from The Psychology of Liberty
The Psychological Side Of The Negation Of Rights
The process of logic is typically ignored by a person who holds incorrect ideas and who acts on them. Without the primary vehicle of rational thought, conflicting emotions are fostered; inaccurate assessments of reality arise naturally from inaccurate identifications.
In such a psychological context, action can become destructive. However, one who initiates forcefor example, overt physical violencedoes not consider these consequences. While the person acts from an emotional state, he or she simultaneously avoids rational understanding of it. Feelings such as anger, malice, resentment, contempt, superiority, righteousness, inferiority, and fear can be instrumental in the act.
A person might want to act against the facts of reality in this way for a variety of reasons: to achieve purportedly moral ends impossible or improbable through voluntary means; to show supposedly that one is more powerful than others; to create the illusion that one can control the minds of people; to fulfill twisted fantasies of dealing with people like insentient matter or lower life forms; and finally, to act out a subconscious assessment of oneself that evidences a lack of self-respect and self-confidence. In fact, these motivations are interrelated. They all point to a fundamental sense of inadequacy and insecurity about asserting oneself in a coherent and rational fashion.
Instead of being sacrificed or being inferior to others, the person who resorts to violence promotes the other side of sacrifice. He or she becomes the one who sacrifices others. In doing so, the person engages in the impossible task of trying to prove wrong his or her feelings of inadequacy. Though evaluations can be right or wrong, feelings just are. Trying to prove feelings right or wrong is just another way to disown or deny them.
Rationalizations are used during this process to make actions seem reasonable. Rationalizations may stave off discomfiting self-images and an uncomfortable self-concept for a time. They may allow one to temporarily protect oneself and possibly deceive others. But, ultimately, one can never deceive the innermost self; one knows somewhere the game that is being played, and one pays a psychological price. Part of the psychological price is diminished self-respect and self-trust.
Additionally, a destructive cycle arises in which one distances oneself from important issues in the psyche. To differentiate right from wrong, truth from falsehood, the real from the unreal, becomes increasingly difficult. One has now made oneself ignorant of a large part of the self.
Pretensions and defensive attitudes are characteristics of people who find the use and examination of aspects of their mind burdensome, unimportant, and/or frightening. Typically, they choose not to stop in the midst of upsetting emotions to examine them. If they did, then behavior would likely not be so harmful to self and others.
As noted, force is the antithesis of rationality. Our rights are violated through the initiation of force. This conclusion is drawn from a long chain of logical abstractions. Without the identification that we possess the survival faculties of reason and volition, we could never fully grasp the concept of rights. We could not arrive at a sound principle, and apply it properly to any circumstance.
Because survival for us means living as rational beings, initiating force against others for survivals sake is plainly a contradiction in terms. Therefore, it is not a practical way to survive. Yet some may believe that if one can accomplish actions of evil, then one wins, like a bank robber who pulls off his escapade and never gets caught.
Certainly from a physical standpoint, a person might benefit from such actions. But what actually gives physical things meaningful value? In order to authentically appreciate and enjoy ones material values (or any value for that matter), they must be accompanied by the recognition that one has earned them and that one deserves them. Following from ones accomplishments should be the belief that one has made the right choicesthat one has acted appropriately, in mind and in action (which directly involves the virtue of integrity). To not feel that this has occurred puts one in a pathetic condition. Though this condition can sometimes happen to any person with distorted self-worth (irrespective of his or her correct actions), it exists largely for those who decide to get something for nothing at the expense of others.
Of course, one can have certain subjective views about earning and deserving. Such views allow one to tolerate living with oneself by making contradictory actions somehow seem reasonable. This policy undoubtedly has injurious psychological consequences that merely add to previous mental torment. Although some might say, for instance, that a criminal enjoys what he obtains, this perverted joy has little to do with mental health; his subconscious slowly gnaws away at him through guilt, anger, or anxiety.
Survival for humans must include psychological survival, which entails genuinely seeing oneself as being worthy of happiness. Clearly, this entails a high level of mental health. And few would argue that a high level of mental health means being mostly free of debilitating emotional repression and rationalization. Lastly, since initiatory force is an action based on the premise of death, retaliation against it is an action based on the premise of life. Self-defense involves fighting for ones life, if the circumstances arise. The person who infringes on anothers rights ought to expect justice to be served.
To allow acts of unprovoked force to be perpetrated without any response is basically to endorse them. Rand called this phenomenon sanction of the victim.82 Many atrocities in history as well as corrupt social and political philosophies have depended on it. Even in todays vast context of knowledge, in which human rights are mentioned commonly in political discussions, people still permit their rights to be infringed in many ways. One may even get the impression that some people do not want to understand the concept of rights. In fact, the term is used so loosely in current media and politics that a clear definition for it is apparently considered passé. Clear definitions are usually preempted by hopeless debates over derivative issuesfor example, over violations of amendments contained in the Bill of Rights.
