The Quest for Freedom
Posted by Orrin Woodward on July 2, 2013
I continue to study Walter Lippmann’s writings and enjoy his style and thoughts on the evils of collectivism. Unfortunately, when people are scared, they evidently sell their freedom for the illusion of security. This, in fact, is how collectivism thrives today. People in fear submit to masters rather than face the uncertainties of life. LIFE Leadership teaches people the art and science of leadership so that people can face life without fear. Indeed, the NY Times bestseller LeaderShift is a book describing how to avoid collectivism. Below is some of Lippmann’s thoughts on collectivism and mankind.
Though it is momentarily triumphant, it is a failure, and must fail, because it rests upon a radically false conception of the economy, of law, of government, and of human nature/ But while it is possible to lead mankind by error into disaster, suffering is a hard school in which men do learn to perceive the truth. If the collectivist doctrine conformed to the data of experience and the needs of men, it would not be necessary to administer collectivism by drilling the people, sterilizing them against subversive ideas, terrorizing, bribing, enchanting, and distracting them.
The ants live successfully, it would seem, in a collectivist order: there is no evidence that they require ministers of propaganda, censors, inquisitors, secret police, spies, and informers, to remind them of their collectivist duties. But men do not conform to this scheme of things. Though they have been known to accept servitude submissively and even gratefully, they are in some deep sense different from horses, cows, and domesticated fowl. They persist in troubling the serenity of their masters, having in them some quality which cannot be owned. The lord can count upon his cattle. But he is never so sure of his helots. There is never the same certainty in his sovereignty.
For human beings, however low and abject, are potentially persons. They are made in a different image. And though, as Jan Smuts has said, “personality is still a growing factor in the universe and is merely in its infancy,” it asserts itself and will command respect. Its essence is an energy, however we choose to describe it, which causes men to assert their humanity, and oh occasion to die rather than to renounce it* This is the energy the seers discerned when they discovered the soul of man. It is this energy which has moved men to rise above themselves, to feel a divine discontent with their condition, to invent, to labor, to reason with one another, to imagine the good life and to desire it.
This energy must be mighty. For it has overcome the inertia of the primordial savage. Against this mighty energy the heresies of an epoch will not prevail. For the will to be free is perpetually renewed in every individual who uses his faculties and affirms his manhood.