False Guilt and The Common Good

By Susan Callaway, Editor

Republished from November 30, 2009

My father’s favorite saying was about the man who complained he had no shoes, until he met the man who had no feet.

Properly understood, that would lead one to appreciate what they had and, probably, to sympathize with the person who had less. But, Dad would go on to say that, unless you had chopped off the other guy’s feet yourself, you were not responsible for him in any way.

He might have been born that way, or had been injured through no fault of his own. Or, just as possible, he might have been too lazy to take proper care of himself, or otherwise caused – or contributed to – his own condition.

Either way, you can feel sorry for him all you want, but that doesn’t make you responsible unless you actually did it to him. There is a fundamental difference here, vital to understand.

My mother had a friend who was not much of a cook, but very religious. Once in a while, we’d wind up there for a meal – which mother would turn into a serious lesson as soon as we got home. This lady never failed to tell the children to clean up their plates because “there are starving children in China” who would be grateful for what we didn’t want.

Of course there are starving children all over the world, and any good person would take advantage of a real opportunity to help a child anywhere, but the idea that we should assume some sort of personal guilt over it, let alone because of what we did or didn’t eat then, is tragic – and downright evil. The five and six year olds she said this to had no part in starving the Chinese children, and no responsibility to stop it – even if it were possible to mail them the leftovers.

This false guilt is exactly the burden socialism and many religions attempt to place on your back every minute of every day. They use your natural compassion and sympathy to impose the totally irrational idea that such guilt – and the theft of your life and property – could even hope to contribute anything to the well being or happiness of everyone else in the world. This is staggering, especially when you consider how many people actually fall for such a monstrous lie.

Examine your own conscience. What have you done, personally or by encouraging and supporting others, to harm another person? Your only honest guilt is for those actions. You owe them, and them alone whatever reparations are possible to make it right. You and I do not owe anything for actions taken by others, especially before we were born. And nobody not actually a victim of those wrongs is due any sort of compensation! You cannot logically assume guilt for other people, nor be liable for the debts of others unless you freely assume them.

This false guilt then leads to theft, murder and torture of other human beings in the name of a utopian “equality” of outcome – the idea that everyone must sacrifice their own life and needs for some nebulous “greater good,” never defined in any but the most global, irrational terms.

What is “the greater good?” Is it universal misery and poverty? That is the usual outcome of such thinking when the individual is denigrated and abused.

The world has seen many examples of this, but people foolishly continue to dream that the next round of theft, murder and subjugation to the elite masters will produce something different. Do remember the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

On the other hand, the world has seen a few instances where individuals followed their own ultimate self interest, in voluntary cooperation and mutual support, and achieved unprecedented productivity, prosperity and peace. The early history of the US is a prime example.

Isn’t this, by far, more productive of the “common good” and a template for building ever more of the same? The more people who are productive and free to create, the more will be prosperous and happy because there is no limit to the creation of wealth and peace.

The fact that these examples were not universal, and often did not last long, does not remove the fact that they existed. These people were not perfect, by any means, and mankind has a long road to reach this state as more than a fleeting aberration in the long history of poverty, hate and ignorance…

But the choice for each of us seems very clear:

Individual sovereignty, self ownership and responsibility with integrity,
or slavery to false guilt, universal poverty, war and endless death.

I am an individual sovereign. I choose life.

About MamaLiberty

As a lifelong individualist and voluntarist, my philosophy can best be summarized here: No human being has the right -- under any circumstances -- to initiate force against another human being, nor to threaten or delegate its initiation. Self defense, and the defense of others, is a basic right of all living creatures. After a long career as a registered nurse in So. Calif, I retired in 2005 to NE Wyoming, living alone in my own log home, with good friends and neighbors all around. Biological family includes two grown sons and five grandchildren, unfortunately still in California. In addition to writing and editing, I garden, sew, cook and bake my own bread from home ground wheat and other grains. Hobbies include identification and cultivation of wild food and herbs. I am also a certified instructor for firearms and self defense. I carry a gun at all times.
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One Response to False Guilt and The Common Good

  1. DiabloLoco says:

    Great post Mama! Thought provoking.

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