A Call for Reason (Part I) - The Conditions of Mankind

January 31, 2011

My fellow Americans, I appeal to you that reason dictates to all that men can only exist in one of a few limited conditions while they are upon this Earth. I also submit to you for your consideration, and ultimately your acceptance after reasonable debate, that illogic and non-reason will masquerade in the guise of reason to try and subvert any discussion of this truth and that it will seek to lead us to the most unwelcome and unkind of these conditions. Further, I believe, that we all can accept that it is important that when seeking to tell right from wrong, reason from illogic, that it is important to see if there is indeed a mask to be lifted on that which comes before you and claims to be reason.

This is why I ask your indulgence with the following dissertation. Because I want you to be confident inasmuch as what I am about to discuss is reason and not illogic hidden behind a mask to deceive you into making a non-reasoned and ill advised choice.

With regards to the conditions in which man can exist in I submit that there are in truth but only three.

First, is that they can exist in a state of absolute anarchy; unbridled freedom where all men constantly look out for only their own betterment in an irrational and chaotic ballet. In such a state each man rises or falls purely by his own strength and cunning only to be outdone by one that is more so than he. While this sounds grand to a point, there is a downside when explored further. In such a state the only rights that any man has are those that he is able to take and hold by his own prowess. All persons must therefore constantly look over his or her own shoulders for the next threat to what he has or she has gained and be prepared to defend their gains by force.

Here, in this state of existence, if one can take a tract of land and defend it from all others that would desire that land then one inherently has a “right” to that land until someone else is able to take it from him. Here a man or woman only has a right to live so long as no other person wishes him or her dead and is capable of completing such a task.

While man can certainly exist in such a condition, I suggest that he does not and cannot remain there for more than an instance of history because of man’s social nature and intelligence. These things make it impossible for absolute anarchy to remain viable because the intelligence of those who are weaker individually allows them learn quickly that the best means to compete against the stronger, more cunning and better equipped is to form some sense of an accord and enter into a tribe or other type of society. Man’s social nature also drives even the strongest to also seek out companionship either through willing agreement by all parties or through forced coercion by the strongest if only for the most basic of urges and the propagation of the species. Both of these realities lead to an order which will arise and once one has order, there cannot be anarchy.

So I actually must admit and appeal to you that man can only truly exist in one of two states, both of which are societal, once this first of anarchy and loneliness is found to be untenable to the basic nature of man. I must appeal to you that man must either exist in a state of societal liberty or a state of societal oppression and slavery. The path chosen by the society so formed depends entirely on those that form it and those that from that point onward exist within it.

Man is a creature that learns from his experiences. And as such some will learn the best state for themselves is one in which all men mutually agree to rightfully and properly defend one another from harm by others. This state is called liberty. For others however this learning inherent to the nature of mankind leads them to desire a state in which they seek to further their own desires by placing themselves above others. This is a state where many are oppressed by the few for the sole betterment of these few. Societies, as mere collections of men, are subject to these same opposing forces being constantly pulled to and fro and between groups of men that have learned how best to secure the good, the equality of all, the right and the proper and those groups of men that have learned how best to secure their power above all else, the bad and the wrong. So within any society there are those that prefer liberty and there are those that will prefer oppression of others, and perhaps even themselves, for either power or security respectively.

Man is an imperfect creature. Only the most noble of the species have truly the well being of all in their best interests at all times. And I dare say that perhaps not a single man has ever existed that would fall wholly into that category except for Christ himself.

In comparison and by conjunction all collections of men and their societies are also imperfect. But how imperfect they are depends on the majority disposition of those within them. When collections of men, by majority, hold dearest their own rights and by correlation the rights of all mankind as descended upon us from God and at least strive for perfection based on such, societies are good. These societies and those within them, by majority, understand that it is in their own best interest to secure liberty for all because they know that their own majority, and hence power, within the culture is likely fleeting in the history of it. Inherently these societies are jealous of any encroachments upon individual liberties regardless of the person being harmed or threatened. They covet their unalienable rights because they fear the loss of their own at the hands of a new majority that may arise at some point within such a society.

Even if each member differs slightly in the fineries of what exactly entails liberty, the fact that the majority is jealous of even the slightest encroachment upon their liberty holds such societies in a state of near perfection. This near perfection comes in a form where each member is allowed to pursue their own liberty while not infringing upon that of another man lest anarchy ensue. While the individuals are not perfect, and perhaps even far from it, the whole approaches perfection through a joint distrust of creeping authority and regulation and an understanding that power is fleeting and that those who rule today will not rule tomorrow and that respecting the rights of all is the best way to ensure that the rights of all will be carried forward even when a new administration arises.

In a state of liberty the societal structure put forth is where government exists as a necessary evil to maintain as much freedom for each individual member as can be granted without the freedoms of another being infringed. In such societies individual citizens are free to contract with one another for goods and services and interact without interference from others regardless of status and power and each may seek redress when true, real and measurable harm befalls them at the hand of others. In such a society the bounds of what one man can do is limited only by what are the rights of all men and of those that he interacts with as well as his own innate abilities. It is a state where government does not poke and prod the people in a direction the government deems fit for them to travel. It is a state where the rights of one are the rights of the whole; where my rights are yours and yours are mine and never shall the two cross.

Such societies enact government for the sole purpose of defending those under it from harms both internal and external and provide only the most basic of functions to allow each man and woman within them to rise and fall based on their own ability, choices, drive and yes, even luck. Such basic functions are, as previously said, only those that do not infringe upon rights equally held and as such are by definition limited since growth beyond being merely basic would inherently infringe on the rights of someone.

In libertarian societies of conservative government, action from the seat of administration is restricted while actions by those that live within these societies are less bound but not entirely boundless. There is no inherent right to infringe on the rights of others or establish a duty upon other individuals to help further another’s own betterment.

On the other hand, when these same collections of men as previously mentioned, by majority, decide that others are put upon this Earth to serve them and that their desires trump the inalienable rights of man, societies turn bad. They become rotted to their core upon such thoughts. Inherently persons in such societies are not jealous of encroachments upon their liberties but only encroachments to their power over others and are interested in only what they may receive by the authority of the State and from the coffers of the State which has been taken from another for them.

To be continued……

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Copyright ©2011 J.J. Jackson

J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com.  He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at Liberty Reborn.