even if you stand alone.
- Educate others! Those blessed with the gift of explanatory prowess may find their greatest rewards in life will come from aiding in the expansion of knowledge and awareness in others who seek understanding. The whole world benefits whenever a person takes a step away from ignorance and comes closer to the light of true conceptions of reality.
- Raise your children well. The shaping of quality humans who are emotionally balanced and intellectually matured is likely the toughest and most important task in the world. Any time spent out on the front lines doing battles against perceived oppressors is time and attention taken away from ensuring the healthy development of our most beloved creations and the true future and hope for humanity.
- Invent something. Humanity's livelihood and standard of living have always primarily been affected by the quantity and quality of tools available to it. Innovation for the species has only recently progressed beyond Stone Age simple machines and into high energy technology. The future lies in the building and implementation of ideas and machines that surpass our present ability to shape reality into a rationally hospitable environment for human civilization. This leads me to my next point:
- Start a business. Yes, I said it. Become a part of the greatly demonized corporate machine. Offer a new product or service of higher quality or lower cost than what currently exists on the available market. Engage in fair marketplace competition by not accepting collective handouts from coercive wealth redistributors. Give consumers a voluntary choice to select your business over others at their own individual discretion. Create jobs for skilled and ethical workers by increasing production in the economy. Everyone wins in an ethical business: employers, employees, sellers, buyers, and everything in between.
- Be a good person. Follow common sense ethics like the universally lauded “Golden Rule” of only acting towards others in ways that you yourself find agreeable. Do not lie, cheat, steal, force, mislead, or coerce personal gain at the loss of another no matter how seemingly insignificant it may appear at the time. Sustainable relationships cannot be built upon fraud.
- Do not support the immoral and irrational mechanisms currently in operation. This is in several regards the most difficult course of action for many; it seems to them that they are giving up in the fight against the enemy. When we patronize businesses that produce their products and fund their efforts through illegitimate means or partake in political measures that seize the wealth and freedom of others without their consent, we only serve to perpetuate the madness that plagues out world. No matter how seemingly benevolent and progressive the intended outcome of these endeavors, their methods of operation are fundamentally flawed and are counter to the end we are seeking.
- Spread the message of productive action to others. Do not stand idly by while you notice your well-intentioned friends and neighbors ignorantly participating in actions that you know to be truly harmful and counterproductive to social progress. Be ready to push buttons, ask questions, and call people out on their paradigms of causality, and be prepared to stand by and rationally defend your own. If no one ever has the courage to question the status quo of acceptable behavior, it will never fundamentally alter and we will never get where we are trying to go.
When more of the world population chooses to forsake their favored “fighter” based mentality and its corresponding courses of action in favor of the kind of direct and immediately effective “builder” actions listed above, human civilization will start to generate more real progress in the direction of total liberty and optimal choice for prosperity. Indeed, actions like those listed above are the only things that ever have counted as progress for our species, and the actors who have embodied them are the reason we live in as free of a world as we currently do compared to some of the even more horrendously atrocious social structures of the past. All we have to do is keep going and keep building.