I happened to be walking past the Ayn Rand selections in the fiction section of a bookstore last night and spotted an edition of Anthem that I had not seen before. When I opened it up, I noticed a passage from Ayn Rand’s introduction to the book’s 1946 edition that I had forgotten about and which struck me as being extremely timely in today’s context:
The greatest guilt today is that of people who accept collectivism by moral default; the people who seek protection from the necessity of taking a stand, by refusing to admit to themselves the nature of that which they are accepting; the people who support plans specifically designed to achieve serfdom, but hide behind the empty assertion that they are lovers of freedom, with no concrete meaning attached to the word; the people who believe that the content of ideas need not be examined, that principles need not be defined, and that facts can be eliminated by keeping one’s eyes shut. They expect, when they find themselves in a world of bloody ruins and concentration camps, to escape moral responsibility by wailing: “But I didn’t mean this!”
Those who want slavery should have the grace to name it by its proper name. They must face the full meaning of that which they are advocating or condoning; the full, exact, specific meaning of collectivism, of its logical implications, of the principles upon which it is based, and of the ultimate consequences to which these principles will lead.
They must face it, then decide whether this is what they want or not.
Isn’t that a perfect description of today’s liberals and self-described moderates? I say “liberals” as opposed to “Leftists” because Leftists are those who already have decided that slavery is what they want but dare not call it by its proper name lest the people they wish to enslave catch on.
One positive trend I have noticed recently is that, despite whatever disagreements I might have with them, a number of conservative commentators, especially on talk radio, are beginning to call a spade a spade. When I first became aware of politics as a teenager, one of the things that frustrated me was the fact that there was, at the time, an almost unspoken rule even among staunch conservatives that to refer to socialism as “socialism” in public was a huge no-no that would immediately place one in the ranks of the kook fringe.
Today, even New York Times reporters dare utter the word and question the President about it. Some commentators are beginning to use terms such as “authoritiarian” and “collectivism” and radio talk show host Mark Levin has been regularly using the term “statist” over the past several months. Such terminology is not only accurate, it is very much needed right now. Accurate terminology makes it more difficult for the better sorts of liberals and moderates to continue practicing their evasion and it enables those who usually do not pay all that much attention to politics to more quickly grasp what is going on and what is at stake.
The only downside is that it does have the effect of further radicalizing and emboldening the Leftists. People who have no illusions that what they are after is slavery and power for the sake of power are far less squeamish when it comes to “breaking a few eggs” in order to make their omlets. We can only hope that as the Leftists become increasingly bold and thuggish sufficient numbers of liberals, moderates and non-participants still have within them what it takes to wake up and realize what is happening.