The Future Is Calling (Part
2003 – 2006
Revised 2006 October 8
G. Edward Griffin is a writer and documentary film producer with
many successful titles to his credit.
Listed in Who’s Who in
America, he is well known because of his talent for researching
difficult topics and presenting them in clear terms that all can
understand. He has dealt with such diverse subjects as archaeology
and ancient Earth history,
the Federal Reserve System and
international banking, terrorism, internal subversion, the history
of taxation, U.S. foreign policy, the science and politics of cancer
therapy, the Supreme Court, and
the United Nations.
His better-known works include,
Creature from Jekyll Island
World without Cancer
The Discovery of
Moles in High Places
The Open Gates of Troy
The Capitalist Conspiracy
More Deadly than War
The Great Prison Break
The Fearful Master
is a graduate of the University of Michigan where he majored in
speech and communications. In preparation for writing his book on
the Federal Reserve System, he enrolled in the College for Financial
Planning located in Denver, Colorado. His goal was not to become a
professional financial planner but to better understand the real
world of investments and money markets. He obtained his CFP
designation (Certified Financial Planner) in 1989.
Mr. Griffin is a recipient of the coveted Telly Award for excellence
in television production, the creator of the Reality Zone Audio
Archives, and is President of American Media, a publishing and video
production company in Southern California. He has served on the
board of directors of The National Health Federation and The
International Association of Cancer Victors and Friends and is
Founder and President of The Cancer Cure Foundation. He is the
founder and president of Freedom Force International.
Thank you, Richard, and thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen. What a
terrific introduction that was; but, in all honesty, I must tell you
that it greatly exaggerates the importance of my work. I should
know. I wrote it.
The dangerous thing about platform introductions is that they tend
to create unrealistic expectations. You have just been led to
anticipate that, somehow, I am going to make a complex subject easy
to understand. Well, that’s quite a billing. I hope I can live up to
that expectation today; but it remains to be seen if I can really do
that with this topic: The War on Terrorism. How can anyone make that
easy to understand? There are so many issues and so much confusion.
I feel like the proverbial mosquito in a nudist camp. I know what I
have to do. I just don’t know where to begin.
There is a well-known rule in public speaking that applies to
complex topics. It is: First, tell them what you’re going to tell
them. Then tell them. And, finally, tell them what 2 you told them.
I’m going to follow that rule today, and I will begin by making a
statement that I have carefully crafted to be as shocking as
possible. That’s primarily because I want you to remember it. When I
tell you what I’m going to tell you, I know that, for many of you,
it will sound absurd, and you’ll think I have gone completely out of
Then, for the main body of my
presentation, I will tell you what I told you by presenting facts to
prove that everything I said actually is true. And, finally, at the
end, I will tell you what I told you by repeating my opening
statement; and, by then, hopefully, it will no longer seem absurd.
What I am going to tell you is this: Although it is commonly
believed that the War on Terrorism is a noble effort to defend
freedom, in reality, it has little to do with terrorism and even
less to do with the defense of freedom. There are other agendas at
work; agendas that are far less praiseworthy; agendas that, in fact,
are just the opposite of what we are told.
The purpose of this presentation is to
prove that, what is unfolding today is, not a war on terrorism to
defend freedom, but a war on freedom that requires the defense of
terrorism. That is what I’m going to tell you today, and you are
probably wondering how anyone in his right mind could think he could
prove such a statement as that. So let’s get right to it; and the
first thing we must do is confront the word proof. What is proof?
There is no such thing as absolute
proof. There is only evidence. Proof may be defined as sufficient
evidence to convince the observer that a particular hypothesis is
true. The same evidence that is convincing to one person may not
convince another. In that event, the case is proved to the first
person but not to the second one who still needs more evidence. So,
when we speak of proof, we are really talking about evidence.
It’s my intent to tell you what I told you by developing the case
slowly and methodically; to show motive and opportunity; to
introduce eyewitnesses and the testimony of experts. In other words,
I will provide evidence – upon evidence – upon evidence until the
mountain is so high that even the most reluctant skeptic must
conclude that the case has been proved.
Where do we find this evidence? The first place to look is in
history. The past is the key to the present, and we can never fully
understand where we are today unless we know what path we traveled
to get here.
It was Will Durant who said:
“Those who know nothing about
history are doomed forever to repeat it.”
Are we doomed to repeat history in the
war on terrorism? If we continue to follow the circular path we are
now taking, I believe that we are. But to find out if that is true,
we need to go back in time. So, I invite you to join me, now, in my
time machine. We are going to splash around in history for a while
and look at some great events and huge mistakes to see if there are
parallels, any lessons to be learned for today. I must warn you: it
will seem that we are lost in time.
We are going to go here and there, and
then jump back further, and then forward in time, and we will be
examining issues that may make you wonder “What on earth has this to
do with today?” But I can assure you, when we reach the end of our
journey, you will see that everything we cover has a direct
relevance to today and, in particular, to the war on terrorism.
Now that we are in our time machine, we turn the dial to the year
1954 and, suddenly, we find ourselves in the plush offices of the
Ford Foundation in New York City. There are two men seated at a
large, Mahogany desk, and they are talking. They cannot see or hear
us, but we can see them very well. One of these men is Rowan
Gaither, who was the 3 President of the Ford Foundation at that
time. The other is Mr. Norman Dodd, the chief investigator for what
was called the Congressional Committee to Investigate Tax Exempt
Foundations. The Ford Foundation was one of those, so he is there as
part of his Congressional responsibilities.
