Column of Sentimental Reflections

Sentimental Reflections
Tibor R. Machan
My job in writing columns, as I see it, is to attempt to work out how the
original American experiment could be extended and improved upon and made
to serve the purpose of addressing various emerging political-economic
problems. I do not confine myself to just this task but it is one of the
more pressing ones for me. I guess one reason I took it on is that I
experienced what I take to be the direct opposite way of social life when
I was young, namely, Soviet style socialism. Having managed to escape it,
I decided I would like to make sure there is no chance for it to reassert
itself, especially in America.
Well, this task of mine is important and noble enough but there are times
that I simply feel very, very sad about how few Americans find the ideas
that distinguish their society from others appealing. Instead of
championing and practicing initiative, inventiveness, ambition, adventure,
enterprise, and the like, it now seems to me that most Americans have
become belated dependents, people who care far more about what others
should do for them, how the government should take care of them, how their
problems should be solved by politicians and bureaucrats, than about
maintaining a system of community life that supports human liberty, the
kind of liberty that serves as a framework for personal and community
initiative and rejects altogether the notion that people are owed a living
by their fellows. And this is really a very sad situation.
For the first time in human history the American founders managed to
establish a community the basic principles of which acknowledge individual
sovereignty. They began rejecting, officially, the idea that inhabitants
of human communities are subjects, subservient to the will of some special
bunch of people with fancy titles. This was an extraordinary development
and sadly by now most people have no appreciation for it. Instead some of
the cleverest and most erudite people in America are hard at work to
return the country to its former subservient position, whereby governments
made all the decisions, whereby elected officials openly brag about
wishing to rule, to run everything, and ordinary folks seem willingly to
place themselves at the disposal of these would be rulers.
That really is a very sad thing. It doesn’t have to be but it seems very
much the way most folks want it. Await for the state to figure out how one
should live and provide various securities and guarantees instead of
simply make sure our liberties aren’t trampled upon so we can proceed to
help ourselves, alone or with the willing cooperation of others. No, this
quintessentially American notion, however incompletely realized so far, is
no longer even much of a notion. It is actively demeaned, ridiculed by the
literati. Snide comments come from the well educated, and even the not so
well educated like those in Hollywood, whenever such American ideas and
ideals get some airing–as if what the American Founders began were some
kind of silly joke instead of the most important and genuine human
revolution in history.
It baffles me why this wonderful conception by the Founders and their
followers is derided so much by the self-anointed fancy people–artists,
professors, social scientists, and others–who see themselves as so
superior to those infantile American Founders who thought every individual
is a sovereign being, not beholden to anyone but his or her own
conscience. Why is this notion so frightening to so many people so that
they spend their lives writing books and essays knocking it? Why would
such a wonderful thought become the target of so much sophist aced
denigration?
This is a very big country and it has innumerable educated folks living
off taxpayers in hundreds, even thousands of colleges and universities and
instead of showing gratitude for being able to pursue careers they
supposedly love, most of these people appear to be bitter, angry and nasty
toward the very folks and system of ideas that provide their support. They
never turn down a contribution to their institution from a successful
entrepreneur and yet they hold these entrepreneurs in near total contempt!
I shall continue to attempt to inject a different idea into the culture,
albeit in venues that are less than prominent. Still, I cannot desist, not
while I realize that the American experiment is the most noble one in
human social and political history. Perhaps I will be able to pave a bit
of the way for a few among the next generation to not give up on the
effort, to remain vigilant, so that in time the defeatists, the cynics
will become the minority and will not rule the publishing houses,
magazines, and higher education. It may happen.

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