Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blogging is not enough

The daily assaults to our freedoms have become almost overwhelming. My response has been to stay abreast of events as best I can, to study the history and functioning of our banks and the Federal Reserve, and to spend what time I can communicating what I learn to others. I've written to my congressmen---and received back mass-produced form letters, which make it painfully obvious no one actually read what I wrote. But to do nothing is to stand on the track with the train headed toward me. Here are two projects I am supporting to help counter the attacks on capitalism, the only system which will provide us with lasting peace and prosperity.

Speaking Up through Books

Atlas Shrugged is a story of high drama, depicting the consequences of a society that consistently acts on the anti-life premises of altruism and collectivism. One law and regulation at a time progressively denies individuals the fruits of their labor, simultaneously strangling and exploiting the ability of the productive to create wealth and value. The evolving economic dictatorship is both actively and passively enabled by the productive themselves as long as they continue to accept the moral premises which deny a man the right to exist for his own sake.

This story is today writ large. For a chilling example, watch this clip of bankers statements following a meeting with President Obama in which he warned them:

“Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”
“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

These are the kind of comments I would expect from a Mafioso, not my country's president--and yet they are completely consistent with the premise that individuals and the businesses they create must purchase from others their right to exist. Our politicians are all too willing to act as the "Public's" henchmen, demanding and accepting sacrifices under the auspices of The Greater Good. Originally written to restrain government intrusion into the private affairs of men, our Constitution has been reinterpreted in ways that severely weaken its ability to protect our inalienable individual rights. The story of Atlas Shrugged can help alert critical thinkers to the dangers we face right now as all three branches of our government steadily increase statist controls of both the socialist and fascist variety.* The trend toward bigger government and greater controls will not reverse until the consequences of the loss of liberty are grasped by the general population and that understanding is clearly communicated to our elected officials.

The second project I would like to showcase is an example of the kind of action which is open to us all.

From what I can tell, the originator took an idea, created a website and a means to collect contributions in order to fund his idea, and now is spreading the ideas of liberty one kit at a time. Here is his mission in his own words:

The Lucidicus Project is an independent educational initiative designed to encourage medical students to think about the foundations of individual rights, and consider what a social system built on the consistent defense of such rights would mean for medicine and healthcare.

Our mission is to provide the Medical Intellectual's Self-Defense Kit to medical students in the United States and around the world. The kit contains books and other resources that define and clarify the meaning of important concepts such as rights and capitalism, and demonstrate how they relate to medicine and healthcare. Every few weeks, we also publish editorials that comment on current issues.

This project exists and grows thanks to the voluntary donations of its supporters. Kits are distributed free to qualified medical students, and there are no membership fees or registration. If the preservation of individual rights is important to you, and if you support the work we do, then please consider contributing to The Lucidicus Project today.

The website also allows contributors to see where their money is going. Beginning with the first recipient in 2005, a brief paragraph introduces each student who has received the kit, dispelling the anonymity which helps preserve a disconnect between our ideas their real-life consequences. Each law and regulation passed that restricts or controls the ability of physicians to offer their best advice and judgment to their private patients (a.k.a. us) acts as a damper on the minds and spirits you see depicted in these bright, young and optimistic faces.

There is much to admire in this project. It's grassroots nature. It's promotion of exposure to ideas. The inclusion of recipients who agree, disagree and are not quite sure. The demonstration of the effectiveness possible by targeting a specific audience with a clearly delimited and focused goal. The example of benevolence in action, both in the tone of its text, as well as through its coordination of voluntary interactions on multiple levels: the contributors, the recipients, and the creators of the materials.

I hope you will help these projects grow.


*"Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically."--The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

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