Thursday, April 2, 2015

Who Owns Us?

On Mises, Roger McKinney discusses Inventing the Individual by Larry Siedentop.  If you are interested, you can follow the link to Mises and hit the Amazon link in the article.

Classical liberal individualism did not exist in the ancient world. Siedentop wrote, “Since the sixteenth century and the advent of the nation-state, people in the West have come to understand ‘society’ to mean an association of individuals.” For the ancient Romans and Greeks society consisted of a collection of extended families. The heads of the families, including family-based clans and tribes, held all the power and made all of the decisions. Only the heads of families could become citizens in the polis.

 It took a long time for Paul's words in Galatians 3:28 to have much bearing on the social
order:  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  In a world with lords and slaves, castes and aristocracies, individual worth and freedom did not always count for much. 

McKinney concludes:

Classical liberal individualism does not exist in the modern world outside of the US and Europe, and it is dying here. The collectivist cultures of the rest of the world differ little from those of ancient Greece and Rome. If economists and politicians understood the uniqueness of classical liberalism, they would quit trying to pour new wine into old wine skins, which causes the old to explode. And they would mourn the rise of socialism.

 Storm warning.


  1. Indeed. There lies the key: undertstanding classical liberal individualism.
    If conservatives cannot break the death grip of public indoctrination education then things will certainly get worse.

    Parents and grandparents too have a great responsibility to teach younger generations how crucial individual liberty is, and why it only hurts them to allow the govt. to make their decisions for them.

    The left has spent over 100 years taking over most of our education systems so it would take a long while to reverse all the damage they have caused, although there is a very slim chance it can be done.

    Essentially, most conservatives wanna teach their children to think for themselves while leftists wanna teach everyone, force everyone to allow the state to think for them.

  2. Yes, I appreciate what people like Van are doing with regard to education here in MO. We have to take the long view.