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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:What Is Independence?

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I think a quotation about the virtue of independence is in order, what with Independence Day coming so soon after the upset victory of a self-proclaimed "democratic socialist" over an incumbent in a New York congressional primary.

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[An] error is committed by the man who declares that since man must be guided by his own independent judgment, any action he chooses to take is moral if he chooses it. One's own independent judgment is the means by which one must choose one's actions, but it is not a moral criterion nor a moral validation: only reference to a demonstrable principle can validate one's choices. [Ayn Rand, in "Introduction," The Virtue of Selfishness, p. x.]
When the left isn't fawning over this new politician, it's busy "explaining" what an unalloyed good democratic socialism supposedly is, without even lip service to the idea that one might want to question that evaluation, or any mention of how one ought to go about doing so. All one has to do to bring about paradise, apparently, is to vote for one of them.

In the meantime, the right isn't offering a very compelling alternative, even though it has mountains of facts on its side: Not merely has socialism caused misery every time it has been tried, but America and the rest of the semi-capitalist world have a level of prosperity never seen in human history. The problem of the right is that most on this side value human prosperity, but won't question the morality -- which they share with the left -- that condemns everything that makes this prosperity possible.

Now, more than ever, we need to "put the independence back in Independence Day," as Michael Berliner once put it. One cannot celebrate freedom -- or enjoy it for long -- without even knowing what it is. And one cannot know anything without thinking for himself.

-- CAV

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