Chapter Overview: 29

Power of the Individual

Lone individuals have the power to accomplish good for humanity, and the power to resist evil.

Two individuals known personally to the author of this chapter, Dr. John McDonald and Betty Chinn, exemplify the power of a lone acting individual to accomplish good.

Dr. John McDonald brought paramedics and medical air transport service to Santa Rosa, California and a wider area that could be served by his emergency medical practice supplemented by medical air transport.

Dr. McDonald with REACH helicopter and two crew members

Dr. McDonald with REACH helicopter and two crew members

Betty Kwan Chinn has helped thousands of homeless people in Eureka, California by mitigating the harshness and deprivation of their existence. She has succeeded in helping many of them to find homes, employment, and return to productive life in society. She did it with no involvement of local or national government. She never asked anyone for money to help her. People were inspired by what she was doing and gathered round to help her.

Betty Kwan Chinn

Betty Kwan Chinn

Scientists working alone, for example Isaac Newton, have benefited mankind by discoveries that are the basis for the remarkable advances in living standards, medical science, public health, and speed of communication since the end of the 18th century.

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Jaime Escalante taught calculus to young people no one thought could learn it. Their success in mathematics started many out on a path to a far better life than they would have had otherwise.

Jaime Escalante

Jaime Escalante

Dissidents in the Soviet Union risked their freedom and even their lives to protest the tyrannical deprivation of individuals’ civil liberties by the dictators who ruled the Soviet Union.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) was arrested and imprisoned for writing a letter that contained remarks critical of dictator Joseph Stalin. Solzhenitsyn survived eight years of harsh imprisonment. The writings of Solzhenitsyn exposed the brutality and injustice of communist rule, the horror of Soviet prisons, the arbitrary arrests, executions, and imprisonments, and the misery of the lives of ordinary people under Russian communism. The writings and activities of Solzhenitsyn became so esteemed in the West that he was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsn at time of his award of Nobel Prize for literature.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn at time of his award of Nobel Prize for literature.

Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989) by his mid-20s had become an important physicist in the nuclear weapons research program of the Soviet Union. In 1957 he first expressed concern publicly over the radioactive hazards posed by nuclear test explosions in the atmosphere. Later he refused to continue working in the Soviet nuclear weapons research program. In a 1968 essay Sakharov criticized the Soviet state for hypocrisy, corruption, and violation of intellectual freedom. In the 1970s Sakharov began also to make public protests of human rights violations by the state. Sakharov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975.

Andrei Sakharov

Andrei Sakharov

Thomas Paine taught the world that humans did not need kings to rule them, and would be far better off without kings.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Henry David Thoreau taught that individuals should refuse to cooperate with the commands of the majority, via political democracy, if those demands conflicted with the individual’s conscience and with morality. Thoreau’s teaching influenced a few thinkers, and indirectly influenced millions of people who benefited from the moral independence and principles that Thoreau had awakened.

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau

In British-ruled India, sixty years after Thoreau’s essay about civil disobedience, Mahatma Gandhi declared that British rule was established in India with the cooperation of Indians and had survived only because of this cooperation. He posited that if Indians refused to cooperate, British rule would collapse. He was right.

Russian dissidents in the former Soviet Union may not have had Thoreau in mind. However, their actions and their refusal to submit silently to coercion were inspired by the same ideals that Thoreau espoused.

American popular singer Joan Baez (born 1941) was following the teaching of Thoreau in refusing to pay that part of the tax on her income that she viewed as going to finance the war in Vietnam.

In the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was another follower of Thoreau’s idea of civil disobedience. King advocated non-violent refusal to obey political laws that denied the civil rights of black Americans. By his moral leadership King became influential in ending legalized discrimination that relegated black Americans to second-class citizen status.

Andrew Galambos espoused the view that lone individuals would lead the way towards greater freedom for humanity; they would do so by innovating and developing those ideas, services, products, and companies that would provide for human security.

Security products and services have been created through a spontaneous, unplanned evolutionary process that has been developing over the past four centuries. This process became evident with the inception of the insurance industry in 17th century England and Holland. For what is the insurance industry but a spontaneous human cultural development to provide security?

The book of which this chapter is a part demonstrates that political states do not provide human security, but only the false simulacrum of security. Rather than security, political states cause discord and war; they attack and plunder the people they pretend to protect.

It appears to be inevitable that eventually the intellectual, ideological, and entrepreneurial leaders of human society, and much of the rest of society, will recognize the futility of politics and political states. As that recognition deepens and spreads, of necessity people will look to the free market place for those companies that provide real human security on a proprietary and non-coercive basis.

 

 

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