I must tell you that it was in 1982 that I met Mr. Dodd in his home
state of Virginia where, at the time, I had a television crew
gathering interviews for a documentary film. I had previously read
Mr. Dodd’s testimony and realized how important it was; so, when our
crew had open time, I called him on the telephone and asked if he
would be willing to make a statement before our cameras, and he
said, “Of course.” I’m glad we obtained the interview when we did,
because Dodd was advanced in years, and it wasn’t long afterward
that he passed away.
We were very fortunate to capture his
story in his own words. What we now are witnessing from our time
machine was confirmed in minute detail twenty years later and
preserved on video.
In any event, we are now in the year 1954, and we hear Mr. Gaither
say to Mr. Dodd,
“Would you be interested in
knowing what we do here at the Ford Foundation?” And Mr. Dodd
says, “Yes! That’s exactly why I’m here. I would be very
Then, without any prodding at all,
“Mr. Dodd, we operate in response to
directives, the substance of which is that we shall use our
grant making power to alter life in the United States so that it
can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union.”
Dodd almost falls off of his chair when
he hears that. Then he says to Gaither,
“Well, sir, you can do anything you
please with your grant making powers, but don’t you think you
have an obligation to make a disclosure to the American people?
You enjoy tax exemption, which means you are indirectly
subsidized by taxpayers, so, why don’t you tell the Congress and
the American people what you just told me?”
And Gaither replies,
“We would never dream of doing such a thing.”
A STRATEGY TO
CONTROL THE TEACHING OF HISTORY
The question that arises in Mr. Dodd’s mind is: How would it be
possible for anyone to think that they could alter life in the
United States so it could be comfortably merged with the Soviet
Union and, by implication, with other nations of the world? What an
absurd thought that would be – especially in 1954.
require the abandonment of American concepts of justice, traditions
of liberty, national sovereignty, cultural identity, constitutional
protections, and political independence, to name just a few. Yet,
these men were deadly serious about it. They were not focused on the
question of if this could be done. Their only question was how to do
it? What would it take to change American attitudes? What would it
take to convince them to abandon their heritage in exchange for
The answer was provided by another powerful and prestigious
tax-exempt foundation, the Carnegie Endowment Fund for International
Peace. When Dodd visited that organization and began asking about
their activities, the President said,
“Mr. Dodd, you have a lot of
questions. It would be very tedious and time consuming for us to
answer them all, so I have a counter proposal. Why don’t you
send a member of your staff to our facilities, and we will open
our minute books from the very first meeting of the Carnegie
Fund, and your staff can go through them and copy whatever you
find there. Then you will know everything we are doing.”
Again, Mr. Dodd was totally amazed. He
observed that the President was newly appointed and probably had
never actually read the minutes himself. So Dodd accepted the offer
and sent a member of his staff to the Carnegie Endowment facilities.
Her name was Mrs. Catherine Casey who, by the way, was hostile to
the activity of the Congressional Committee. Political opponents of
the Committee had placed her on the staff to be a watchdog and a
damper on the operation.
Her attitude was:
“What could possibly be
wrong with tax-exempt foundations? They do so much good.”
So, that was the view of Mrs. Casey when
she went to the boardroom of the Carnegie Foundation. She took her
Dictaphone machine with her (they used magnetic belts in those days)
and recorded, word for word, many of the key passages from the
minutes of this organization, starting with the very first meeting.
What she found was so shocking, Mr. Dodd said she almost lost her
mind. She became ineffective in her work after that and had to be
given another assignment.
This is what those minutes revealed:
From the very beginning, the members of the board discussed how to
alter life in the United States; how to change the attitudes of
Americans to give up their traditional principles and concepts of
government and be more receptive to what they call the collectivist
model of society. I will talk more about what the word collectivist
means in a moment, but those who wrote the documents we will be
quoting use that word often and they have a clear understanding of
what it means.
Carnegie Foundation board
meetings, they discussed this question in a very scholarly fashion.
After many months of deliberation, they came to the conclusion that,
out of all of the options available for altering political and
social attitudes, there was only one that was historically
dependable. That option was war. In times of war, they reasoned,
only then would people be willing to give up things they cherish in
return for the desperate need and desire for security against a
deadly enemy. And so the Carnegie Endowment Fund for International
Peace declared in its minutes that it must do whatever it can to
bring the United States into war.
They also said there were other actions needed, and these were their
“We must control education in the
They realized that was a pretty big
order, so they teamed up with
the Rockefeller Foundation and the
Guggenheim Foundation to pool their financial resources to control
education in America – in particular, to control the teaching of
history. They assigned those areas of responsibility that involved
issues relating to domestic affairs to the Rockefeller Foundation,
and those issues relating to international affairs were taken on as
the responsibility of the Carnegie Endowment.
Their first goal was to rewrite the history books, and they
discussed at great length how to do that.
They approached some of the more
prominent historians of the time and presented to them the proposal
that they rewrite history to favor the concept of collectivism, but
they were turned down flat. Then they decided – and, again, these
are their own words,
“We must create our own stable of
They selected twenty candidates at the
university level who were seeking doctorates in American History.
Then they went to the Guggenheim Foundation and said,
“Would you grant fellowships to
candidates selected by us, who are of the right frame of mind,
those who see the value of collectivism as we do? Would you help
them to obtain their doctorates so we can then propel them into
positions of prominence and leadership in the academic world?”
And the answer was “Yes.”
So they gathered a list of young men who
were seeking their doctorate degrees. They interviewed them,
analyzed their attitudes, and chose the twenty they thought were
best 5 suited for their purpose. They sent them to London for a
briefing. (In a moment I will explain why London is so significant.)
At this meeting, they were told what would be expected if and when
they win the doctorates they were seeking. They were told they would
have to view history, write history, and teach history from the
perspective that collectivism was a positive force in the world and
was the wave of the future.