In a society where everyone realized the importance and inalienability of their rights, very few initiators of force would view their acts as practical for their survival and for achieving their goals. In such a society, these subhuman acts would be extinguishedand the perpetrators would instead have their own rights and freedoms diminished. Irrationality stays alive only by feeding off irrationality. When confronted with reason, the denial of reality is seen for what it is, and it is dealt with accordingly.
References (for entire book)
1 Anderson, Terry L. and Leal, Donald R. Free Market Environmentalism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1991.
2 Aristotle (English translation by Tredennick, Hugh; In Twenty-Three Volumes) XVII. The Metaphysics (Book I-IX). Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1975.
3 Bakunin, Michael. God and the State. New York: Dover, 1970.
4 Barnett, Randy E. The Structure of Liberty. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
5 Benson, Bruce L. The Enterprise of Law. San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1990.
6 Binswanger, Harry. The Biological Basis of Teleological Concepts. Marina del Ray, CA: The Ayn Rand Institute Press, 1990.
7 . Volition as Cognitive Self-Regulation. Oceanside, CA: Second Renaissance Books, 1991.
8 Bowker, John. The Meanings of Death. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
9 Branden, Nathaniel. The Disowned Self. New York: Bantam Books, 1973.
10 . The Psychology Of Self-Esteem. New York: Bantam Books, 1979.
11 . The Psychology Of Romantic Love. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.
12 . Honoring The Self. New York: Bantam Books, 1985.
13 . How To Raise Your Self-Esteem. New York: Bantam Books, 1988.
14 . The Art Of Self-Discovery. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.
15 . The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem. New York: Bantam Books, 1994.
16 Burns, David D. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. New York: Avon Books, 1992.
17 Campbell, Bernard. Human Evolution. New York: Aldine, 1985.
18 Clark, Grahame and Piggott, Stuart (IntroductionThe History of Human SocietyEdited by Plumb, J. H.). Prehistoric Societies. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965.
19 Cohen, Ronald and Service, Elman R. (Editors). Origins of the State. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1978.
20 Darwin, Charles. The Origin Of Species. New York: Mentor, 1958.
21 Davies, Paul. The Cosmic Blueprint. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.
22 Dawkins, Richard. The Extended Phenotype. Oxford: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1982.
23 . The Blind Watchmaker. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1987.
24 . River Out of Eden. New York: Basic Books, 1995.
25 . Climbing Mount Improbable. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996.
26 Diamond, Stanley. In Search of the Primitive. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1974.
27 Diringer, David. The Alphabet. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1968.
28 Dressel, Paul. Facts and Fancy in Assigning Grades. Basic College Quarterly, 2 (1957), 6-12.
29 Eliade, Mircea. Myth And Reality. New York: Harper & Row, 1975.
30 Eltzbacher, Paul. Anarchism. Plainview, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1960.
31 Friedman, Milton. Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.
32 Ginott, Haim G. Teacher and Child. New York: Macmillan, 1972.
33 . Between Parent and Child. New York: Macmillan, 1973.
34 Glasser, William. Schools Without Failure. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.
35 . The Quality School. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
36 Gleick, James. Chaos. New York: Penguin, 1987.
37 Guerin, Daniel. Anarchism. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970.
38 Heidel, William A. The Heroic Age of Science. Baltimore: The Williams & Wilkins Company, 1933.
39 Holt, John. Freedom and Beyond. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1972.
40 . Instead of Education. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1976.
41 Hurd, Michael J. Effective Therapy. New York: Dunhill Publishing Co., 1997.
42 Huxley, G. L. The Early Ionians. New York: Humanities Press, 1966.
43 Itzkoff, Seymour W. The Form of Man. Ashfield, Mass: Paideia, 1983.
44 . Triumph of the Intelligent. Ashfield, Mass: Paideia, 1985.
45 Kauffman, Stuart. At Home in the Universe. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
46 Kaufmann, Walter (Editor and translator). The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Penguin Books, 1982.
