During January 1944, Ayn Rand wrote a short, but powerful essay that was published in Reader’s Digest entitled The Only Path To Tomorrow. In it she laid out the choice the free world had when it came to confronting the threat of Communism. Today, that threat is from it’s offshoot cousin the totalitarian Left. The essay said (in part):
The greatest threat to mankind and civilization is the spread of the totalitarian philosophy. Its best ally is not the devotion of its followers but the confusion of its enemies. To fight it, we must understand it.
Totalitarianism is collectivism. Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group — whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called “the common good.´´
Throughout history, no tyrant ever rose to power except on the claim of representing “the common good.´´ Napoleon “served the common good´´ of France. Hitler is “serving the common good´´ of Germany. Horrors which no man would dare consider for his own selfish sake are perpetrated with a clear conscience by “altruists´´ who justify themselves by-the common good.
No tyrant has ever lasted long by force of arms alone. Men have been enslaved primarily by spiritual weapons. And the greatest of these is the collectivist doctrine that the supremacy of the state over the individual constitutes the common good. No dictator could rise if men held as a sacred faith the conviction that they have inalienable rights of which they cannot be deprived for any cause whatsoever, by any man whatsoever, neither by evildoer nor supposed benefactor.
This is the basic tenet of individualism, as opposed to collectivism. Individualism holds that man is an independent entity with an inalienable right to the pursuit of his own happiness in a society where men deal with one another as equals.
The American system is founded on individualism. If it is to survive, we must understand the principles of individualism and hold them as our standard in any public question, in every issue we face. We must have a positive credo, a clear consistent faith.
We must learn to reject as total evil the conception that the common good is served by the abolition of individual rights. General happiness cannot be created out of general suffering and self-immolation. The only happy society is one of happy individuals. One cannot have a healthy forest made up of rotten trees.
The power of society must always be limited by the basic, inalienable rights of the individual.
The right of liberty means man’s right to individual action, individual choice, individual initiative and individual property. Without the right to private property no independent action is possible.
The right to the pursuit of happiness means man’s right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own, private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement. Each individual is the sole and final judge in this choice. A man’s happiness cannot be prescribed to him by another man or by any number of other men.
These rights are the unconditional, personal, private, individual possession of every man, granted to him by the fact of his birth and requiring no other sanction. Such was the conception of the founders of our country, who placed individual rights above any and all collective claims. Society can only be a traffic policeman in the intercourse of men with one another.
You can read the essay in it’s entirety here.
Feeling the albatross of the Iron Curtain has been lifted from their necks since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the nihilistic, political Left has been attacking Western Civilization at key institutions intellectually and, through the environmentalist movement they are actively attacking industrial venues necessary for our civilization to function, if not exist.
Now the Left is engaged in a full blown war unleashing a violent, revolutionary wave since the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States. The wisdom encompassed in Ms. Rand’s essay is as relevant now as it was 74 years ago and civilized people must no longer be confused about the Left along with understanding their philosophy. The Left must be defeated in order for our civilization to survive and for human beings to continue to not only live but also flourish.
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