Now lets go to the words of Mr. Dodd, himself, as he described this
event before our cameras in 1982. He said:
This group of twenty historians
eventually formed the nucleus of the American Historical
Association. Then toward the end of the 1920’s the Endowment
grants to the American Historical Association $400,000 [a huge
amount of money in those days] for a study of history in a
manner that points to what this country can look forward to in
the future. That culminates in a seven-volume study, the last
volume of which is a summary of the contents of the other six.
And the essence of the last volume is, the future of this
country belongs to collectivism, administered with
characteristic American efficiency.1
complete transcript of Mr. Dodd’s testimony may be downloaded at no
charge from the web site of Freedom Force International,
www.freedom-force.org. The video
from which this was taken is entitled The Hidden Agenda and may be
obtained from The Reality Zone web site,
Now we must turn off our time machine
for a few moments and deal with this word collectivism. You are
going to hear it a lot. Especially if you delve into the historical
papers of the individuals and groups we are discussing, you will
find them using that word over and over. Although most people have
only a vague concept of what it means, the advocates of collectivism
have a very clear understanding of it, so lets deal with that now.
THE CHASM: TWO
ETHICS THAT DIVIDE THE WESTERN WORLD
There are many words commonly used today to describe political
attitudes. We are told that there are conservatives, liberals,
libertarians, right-wingers, left-wingers, progressives, socialists,
communists, Trotskyites, Maoists, Fascists, Nazis; and if that isn’t
confusing enough, now we have neo conservatives, neo Nazis, and neo
everything else. When we are asked what our political orientation
is, we are expected to choose from one of these words. If we don’t
have a political opinion or if we’re afraid of making a bad choice,
then we play it safe and say we are moderates – adding yet one more
word to the list. Yet, not one person in a thousand can clearly
define the ideology that any of these words represent.
They are used, primarily, as labels to
impart an aura of either goodness or badness, depending on who uses
the words and what emotions they trigger in their minds. For
example, what is a realistic definition of a conservative? A common
response would be that a conservative it a person who wants to
conserve the status quo and is opposed to change. But, most people
who call themselves conservatives are not in favor of conserving the
present system of high taxes, deficit spending, expanding welfare,
leniency to criminals, foreign aid, growth of government, or any of
the other hallmarks of the present order.
These are the jealously guarded bastions
of what we call liberalism. Yesterday’s liberals are the
conservatives of today, and the people who call themselves
conservatives are really radicals, because they want a radical
change from the status quo. It’s no wonder that most political
debates sound like they originate at the tower of Babel. Everyone is
speaking a different language. The words may sound familiar, but
speakers and listeners each have their own private definitions.
It has been my experience that, once the definitions are commonly
understood, most of the disagreements come to an end. To the
amazement of those who thought they were bitter ideological
opponents, they often find they are actually in basic agreement. So,
to deal with this word, collectivism, our first order of business is
to throw out the garbage. If we are to make sense of the political
agendas that dominate our planet today, we must not allow our
thinking to be contaminated by the emotional load of the old
It may surprise you to learn that most
of the great political debates of our time – at least in the Western
world – can be divided into just two viewpoints. All of the rest is
fluff. Typically, they focus on whether or not a particular action
should be taken; but the real conflict is not about the merits of
the action; it is about the principles, the ethical code that
justifies or forbids that action. It is a contest between the ethics
of collectivism on the one hand and individualism on the other.
Those are words that have meaning, and they describe a philosophical
chasm that divides the entire Western world.1
1 In the
Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, there is a third ethic
called theocracy, a form of government that combines church and
state and compels citizens to accept a particular religious
doctrine. That was common throughout early European Christendom and
it appeared even in some of the colonies of the United States. It
survives in today’s world in the form of Islam and it has millions
of advocates. Any comprehensive view of political ideology must
include theocracy, but time does not permit such scope in this
presentation. For those interested in the author’s larger view,
including theocracy, click below image.
The one thing that is common to both
collectivists and individualists is that the vast majority of them
are well intentioned. They want the best life possible for their
families, for their countrymen, and for mankind. They want
prosperity and justice for their fellow man. Where they disagree is
how to bring those things about.
I have studied collectivist literature for over forty years; and,
after a while, I realized there were certain recurring themes, what
I consider to be the six pillars of collectivism. If they are turned
upside down, they also are the six pillars of individualism. In
other words, there are six major concepts of social and political
relationships; and, within each of them, collectivists and
individualists have opposite viewpoints.
1. THE NATURE OF HUMAN RIGHTS
The first of these has to
do with the nature of human rights. Collectivists and
individualists both agree that human rights are important, but
they differ over how important and especially over what is
presumed to be the origin of those rights. There are only two
possibilities in this debate. Either man’s rights are intrinsic
to his being, or they are extrinsic, meaning that either he
possesses them at birth or they are given to him afterward. In
other words, they are either hardware or software.
Individualists believe they are hardware. Collectivists believe
they are software.
If rights are given to the individual after birth, then who has
the power to do that? Collectivists believe that is a function
of government. Individualists are nervous about that assumption
because, if the state has the power to grant rights, it also has
the power to take them away, and that concept is incompatible
with personal liberty.
The view of individualism was
expressed clearly in the United States Declaration of
Independence, which said:
We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of
Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are
instituted among men….
Nothing could be clearer than that.
“Unalienable Rights” means they are the natural possession of
each of us upon birth, not granted by the state. The purpose of
government is, not to grant rights, but to secure them and
By contrast, all collectivist political systems embrace the
opposite view that rights are granted by the state. That
includes the Nazis, Fascists, and Communists. It is also a tenet
the United Nations.
