Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

04 November 2013

The Critical Factor in American Politics: Who Owns Your Body and Mind?

The critical question whose answer determines the balance of power in American politics today is: Who owns your body and mind?

There are three answers to this question which are given by significant numbers of Americans.  They are:

1) I own my own body and mind.

2) God owns my body and mind.

3) The collective, effectively the government, owns my body and mind.

The idea that an individual owned their own body and mind was essentially a cornerstone idea of the Enlightenment and one which played a critical role in the thinking of the minds of the Founders of the United States of America and the Framers of the Constitution.  The purpose of government was to protect the individual rights of  the people.  Only if an individual owned their own mind and body did such an idea make sense.  Only then could a person have a sovereign right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of his own happiness.

Yes, some of them thought that God also owned their minds and bodies, but that even then an individual had a right to acknowledge that or to deny that ownership.  The individual, in their minds, could either freely give themselves to God or they could sin.  They believed in free will.

Some who believed that God owned their minds and bodies believed the state must help God assert this ownership.  Many a nation had established a religion and was all too committed to using government power to force others to make value choices these people believed God wanted them to make.  In America, the early Pilgrims were such an example.  Later many Calvinists in New England had similar ideas.  The colony of Virginia had an established religion, The Church of England, which was funded by the colonial government.  In addition to establishing churches, the colonies frequently codified many of their religious beliefs into laws.  By the time of the American Revolution and in the decade that followed, many of the thinking Americans came to the conclusion that government should not play this role of trying to force people to act within the confines of religious beliefs.  The need for a broader freedom of conscience was becoming widely recognized by thinking Americans.

The idea that the collective owned one's mind and body has been around probably as long as people have associated in bands or tribes.  Medieval European city and nation states used this idea to build hierarchical societies in which the serf served the local aristocratic lord and that lord served the King.  The King pretended to serve God, built and protected the state, and pretended to be the caretaker for the poor, dumb serfs.  The serfs were to devote their lives to the nation, the King, and God. 

The socialists extended this ancient idea to the state alone with no particular pretense that they depended upon God's authority to take control of the masses of the people.  As socialists became more and more common, thanks largely to government controlled education, the demands of the state based on collectivist ownership increased.  The Prussian government began such an expansion of the state based on socialist ideas of collective ownership of the people's minds and bodies.  It provided schools, medical care, and retirement benefits to the people in exchange for fairly complete control of their lives.  The Marxists advanced their version of such claims, as did the fascists and the National Socialist German Workers Party.  The Progressives in America borrowed the idea of the socialist government-run state schools, heavy regulation of productive labor, control of medical care and retirement benefits, and have created their own socialist variant.

As I have noted many times, ObamaCare is based on the assertion that the collective owns every individual's body and mind.  There can be no other basis for a governmental demand that each American must care for the maintenance of his or her mind and body in accordance with rules established by the government.  The government is claiming the right to have its property maintained.  It is telling Americans what medical care they must pay for coverage on in their insurance whether any particular individual has any need for that coverage or not.  The government is doing this very explicitly on a collectivist basis.  Someone needs that coverage and therefore every individual will pay for it.  This requirement is so important to the government that ObamaCare will actually cause many millions of individuals to lose the insurance they have and were happy with.  After all, there is nothing so important to the socialist as the principle of collective ownership and its assertion.  This is not actually being done for the sake of the welfare of each American individual.  No, it is being done to create a strengthened mandate that every individual's mind and body belongs to the government.

Of course this idea was asserted already in many other laws.  For instance, Progressive governments have long asserted that almost any activity that earns income or salary comes under its powers of regulation, control, and taxation.  American governments also believe they have the right to dictate minimum wages, which means they assert that they have the right to prevent individuals from earning a living at all.  Progressive governments have long levied taxes on an individual's pay from their own labor.  These are very blatant claims that an individual's labor belongs to the government.  Now what is your labor but one of the most critical ways you use your mind and body to support and maintain your own life.  Yet, these same governments pretend they are not violating anyone's right to life.  Controlling and taxing your labor is effectively a claim of ownership of your mind and body.

The balance of power in America today is the result of a two-party system in which one party, the Democratic Party, is wholly of the belief that every individual's mind and body belongs to the collective, or effectively to the government.  The other party, the Republican party, is more disparate in its parts.  It is composed of three major factions, which either hold that:

1) An individual's body is only self-owned.

2) One nominally owns one's own body and mind, but ought to give them to God of one's free will.

3) God owns everyone's body and mind, but God is too weak or lazy to force everyone Himself to obey his will and acknowledge his ownership, so the government must perform this task of forcing obedience for Him.

