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Individuals must make commitment to action

Guest Column/Russell Karlberg

In Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead, "One Small Voice" was the name of a column written by a newspaper columnist named Ellsworth Toohey, in which he promoted mediocrity and denounced individual achievement with the ultimate goal of destroying reason and gaining control of the world. I would like to use this title for a series of columns dedicated to defeat this goal.

Before an individual can decide which political system to support, he must select a philosophy which is consistent with both his view of the world and his ethical beliefs.

A man's most important asset is his ego. It is the motivation behind significant human achievement.

In an ideal society, when an individual makes a significant contribution to progress such as an inexpensive way to manufacture a product, he is entitled to the profits resulting from this innovation.

The only service this individual requires from the government is protection from others who wish to take away the fruits of his labor, or interfere with his pursuit of happiness. For this service, he voluntarily pays the government a small percentage of his income in the form of a tax. An individual is free to be content with mediocrity, or to strive for excellence, as he pleases.

There is no excuse for poverty because each man is responsible for his own existence.

Unfortunately, in order to avoid the harsh reality of existence, some people seek to leech off the achievements of others. They preach the "virtues" of self-sacrifice and altruism. Webster's Dictionary defines altruism as "unselfish concern for the welfare of others."

With a government based on this principle, citizens are not free to make voluntary charitable contributions; the government takes their money and distributes it to the "less fortunate" as it sees fit. Any successful individuals are punished and the lazy are rewarded. There is no incentive to achieve beyond the quota. Under communism or socialism, citizens are slaves to the government.

When the United States was founded, its Constitution guaranteed all citizens the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For approximately 150 years, our country maintained this ideal very well.

Recently, however, some very dangerous concepts have begun to gain popular support. The Democratic Party platform of 1960 claimed that all men have the right to food, clothing, shelter, a job, and even recreation! Who is to provide these things?

I quote from Ayn Rand: "If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor. Any alleged `right' of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right." (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal; pg. 324)

The welfare system, social security, labor legislation, and economic interference of today's government are merely stepping stones on the path to communism. The same laws which now permit censorship of pornographic materials due to their "potential threat to the social interest" will soon lead to more restrictive laws suppressing any scientific or political ideas which might be a threat to the "social interest."

Every individual must pull himself out of the quagmire of apathy into which we are all rapidly sinking and make a firm and immediate commitment to action.