When is the last time you sat down and thought about what it would take to build a bare bones nation from the ground up? Would it surprise you in the least that the most obvious things needed for nation building are actually the least important? For the sake of argument, however, let’s go through the process. What’s the very first thing we’d need to create our nation-to-be?
The very first thing must be an astounding amount of dirt (everything and anything at about foot level and below, as well as all the stuff sprouting out of it). We’re already talking about an incredible amount of material, even for nations with geographically small footprints. This is an amount of “dirt” that, if it were delivered all at once to our doorstep one morning, would be more than most people could even comprehend.
The second thing our bare bones nation must have is people. This number can get amazingly small. We’re talking about a number of people that can fit into a modestly sized restaurant and still have enough genetic diversity to sustain the population. This number could be significantly reduced even more with a sufficiently liberal immigration policy. Suffice to say, with fewer than 200 people, we could have a functional population for our bar bones nation state.
We’ve got dirt, and we’ve got people, but we still don’t have anything that really defines a nation. Every nation in the world is composed of dirt and people. For the most part, people are just people, and dirt is just dirt. There is one more piece to the puzzle. The one thing that ultimately defines a nation, its people, and its culture.
“Ideology… is indispensable in any society if men are
to be formed, transformed and equipped to respond
to the demands of their conditions of existence.”
-Louis Althusser, Marxist Philosopher-
Who owns the land? Who owns the people? How do we decide? Do we get to decide at all? Were not many of these things decided long before we came along? Should we stop to think about the underlying assumptions that we’ve made our entire lives or allow those in media, in movies, in music, in politics, and behind golden microphones to tell us what we should and shouldn’t believe and, more importantly, why we believe anything at all?
It is ideology, not dirt and not people, that permeates a culture, defining who has power and what they can do with it. It is ideology, not dirt or people, that determines who owns the land. If the dominant ideology says that a king owns the land, then people will make sure that there is a king around to own the land. If the dominant ideology says that the state owns the land, then people will make sure that nobody but the state can own the land.
What about the people? Do we own ourselves? Again, this depends upon the dominant ideology. If the dominant ideology says that the king owns the people, then people will make sure that everyone submits to a king. If the dominant ideology says that the state owns the people, then people will make sure that the everyone submits to the state. Whether you are merely a subject of the nation of your birth or a free person depends entirely on ideology, not dirt or people.
In America, we once believed that people are free, because they were “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights“. Do we still believe this?
“There exists in man a mass of sense lying in
a dormant state, and which, unless something
excites it to action, will descend with him,
in that condition,to the grave.”
The chief purpose Liberty is For the Win has pursued is to awaken what Thomas Paine called our “mass of sense” from its dormancy, to force those who read these many words into a sudden and painful waking state. I seek to rouse you from your sleep so that you can discover that your room is filled with smoke, and you have only this drowsy moment to recognize your dire situation and to decide what to do about it. The good news is that the fire hasn’t reached you yet. The bad news is that there is, in fact, a fire.
In such a moment, what you believe is more important than almost anything else. Your beliefs, not your wealth, not your property, and not your political party should guide your actions. Since we have this moment in which to gather our wakefulness, what do we believe and, much more importantly, why do we believe it? Do we believe that we, as individuals, are entitled to rights and privileges by fact of our creation or do our rights and privileges depend upon the existence of a government?
If the latter, must we not endure even the worst of transgressions against us by the government or risk losing our rights entirely? If the former, are we entitled to do as the Founding Fathers did and reject all bonds of servitude, even nationality, in order to assert our rights and privileges as individuals? Which do you believe? Why do you believe it? Who, my friends, do you listen to?
Liberty is For The Win!