Article Four of the UN Covenant on
Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights says:
The States Parties to the
present Covenant recognize that, in the enjoyment of those
rights provided by the State … the State may subject such
rights only to such limitations as are determined by law.
I repeat: If we accept that the
state has the power to grant rights, then we must also agree it
has the power to take them away. Notice the wording of the UN
Covenant. After proclaiming that rights are provided by the
state, it then says that those rights may be subject to
limitations “as are determined by law.” In other words, the
collectivists at the UN presume to grant us our rights and, when
they are ready to take them away, all they have to do is pass a
law authorizing it.
Compare that with the Bill of Rights in the United States
Constitution. It says Congress shall pass no law restricting the
rights of freedom of speech, or religion, peaceful assembly, the
right to bear arms, and so forth – not except as determined by
law, but no law. The Constitution embodies the ethic of
individualism. The UN embodies the ethic of collectivism, and
what a difference that makes.
2. THE ORIGIN OF STATE POWER
The second concept that divides collectivism from individualism
has to do with the origin of state power. Individualists believe
that a just government derives its power, not from conquest and
subjugation of its citizens, but from the free consent of the
governed. That means the state cannot have any legitimate powers
unless they are given to it by its citizens. Another way of
putting it is that governments may do only those things that
their citizens also have a right to do. If individuals don’t
have the right to perform a certain act, then they can’t grant
that power to their elected representatives.
They can’t delegate what they don’t
Let us use an extreme example. Let us assume that a ship has
been sunk in a storm, and three exhausted men are struggling for
survival in the sea. Suddenly, they come upon a life-buoy ring.
The ring is designed only to keep one person afloat; but, with
careful cooperation between them, it can keep two of them
afloat. However, when the third man grasps the ring, it becomes
useless, and all three, once again, are at the mercy of the sea.
They try taking turns: one treading
water while two hold on to the ring; but after a few hours, none
of them have enough strength to continue. The grim truth
gradually becomes clear: unless one of them is cut loose from
the group, all three will drown. What, then, should these men
Most people would say that two of
the men would be justified in overpowering the third and casting
him off. The right of self-survival is paramount. Taking the
life of another, terrible as such an act would be, is morally
justified if it is necessary to save your own life. That
certainly is true for individual action, but what about
collective action? Where do two men get the right to gang up on
The collectivist answers that two men have a greater right to
life because they outnumber the third one. It’s a question of
mathematics: The greatest good for the greatest number. That
makes the group more important than the individual and it
justifies two men forcing one man away from the ring. There is a
certain logic to this argument but, if we further simplify the
example, we will see that, although the action may be correct,
it is justified by the wrong reasoning.
Let us assume, now, that there are only two survivors – so we
eliminate the concept of the group – and let us also assume that
the ring will support only one swimmer, not two. Under these
conditions, it would be similar to facing an enemy in battle.
You must kill or be killed. Only one can survive. We are dealing
now with the competing right of self-survival for each
individual, and there is no mythological group to confuse the
Under this extreme condition, it is
clear that each person would have the right to do whatever he
can to preserve his own life, even if it leads to the death of
another. Some may argue that it would be better to sacrifice
one’s life for a stranger, but few would argue that not to do so
would be wrong. So, when the conditions are simplified to their
barest essentials, we see that the right to deny life to others
comes from the individual’s right to protect his own life. It
does not need the so-called group to ordain it.
In the original case of three survivors, the justification for
denying life to one of them does not come from a majority vote
but from their individual and separate right of self survival.
In other words, either of them, acting alone, would be justified
in this action. They are not empowered by the group. When we
hire police to protect our community, we are merely asking them
to do what we, ourselves, have a right to do. Using physical
force to protect our lives, liberty, and property is a
legitimate function of government, because that power is derived
from the people as individuals. It does not arise from the
1 The related question of a right
to use deadly force to protect the lives of others is reviewed
in Part Four in connection with the White House order to shoot
down hijacked airliners if they pose a threat to ground
Here’s one more example – a lot less
extreme but far more typical of what actually goes on every day
in legislative bodies. If government officials decide one day
that no one should work on Sunday, and even assuming the
community generally supports their decision, where would they
get the authority to use the police power of the state to
enforce such a decree? Individual citizens don’t have the right
to compel their neighbors not to work, so they can’t delegate
that right to their government.
Where, then, would the state get the
authority? The answer is that it would come from itself; it
would be self-generated. It would be similar to the divine right
of ancient monarchies in which it was assumed that governments
represent the power and the will of God – as interpreted by
their earthly leaders, of course. In more modern times, most
governments don’t even pretend to have God as their authority,
they just rely on swat teams and armies, and anyone who objects
is eliminated. As that well-known collectivist, Mao Tse-Tung,
“Political power grows out of
the barrel of a gun.”
When governments claim to derive
their authority from any source other than the governed, it
always leads to the destruction of liberty. Preventing men from
working on Sunday would not seem to be a great threat to
freedom, but once the principle is established, it opens the
door for more edicts, and more, and more until freedom is gone.
If we accept that the state or any group has the right to do
things that individuals alone do not have the right to do, then
we have unwittingly endorsed the concept that rights are not
intrinsic to the individual and that they, in fact, do originate
with the state.
Once we accept that, we are on the
road to tyranny.
Collectivists are not concerned over such picky issues. They
believe that governments do, in fact, have powers that are
greater than those of their citizens, and the source of those
powers, they say, is, not the individuals within society, but
society itself, the group to which individuals belong.
3. GROUP SUPREMACY
This is the third concept that divides collectivism from
individualism. Collectivism is based on the belief that the
group is more important than the individual. According to this
view, the group is an entity of its own and it has rights of its
own. Furthermore, those rights are more important than
individual rights. Therefore, it is acceptable to sacrifice
individuals if necessary for “the greater good of the greater
How many times have we heard that?
