The most powerful force in nature
It’s just an electric impulse in the brain that fires through synapses and along nerves. Yet that impulse fires the mind and gives rise to the most powerful force in nature: the lowly idea. Every great nation and every great philosophy started as an idea. Every great evil also started as an idea.
Like the fluttering wings of a butterfly, ideas flit through our minds. These ideas determine our actions. Our actions determine our lives. But it all starts with the lowly electrical impulse that becomes an idea. Taking ideas into our conscious mind, applying rational and disciplined processes to those ideas, we arrive at a conclusion, another idea, perhaps a little bit better at guiding our lives. That’s certainly a deeper understanding, and one based on rational processes.
What determines a good idea and differentiates it from an evil idea? The bedrock of a simple principle. Ideas are powerful, but the principle over which all ideas flit is immutable.
I submit that that principle — the differentiator between good and evil — is the sanctity of the individual. It’s the freedom to make one’s choices and live by them, without outside force. This concept gives rise to all great religions, philosophies, and nations.
The evil opposite of individual freedom is control — the abrogation of one’s ability to act as he sees fit within the laws established. The instrument by which all tyrants take control is an entity called government. And the method by which they take control is a soothing idea that is false and leads to serfdom, to control. The greatest mass murderers used governments to enact their terror. They choose control over all else. Using this criterion, evil is easy to spot.
If this evil starts with an idea, then it can be stopped with another idea. As we plumb the depths of an idea based on individual freedom, our actions are directed thereby. If I want to live in freedom, I must respect the other person’s rights, too. If I don’t like to be controlled, then I cannot act to control another.
The great insanity in the world today will stop when we individuals embrace the concept, the principle, of freedom. Then we will act in mutual respect for ideas that may be foreign to us but are based on the principle.
Jay Davidson is founder and CEO of a commercial bank. He is a student of the Austrian School of Economics and a dedicated capitalist. He believes there is a direct connection joining individual right and responsibility, our Constitution, capitalism, and the intent of our Creator.