24 August 2009

"Finer Clay"

Potter at the wheel
photo credit: drwhimsy

Perhaps the most fundamental nonsense in collectivist dogma is that while all people are equal, some people are "more equal" than others.

The idea that - rather than all mankind being born with the same basic rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - some mankind have a) more rights than others and are thereby fit to rule over others; or b) fewer rights than others and are thereby undeserving of respect for their natural rights, is, in a word, demonic.

I'll focus on the former for now, as we see it so frequently in practice.

Those unprincipled individuals in elected office tend to take upon themselves a "creator" role - and the longer they spend in office, the greater grows that tendency and view of their own benevolence toward us, who, no longer their employers, have somehow become their wards.

They seem to think, as Bastiat put it, that:
...Heaven has bestowed upon certain men - governors and legislators - the exact opposite inclinations [from mankind in general], not only for their own sake but also for the sake of the rest of the world! While mankind tends toward evil, the legislators yearn for good. ...

Since they have decided that this is the true state of affairs, they then demand the use of force in order to substitute their own inclinations for those of the human race.
What arrogance! What unseemly opinion do these legislators hold of us, the Great Unwashed? Perhaps that we're too dangerous? Ignorant? Deceitful? And how dare we question their plans, let alone their intentions?

Again, we see this elitist attitude in practice all the time - and coming out ever more openly.

Imbuing fallible human beings - whether in government, media, or academia - with enough power to make or break all of our lives is the true danger.

Here's another famous gem from Bastiat:
If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?
Do we?


Ann said...

I feel like you so perfectly put into words exactly the frustration that I am feeling right now! I am so frustrated, so tired, and so angry at the "god-like" role that legislators put themselves into. They look down on us as poor little creatures who are either too stupid, too corrupt, or, worst of all, too apathetic to do anything, so they must make decisions for us. I have never been more stunned by my legislators than I have been this year...they used to write me back and say something at least placating, if they didn't agree with me. "Thank you so much for your time," at least. Now, they write to me and flat out tell me I'm wrong, and that they are right, and that they are in charge and will fix things according to their "rightness." It's infuriating.

Jen said...

This article may be a little off-topic, but I found it interesting and thought of it as I read the links in your post. It reinforces what you said about elitist attitudes.

WSJ College rankings list

If Harry Reid can find silver lining in the lack of stinky tourists, I see silver lining in the fact that more and more of us are recognizing the arrogance of our elected leaders, and I hope that the disillusionment will last long enough to oust them out of power, and that we will elect candidates who maybe aren't quite so elite.

Granted, it's an uphill battle with campaign finance laws, not to mention the media. Not to mention the votes Government handouts will garner, no matter how sneering leaders are at their own constituency.