Who can object to the loss of liberty if it is justified as
necessary for the greater good of society? The ultimate group,
of course, is the state. Therefore, the state is more important
than individual citizens, and it is acceptable to sacrifice
individuals, if necessary, for the benefit of the state. This
concept is at the heart of all modern totalitarian systems built
on the model of collectivism.
Individualists on the other hand say, “Wait a minute. Group?
What is group? That’s just a word. You can’t touch a group. You
can’t see a group. All you can touch and see are individuals.
The word group is an abstraction and doesn’t exist as a tangible
reality. It’s like the abstraction called forest. Forest doesn’t
exist. Only trees exist. Forest is the concept of many trees.
Likewise, the word group merely describes the abstract concept
of many individuals. Only individuals are real and, therefore,
there is no such thing as group rights. Only individuals have
Just because there are many individuals in one group and only a
few in another does not give a higher priority to the
individuals in the larger group – even if you call it the state.
A majority of voters do not have more rights than the minority.
Rights are not derived from the power of numbers. They do not
come from the group. They are intrinsic with each human being.
When someone argues that individuals must be sacrificed for the
greater good of society, what they are really saying is that
some individuals are to be sacrificed for the greater good of
other individuals. The morality of collectivism is based on
numbers. Anything may be done so long as the number of people
benefiting supposedly is greater than the number of people being
sacrificed. I say supposedly, because, in the real world, those
who decide who is to be sacrificed don’t count fairly.
Dictators always claim they
represent the greater good of the greater number but, in
reality, they and their support organizations comprise less than
one percent of the population. The theory is that someone has to
speak for the masses and represent their best interest, because
they are too dumb to figure it out for themselves. So
collectivist leaders, wise and virtuous as they are, make the 10
decisions for them. It is possible to explain any atrocity or
injustice as a necessary measure for the greater good of
Totalitarians always parade as
humanitarians. Because individualists do not accept group
supremacy, collectivists often portray them as being selfish and
insensitive to the needs of others. That theme is common in
schools today. If a child is not willing to go along with the
group, he is criticized as being socially disruptive and not a
good “team player” or a good citizen. Those nice folks at the
tax-exempt foundations had a lot to do with that. But
individualism is not based on ego. It is based on principle. If
you accept the premise that individuals may be sacrificed for
the group, you have made a huge mistake on two counts.
First, individuals are the essence
of the group, which means the group is being sacrificed anyway,
piece by piece. Secondly, the underlying principle is deadly.
Today, the individual being sacrificed may be unknown to you or
even someone you dislike. Tomorrow, it could be you. It takes
but a moment’s reflection to realize that the greater good for
the greater number is not achieved by sacrificing individuals
but by protecting individuals. Society is best served by
individualism, not collectivism.
We are dealing here with one of the reasons people make a
distinction between republics and democracies. In recent years, we
have been taught to believe that a democracy is the ideal form of
government. Supposedly, that is what was created by the American
Constitution. But, if you read the documents and the speech
transcripts of the men who wrote the Constitution, you find that
they spoke very poorly of democracy.
They said in plain words that a
democracy was one of the worst possible forms of government. And so
they created what they called a republic. That is why the word
democracy doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution; and, when
Americans pledge allegiance to the flag, it’s to the republic for
which it stands, not the democracy. When Colonel Davy Crockett
joined the Texas Revolution prior to the famous Battle of the Alamo,
he refused to sign the oath of allegiance to the future government
of Texas until the wording was changed to the future republican
government of Texas.1
Crockett: Parliamentarian,” by William Reed, National
Parliamentarian, Vol. 64, Third Quarter, 2003, p. 30.
The reason this is important is that the
difference between a democracy and a republic is the difference
between collectivism and individualism. In a pure democracy, the
majority rules; end of discussion. You might say, “What’s wrong with
that?” Well, there could be plenty wrong with that. What about a
lynch mob? There is only one person with a dissenting vote, and he
is the guy at the end of the rope.
That’s pure democracy in action.
“Ah, wait a minute,” you say. “The
majority should rule. Yes, but not to the extent of denying the
rights of the minority,” and, of course, you would be correct.
That is precisely what a republic
accomplishes. A republic is a government based on the principle of
limited majority rule so that the minority – even a minority of one
– will be protected from the whims and passions of the majority.
Republics are often characterized by written constitutions that
spell out the rules to make that possible. That was the function of
the American Bill of Rights, which is nothing more than a list of
things the government may not do. It says that Congress, even though
it represents the majority, shall pass no law denying the minority
their rights to free exercise of religion, freedom of speech,
peaceful assembly, the right to bear arms, and other “unalienable”
These limitations on majority rule are the essence of a republic,
and they also are at the core of the ideology called individualism.
And so here is another major difference between these two concepts:
collectivism on the one hand, supporting any government action so
long as it can be said to be for the greater good of the greater
number; and individualism on the other hand, defending the rights of
the minority against the passions and greed of the majority.
4. COERCION VS FREEDOM
The fourth concept that divides collectivism from individualism
has to do with responsibilities and freedom of choice. We have
spoken about the origin of rights, but there is a similar issue
involving the origin of responsibilities. Rights and
responsibilities go together. If you value the right to live
your own life without others telling you what to do, then you
must assume the responsibility to be independent, to provide for
yourself without expecting others to take care of you. Rights
and responsibilities are merely different sides of the same
If only individuals have rights, then it follows that only
individuals have responsibilities. If groups have rights, then
groups also have responsibilities; and, therein, lies one of the
greatest ideological challenges of our modern age.