As far as the use of government power through its monopoly on the use of force is concerned, there is little friction and little difference between Factions 1 and 2.  The consequences on the use of force by government of Faction 3, however, are profound.  The most critical and common issues affected are government policies with respect to sex and procreation.  The portions of our society most directly affected are women and those who are lesbians, gay, bisexual, or transgender.  Many American women and LGBTs find the use of force by Faction 3 of the Republican Party to be extremely threatening.  More often than not, these groups find this threat more frightening than the broader and more equally applied, by gender and sexuality at least, threats to self-ownership of the Democratic Party.

I am fully in agreement that the use of government by Faction 3 for its purposes is highly immoral and highly irrational.  It is threatening.  But, I see the claim of collective ownership by the Democrat Party as even worse.

First, the collectivist agenda of the Progressives, in full control of the Democratic Party, has been very successful in getting the government to control our daily lives in many ways.  It dictates what values we are free to pursue and it takes many hours of our time and effort from each of us by force.  The amount of our labor it commands has steadily increased, but for secondary fluctuations such as major wars.

Second, more and more Americans, especially younger Americans, find the claims of Faction 3 to be wrongheaded, even as many of them embrace the idea of collective ownership of our minds and bodies.  Faction 3 has poor prospects of controlling the government to do its will on a national level, because many Republicans oppose them, as do all of the Democrats.  Only a very few states are so dominated by Faction 3 that there is a practical likelihood of their enacting their program.  At the national level, even when the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the presidency, this faction was never able to accomplish much of anything toward their agenda.

Third, the range of those aspects of human life claimed as the purview of government control by force is much larger on the part of the Progressive collectivist agenda of Democrat Party.  It applies to everyone and to almost anything we do.  It is without any real boundaries at all.

Most Americans say they want smaller government, yet the dominion of government keeps growing.  The Republican Party is clearly the party of at least less massive government, though it is not really the party of smaller government as it ought to be.  Yet most Americans favor the Democratic Party in Generic Congressional Polls.  The reason is primarily due to the fear of many women and almost all LGBTs of the agenda of Faction 3 of the Republican Party.  If this agenda were to be put into effect, that fear would be well-justified, but it has almost no chance of being put into effect.  Yet because so many women and LGBTs vote for the Democratic Party out of this exaggerated fear, the less massive Republican Party is unable to attain enough offices to prevent the Progressive collectivist attack upon our individual rights which has been very successful in many ways.

At this time, the biggest issue of government is the repeal of ObamaCare with its takeover of 16 to 18% of the US economy, its many harmful effects on medical care and its cost to individuals, and its blatant claim of government ownership of our bodies and minds.  Most Americans recognize that ObamaCare is a massively troublesome program, even if most underestimate its harms.  Yet, we have seen anti-ObamaCare candidates for the Senate defeated by Democrat collectivists who favored ObamaCare and the rest of the Progressive collectivist agenda because women, young people, and LGBTs found the ideas of Faction 3 Republicans abhorrent.  And even though Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia, has vowed that he will not try as Governor to implement his previous Faction 3 agenda as required by his support from the Tea Party, he is likely to lose that election to a highly corrupt collectivist, Terry McAuliffe.

There are many who believe that the Tea Party is a movement of Faction 3 Republican types.  It is not so.  It is primarily people more aligned with Factions 1 and 2.  There are also a few Faction 3 types who have agreed that the threat of the Progressive collectivist agenda has become so great in America that they will give up trying to codify their religious beliefs in the law at least until the collectivist threat is defeated.  Ken Cuccinelli is a man who has made this pledge.  He has fought ObamaCare with more determination and effect than almost any politician.  He is strong in his support that we each own our own labor and should be free to cooperate with others to our mutual benefit in the private sector.  He understands that government should be smaller.  It should be dictating fewer of our values to us and less involved in our lives.  He is a strong Tea Party promoter and candidate who has agreed to live by the rules of the Tea Party to leave his religious beliefs in the private sector and not use the force of government to promote them.

It is a serious mistake to allow the Progressive collectivist Terry McAuliffe to become governor of Virginia.  His strong support of ObamaCare and all things collectivist will do serious harm to the people of the state of Virginia.  If you value your rights and you are voting in this election, it is a serious mistake to vote for McAuliffe or even to vote for the Libertarian candidate.  The Democrat will bring nothing but evil accomplices into the state government, while Ken Cuccinelli will bring in many Faction 1 and Faction 2 Republicans instead.  This will be very good for the people of the state of Virginia.


Anonymous said...

Who owns your body and mind? Well, when you can find yourself
imprisoned in the anal rape camps of Amerika's own gulag archipelago
for long periods of time, tortured, or even killed for the
artificial "crime" of peaceful use and possession of a politically-incorrect intoxicant in the privacy of your own home.
the answer is obvious, no?

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

You are right that the laws against the use of certain drugs are an example of a government assertion that it owns our bodies and minds.