47 Keller, Helen. The Story of My Life. New York: Doubleday, Page, & Company, 1927.
48 Kohn, Alfie. Punished by Rewards. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.
49 Krader, Lawrence. Formation of the State. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1968.
50 Kramer, Joel and Alstad, Diana. The Guru Papers Masks of Authoritarian Power. Berkeley, CA: Frog, Ltd, 1993.
51 Kramer, Samual N. and The Editors of Time-Life Books. Cradle of Civilization. New York: Time, 1967.
52 Lane, Harlan. The Wild Boy of Aveyron. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1976.
53 Leakey, Richard E. and Lewin, Roger. Origins. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1977.
54 Lerner, Eric. The Big Bang Never Happened. New York: Times Books, 1991.
55 Levy-Bruhl, Lucien (Translated by Clare, Lilian A.). Primitive Mentality. London: George Allen & Unwin LTD (New York: Macmillan), 1923.
56 Lhoyld, G.E.R. Ancient Culture & Society Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle. London: Chatto & Windus, 1970.
57 Libecap, Gary D. Contracting For Property Rights. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
58 Lieberman, Philip. The Biology and Evolution of Language. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1984.
59 . Uniquely Human. Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press, 1991.
60 Machan, Tibor R. Human Rights and Human Liberties. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1975.
61 (Editor). The Libertarian Alternative. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1974.
62 (Editor). The Libertarian Reader. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Little-field, 1982.
63 Maximoff, G. P. The Political Philosophy of Bakunin: Scientific Anarchism. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1953.
64 Mises, Ludwig von. The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality. Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand, 1956.
65 Montessori, Maria. The Montessori Method. New York: Schocken Books, 1964.
66 (Translated by Costelloe, M. J.). The Secret of Childhood. New York: Ballantine Books, 1979.
67 (Translated by Joosten, A. M.). The Formation of Man. Adyar, Madras 20, India: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1965.
68 Nock, Albert J. Our Enemy, The State. New York: Arno Press & The New York Times, 1972.
69 Nozick, Robert. Anarchy, State, and Utopia. New York: Basic Books, 1974.
70 Peikoff, Leonard. Objectivism: The Philosophy Of Ayn Rand. New York: Meridian, 1993.
71 Penrose, Roger. Shadows of the Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
72 Pfeiffer, John E. The Emergence of Man. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.
73 Prabhavananda, S. and Isherwood, C. (Translators). The Song of God, Bhagavad-Gita. New York: Mentor, 1972.
74 Radin, Paul. The World of Primitive Man. New York: Henry Schuman, 1953.
75 Rand, Ayn. For The New Intellectual. New York: Signet, 1963.
76 . The Virtue of Selfishness. New York: Signet, 1964.
77 . Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. New York, Signet, 1967.
78 . The Fountainhead. New York: Signet, 1971.
79 . The Romantic Manifesto. New York: Signet, 1975.
80 . Philosophy: Who Needs It. New York: Signet, 1984.
81 . Introduction To Objectivist Epistemology. New York: Meridian, 1990.
82 . Atlas Shrugged. New York: Dutton, 1992.
83 . The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution. New York: Meridian, 1993.
84 Reisman, George. The Government Against The Economy. Ottawa: Caroline House, 1979.
85 Rensch, Bernhard (Translated by C.A.M. Sym). Homo Sapiens. New York: Columbia University Press, 1972.
86 Reps, Paul (Editor). Zen Flesh Zen Bones. New York: Anchor Books, 1989.
87 Rogers, Carl. Freedom To Learn for the 80s. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill, 1983.
88 Rothbard, Murray. What Has Government Done to Our Money?. Auburn, AL: Praxeology Press of the Ludvig von Mises Institute, 1990.
89 . For A New Liberty. New York: Macmillan, 1973.
90 Sacks, Oliver. Seeing Voices. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989.
91 Sagan, Carl. Cosmos. New York: Ballantine, 1985.
92 . The Demon-Haunted World. New York: Ballantine Books, 1996.
93 Samenow, Stanton E. Inside The Criminal Mind. New York: Times Books, 1984.
94 Schlatter, Richard. Private Property. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1951.
95 Service, Elman R. Primitive Social Organization. New York: Random House, 1971.
96 Sibley, Mulford Q. Political Ideas and Ideologies. New York: Harper & Row, 1970.
97 Spencer, Herbert. Social Statics. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1897.
98 Spooner, Lysander. Lets Abolish Government. New York: Arno Press & The New York Times, 1972.
99 Tannehill, Morris and Tannehill, Linda. The Market For Liberty [located in Society Without Government. New York: Arno Press & The New York Times, 1972.]
100 Tanner, Nancy M. On Becoming Human. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981.
101 Trefil, James. Are We Unique?. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1997.
102 Tzu, Lao (Translated by Lau, D. C.). Tao Te Ching. London: Penguin Books, 1963.
103 Wollstein, Jarret B. Society Without Coercion [located in Society Without Government. New York: Arno Press & The New York Times, 1972.]