Individualists are champions of individual rights. Therefore,
they accept the principle of individual responsibility rather
than group responsibility. They believe that everyone has a
personal and direct obligation to provide, first for himself and
his family, and then for others who may be in need. That does
not mean they don’t believe in helping each other. Just because
I am an individualist does not mean I have to move my piano
alone. It just means that I believe that moving it is my
responsibility, not someone else’s, and it’s up to me to
organize the voluntary assistance of others.
The collectivist, on the other hand, declares that individuals
are not personally responsible for charity, for raising their
own children, providing for aging parents, or even providing for
themselves. These are group obligations of the state. The
individualist expects to do it himself; the collectivist wants
the government to do it for him: to provide employment and
health care, a minimum wage, food, education, and a decent place
to live. Collectivists are enamored by government. They worship
government. They have a fixation on government as the ultimate
group mechanism to solve all problems.
Individualists do not share that faith. They see government as
the creator of more problems than it solves. They believe that
freedom of choice will lead to the best solution of social and
economic problems. Millions of ideas and efforts, each subject
to trial and error and competition – in which the best solution
becomes obvious by comparing its results to all others – that
process will produce results that are far superior to what can
be achieved by a group of politicians or a committee of
so-called wise men.
By contrast, collectivists do not trust freedom. They are afraid
of freedom. They are convinced that freedom may be all right in
small matters such as what color socks you want to wear, but
when it come to the important issues such as the money supply,
banking practices, investments, insurance programs, health care,
education, and so on, freedom will not work. These things, they
say, simply must be controlled by the government. Otherwise
there would be chaos.
There are two reasons for the popularity of that concept. One is
that most of us have been educated in government schools, and
that’s what we were taught. The other reason is that government
is the one group that can legally force everyone to participate.
It has the power of taxation, backed by jails and force of arms
to compel everyone to fall in line, and that is a very appealing
concept to the intellectual who pictures himself as a social
“We must force people to do what
we think they should do, because they are too dumb to do it
on their own. We, on the other hand, have been to school.
We’ve read books. We are informed. We are smarter than those
people out there. If we leave it to them, they are going to
make terrible mistakes. So, it is up to us, the enlightened
ones. We shall decide on behalf of society and we shall
enforce our decisions by law so no one has any choice. That
we should rule in this fashion is our obligation to
By contrast, individualists say,
“We also think we are right and
that the masses seldom do what we think they should do, but
we don’t believe in forcing anyone to comply with our will
because, if we grant that principle, then others,
representing larger groups than our own, could compel us to
act as they decree, and that would be the end of our
The affinity between intellectual
egotism and coercion was dramatically demonstrated by Canadian
law professor, Alan Young, who wrote an editorial in the March
28, 2004 edition of the Toronto Star. His topic was “hate
crimes,” and his solution was a classic example of the
The defining feature of the hate
criminal is stupidity. It is a crime born of intellectual
deficiency…. Criminal justice actually can do very little to
combat stupidity…. The hate criminal probably needs rigorous
deprogramming…. Just as some cancers require invasive
surgery, the hate crime needs intrusive measures… The usual
out-of-site, out-of-mind approach to modern punishment just
won’t work in this case. For crimes of supreme stupidity we
need Clockwork Orange justice – strapping the hate criminal
into a chair for an interminable period, and keeping his
eyes wide-open with metal clamps so he cannot escape from an
onslaught of cinematic imagery carefully designed to break
his neurotic attachment to self-induced intellectual
In the context of hate crime, I do
have some regrets that we have a constitutional prohibition on
cruel and unusual punishment.1
“Hate Criminal Needs Deprogramming,” by Alan Young, Toronto
Star, March 28, 2004, p. F7.
One of the quickest ways to spot a
collectivist is to see how he reacts to public problems. No matter
what bothers him in his daily routine – whether it’s littering the
highway, smoking in public, dressing indecently, bigotry, sending
out junk mail – you name it, his immediate response is “There ought
to be a law!” And, of course, the professionals in government who
make a living from coercion are more than happy to cooperate.
The consequence is that government just
keeps growing and growing. It’s a one-way street. Every year there
are more and more laws and less and less freedom. Each law by itself
seems relatively benign, justified by some convenience or for the
greater good of the greater number, but the process continues
forever until government is total and freedom is dead. Bit-by-bit,
the people, themselves, become the solicitor of their own
THE ROBIN HOOD
A good example of this collectivist mindset is the use of government
to perform acts of charity. Most people believe that we all have a
responsibility to help others in need if we can, but what about
those who disagree, those who couldn’t care less about the needs of
others? Should they be allowed to be selfish while we are so
The collectivist sees people like that
as justification for the use of coercion, because the cause is so
worthy. He sees himself as a modern Robin Hood, stealing from the
rich but giving to the poor. Of course, not all of it gets to the
poor. After all, Robin and his men have to eat and drink and be
merry, and that doesn’t come cheap. It takes a giant bureaucracy to
administer a public charity, and the Robbing Hoods in government
have become accustomed to a huge share of the loot, while the
peasants – well, they’re grateful for whatever they get.
They don’t care how much is consumed
along the way. It was all stolen from someone else anyway. The
so-called charity of collectivism is a perversion of the Biblical
story of the Good Samaritan who stopped along the highway to help a
stranger who had been robbed and beaten. He even takes the victim to
an inn and pays for his stay there until he recovers. Everyone
approves of such acts of compassion and charity, but what would we
think if the Samaritan had pointed his sword at the next traveler
and threatened to kill him if he didn’t also help? If that had
happened, I doubt if the story would have made it into the Bible;
because, at that point, the Samaritan would be no different than the
original robber – who also might have had a virtuous motive.
For all we know, he could have claimed
that he was merely providing for his family and feeding his
children. Most crimes are rationalized in this fashion, but they are
crimes nevertheless. When coercion enters, charity leaves.1
Individualists refuse to play this game. We expect everyone to be
charitable, but we also believe that a person should be free not to
be charitable if he doesn’t want to. If he prefers to give to a
different charity than the one we urge on him, if he prefers to give
a smaller amount that what we think he should, or if he prefers not
to give at all, we believe that we have no right to force him to our
be clear on this. If we or our families really were starving, most
of us would steal if that were the only way to obtain food. It would
be motivated by our intrinsic right to life, but let’s not call it
virtuous charity. It would be raw survival.
We may try to persuade him to do so; we
may appeal to his conscience; and especially we may show the way by
our own good example; but we reject any attempt to gang up on him,
either by physically restraining him while we remove the money from
his pockets or by using the ballot box to pass laws that will take
his money through taxation. In either case, the principle is the
same. It’s called stealing.
Collectivists would have you believe
that individualism is merely another word for selfishness, because
individualists oppose welfare and other forms of coercive
redistribution of wealth, but just the opposite is true.
Individualists advocate true charity, which is the voluntary giving
of their own money, while collectivists advocate the coercive giving
of other people’s money; which, of course, is why it is so popular.
One more example: The collectivist will
“I think everyone should wear
seatbelts. That just makes sense. People can be hurt if they
don’t wear seatbelts. So, let’s pass a law and require everyone
to wear them. If they don’t, we’ll put those dummies in jail.”
The individualist says,
“I think everyone should wear
seatbelts. People can be hurt in accidents if they don’t wear
them, but I don’t believe in forcing anyone to do so. I believe
in convincing them with logic and persuasion and good example,
if I can, but I also believe in freedom of choice.”
One of the most popular slogans of
“From each according to his ability,
to each according to his need.”
That’s the cornerstone of theoretical
socialism, and it is a very appealing concept. A person hearing that
slogan for the first time might say: “What’s wrong with that? Isn’t
that the essence of charity and compassion toward those in need?
What could possibly be wrong with giving according to your ability
to others according to their need?” And the answer is, nothing is
wrong with it – as far as it goes, but it is an incomplete concept.
The unanswered question is how is this to be accomplished? Shall it
be in freedom or through coercion?
I mentioned earlier that collectivists
and individualists usually agree on objectives but disagree over
means, and this is a classic example. The collectivist says, take it
by force of law. The individualist says, give it through free will.
The collectivist says, not enough people will respond unless they
are forced. The individualist says, enough people will respond to
achieve the task. Besides, the preservation of freedom is also
important. The collectivist advocates legalized plunder in the name
of a worthy cause, believing that the end justifies the means. The
individualist advocates free will and true charity, believing that a
worthy objective does not justify committing theft and surrendering
There is a story of a Bolshevik revolutionary who was standing on a
soapbox speaking to a small crowd in Times Square. After describing
the glories of socialism and communism, he said: “Come the
revolution, everyone will eat peaches and cream.” A little old man
at the back of the crown yelled out: “I don’t like peaches and
cream.” The Bolshevik thought about that for a moment and then
replied: “Come the revolution, comrade, you will like peaches and
This, then, is the fourth difference between collectivism and
individualism, and it is perhaps the most fundamental of them all:
collectivists believe in coercion; individualists believe in
5. EQUALITY VS. INEQUALITY UNDER LAW
The fifth concept that divides
collectivism from individualism has to do with the way people
are treated under the law. Individualists believe that no two
people are exactly alike, and each one is superior or inferior
to others in many ways but, under law, they should all be
treated equally. Collectivists believe that the law should treat
people unequally in order to bring about desirable changes in
society. They view the world as tragically imperfect.
They see poverty and suffering and
injustice and they conclude that something must be done to alter
the forces that have produced these effects. They think of
themselves as social engineers who have the wisdom to
restructure society to a more humane and logical order. To do
this, they must intervene in the affairs of men at all levels
and redirect their activities according to a master plan. That
means they must redistribute wealth and use the police power of
the state to enforce prescribed behavior.
The consequence of this mindset can be seen everywhere in
society today. Almost every country in the world has a tax
system designed to treat people unequally depending on their
income, their marital status, the number of children they have,
their age, and the type of investments they may have. The
purpose of this arrangement is to redistribute wealth, which
means to favor some classes over others. In some cases, there
are bizarre loopholes written into the tax laws just to favor
one corporation or one politically influential group.
Other laws provide tax-exemption and subsidies to favored groups
Inequality is the whole purpose of these laws.
In the realm of social relationships, there are laws to
establish racial quotas, gender quotas, affirmative-action
initiatives, and to prohibit expressions of opinion that may be
objectionable to some group or to the master planners. In all of
these measures, there is an unequal application of the law based
on what group or class you happen to be in or on what opinion
you hold. We are told that all of this is necessary to
accomplish a desirable change in society.
Yet, after more than a hundred years
of social engineering, there is not one place on the globe where
collectivists can point with pride and show where their master
plan has actually worked as they predicted. There have been many
books written about the collectivist utopia, but they never
materialized in the real world. Wherever collectivism has been
applied, the results have been more poverty than before, more
suffering than before, and certainly more injustice than before.
There is a better way. Individualism is based on the premise
that all citizens should be equal under law, regardless of their
national origin, race, religion, gender, education, economic
status, life style, or political opinion. No class should be
given preferential treatment, regardless of the merit or
popularity of its cause. To favor one class over another is not
equality under law.
6. PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
When all of these factors are considered together, we come to
the sixth ideological division between collectivism and
individualism. Collectivists believe that the proper role of
government should be positive, that the state should take the
initiative in all aspects of the affairs of men, that it should
be aggressive, lead, and provide. It should be the great
organizer of society.
Individualists believe that the proper function of government is
negative and defensive. It is to protect, not to provide; for if
the state is granted the power to provide for some, it must also
be able to take from others, and once that power is granted,
there are those who will seek it for their advantage.
It always leads to legalized plunder
and loss of freedom. If government is powerful enough to give us
everything we want, it is also powerful enough to take from us
everything we have. Therefore, the proper function of government
is to protect the lives, liberty, and property of its citizens;
There is much more to be said than is permitted by the time
constraints of this presentation. One important issue is the
fact that there is a third category of human action that is
neither proper nor improper, neither defensive nor aggressive;
that there are areas of activity that may be undertaken by the
state for convenience – such as building roads and maintaining
recreational parks – provided they are funded, not from general
taxes, but entirely by those who use them.
Otherwise, some would benefit at the expense of others, and that
would be coercive re-distribution of wealth, a power
that must be denied to the state. These activities would be
permissible because they have a negligible impact on
freedom. I am convinced they would be more efficiently run and
offer better public service if owned and operated by
private industry, but there is no merit in being argumentative
on that question when much more burning issues are at
stake. After freedom is secure, we will have the luxury to
debate these finer points.
Another example of an optional
activity is the allocation of broadcast frequencies to radio and
TV stations. Although this does not protect lives, liberty, or
property, it is a matter of convenience to orderly
communications. There is no threat to personal freedom so long
as the authority to grant licenses is administered impartially
and does not favor one class of citizens or one point of view
Another example of an optional
government activity would be a law in Hawaii to prevent the
importation of snakes. Most Hawaiians want such a law for their
convenience. Strictly speaking, this is not a proper function
ofgovernment because it does not protect the lives, liberty, or
property of its citizens, but it is not improper either so long
as it is administered in such a way that the cost is borne
equally by all, not by some at the exclusion of others. It could
be argued that this is a proper function of government, because
snakes could threaten domestic animals that are the property of
its citizens, but that would be stretching the point. It is
exactly this kind of stretching of reason that demagogues use
when they want to consolidate power. Almost any government
action could be rationalized as an indirect protection of life,
liberty, or property.
The ultimate defense against word
games of this kind is to stand firm on the ground that forbids
funding in any way that causes a shift of wealth from one group
to another. That strips away the political advantage that
motivates most of the collectivist schemes in the first place.
Without the possibility of legalized plunder, most of the brain
games will cease. Finally, when issues become murky, and it
really is impossible to clearly see if an action is acceptable
for government, there is always a rule of thumb that can be
relied on to show the proper way: That government is best which
We hear a lot today about right-wingers versus left-wingers, but
what do those terms really mean? For example, we are told that
communists and socialists are at the extreme left, and the Nazis and
Fascists are on the extreme right. Here we have the image of two
powerful ideological adversaries pitted against each other, and the
impression is that, somehow, they are opposites. But, what is the
difference? They are not opposites at all. They are the same. The
insignias may be different, but when you analyze communism and
Nazism, they both embody the principles of socialism.
Communists make no bones about socialism
being their ideal, and the Nazi movement in Germany was actually
called the National Socialist Party. Communists believe in
international socialism, whereas Nazis advocate national socialism.
Communists promote class hatred and class conflict to motivate the
loyalty and blind obedience of their followers, whereas the Nazis
use race conflict and race hatred to accomplish the same objective.
Other than that, there is no difference between communism and
Nazism. They are both the epitome of collectivism, and yet we are
told they are, supposedly, at opposite ends of the spectrum!
There’s only one thing that makes sense in constructing a political
spectrum and that is to put zero government at one end of the line
and 100% at the other. Now we have something we can comprehend.
Those who believe in zero government are the anarchists, and those
who believe in total government are the totalitarians. With that
definition, we find that communism and Nazism are together at the
same end. They are both totalitarian. Why? Because they are both
based on the model of collectivism.
Communism, Nazism, Fascism and socialism
all gravitate toward bigger and bigger government, because that is
the logical extension of their common ideology. Under collectivism,
all problems are the responsibility of the state and must be solved
by the state. The more problems there are, the more powerful the
state must become. Once you get on that slippery slope, there is no
place to stop until you reach all the way to the end of the scale,
which is total government. Regardless of what name you give it,
regardless of how you re-label it to make it seem new or different,
collectivism is totalitarianism.
Actually, the straight-line concept of a political spectrum is
somewhat misleading. It is really a circle. You can take that
straight line with 100% government at one end and zero at the other,
bend it around, and touch the ends at the top. Now it’s a circle
because, under anarchy, where there is no government, you have
absolute rule by those with the biggest fists and the most powerful
weapons. So, you jump from zero government to totalitarianism in a
flash. They meet at the top.
We are really dealing with a circle, and
the only logical place for us to be is somewhere in the middle of
the extremes. We need government, of course, but it must be built on
individualism, an ideology with an affinity to that part of the
spectrum with the least amount of government possible instead of
collectivism with an affinity to the other end of the spectrum with
the most amount of government possible. That government is best
which governs least.
Now, we are finally ready to re-activate our time machine. The last
images still linger before us. We still see the directors of the
great tax-exempt foundations applying their vast financial resources
to alter the attitudes of the American people so they will accept
the merger of their nation with totalitarian regimes; and we still
hear their words proclaiming that,
“the future of this country belongs
to collectivism, administered with characteristic American
It’s amazing, isn’t it, how much is
contained in that one little word: collectivism.
- End of Part One -
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