The Myth of Society
Ok, we’re going to wade into some muddy waters now.
Let’s begin with this statement. The concept of society is a myth. It is smoke and mirrors. An abstract.
Creating abstracts is merely a method humans use to group and categorize individual things to simplify our view of the world. For example – if we see an undetermined number of individual trees within an undefined geographic area and within an undefined proximity to each other – we confidently declare it to be a forest. We do not describe it by types of trees, ages of trees, sizes of trees, numbers of trees, distribution of trees, ratios of species or any other type of all-inclusive data. We simply call it forest. But what does forest tell you? Just that there are closely grouped trees in this vicinity.
What if we see 5 trees in a field – is it a forest? At what point does a group of trees become a forest? How close must the trees be to be considered part of the same forest?
Regardless of your answer, this is a pointless exercise. The forest does not exist. It is merely a mental abstract we create to refer to a closely situated group of individual trees. It is a description that is made collectively of things that exist individually, but it is important to understand that the description only exists in our brain. The trees exist individually whether we group them mentally or not. This is relatively harmless in this context, because it does not harm us to consider such categorization of inanimate objects. We are not depriving the trees of moral agency by mentally referring to them collectively.
When applied to people, however, the abstract categorization of individuals into some vague notion of a singular body such as a society becomes a very dangerous thing indeed.
Society cannot act. Society cannot feel. Society cannot think or reason. Society cannot do anything which can be describe as moral agency, because Society does not exist. Individuals exist. Individuals can act. Individuals can feel. Individuals can think and reason. Individuals can possess moral agency.
To be clear, society does not exist outside of our own individual brain and every person’s concept of society then is unique and distinct from any other individual’s concept of society. As John Galt pointed out in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, society means everyone else except one’s self. This is because at the base of it, I am a minority of one compared to society. I share some things in common with some members of society, but I stand unique from it. I exist apart from anyone’s mental construct of society. There is no existential connection between this mental grouping of people and the individuals themselves. Furthermore, I cannot in any sense comprehend or calculate for the entirety of humanity contained within the category of American citizen. So my sense of even an American “society” will always be incomplete. It is the same as standing in some random point of a vast forest and trying to account for all of the individual trees contained in portions of the forest I have never seen.
But if this is true from every individual’s perspective, then society can never exist in any sense of reality because no one can mental encapsulate the entirety of any society. The moment they try to describe society, they have immediately failed because no one can include every unique individual into such a description. It is why we use such a limited and poor mental tool such as this to begin with. It is just an abstract concept of society to offset for our limited understanding and expression.
So now we get to the heart of the issue. Who has the authority then to defines what society means and to then ascribe attributes to it? The defining of society by anyone other than yourself is the imposition of another person’s view or construct of society for your own. This then is the supplanting of your perceptions, beliefs and values with someone else’s because their perception of society is based entirely on their individual perceptions, beliefs and values.
And this concept of abstraction goes further when we talk about what type of future society the present society should become.
So if the politician’s concept of future description of “society” includes beliefs about how society should or should not behave, what it can or cannot do, what it allows or does not allow – that is unique to that politician. But it is dangerous because he has legislative or executive power to make his vision of society a reality through laws backed by the threat of violence (ie the power of the state).
This is the critical point – by enforcing a set of laws and norms onto current society to produce a future state society, what is actually happening is the unjust stealing of power from the individual to make the individual become something they may not wish to become because of another person’s vision of what they would prefer society to look like. In other words, appealing to society to create legislation in essence is nothing more that the taking of power and rights from the individual for the benefit of another group and is theft of individual moral agency, violation of individual rights and enslavement of the individual to the whims of another individual. Laws should never be written with the intention of creating some future abstract grouping!
Society is merely a tool of the tyrannical to impose sanctions on individuals and nothing more. It is an abstraction wielded with terrifying force against anyone who dares to question the rules and prescriptions of the political or ruling class. It supplants free will with political correctness, legislated morality and amounts to true slavery.
To clarify that long-winded explanation, understand that by treating all citizens as a COLLECTIVE, politicians are able to ignore the individual. This is why the abstract concept of a collective society is dangerous to the individual. It does not allow the individual to be an individual. It insists that he conforms to societal norms or face punishment or coercion by the state.
And now we come to the awesome fact that this is why the Constitution is a document of negative powers. It attempts to prevent exactly this type of power grab by the political class or by those who wish to subjugate their fellow citizens under their rule. It protects the rights of the individual. Laws are to be created that comply with the protection of the most vulnerable minority – the individual. Laws are not supposed to be created for the sake of any group however big or small, but for the sake of the individual. Nor is the government supposed to assume powers not granted to it by the individual.
Do I as an individual have the right to tell you want to believe, what to say, who to associate with, who to do business with? No I only have the right to believe what I believe, to say what I want to say, to associate with whom I wish to associate or do business with those I choose to do business with. Can I then give to an elected official the right to enforce any restrictions on those rights on you? No – I cannot.
In the end, who has given the politicians the right to determine what Americans should believe, say, express and who they can or cannot associate with? I do not possess any of those powers, so how can the state wield such power on my behalf?
The political class uses this notion of appealing to society to circumvent the restrictions on government power. It does not matter what politicians think society is or what it should become. What matters is whether or not my rights as an individual or the safety of my person and property are being protected by the government created to specifically protect those things. If anyone harms my person or property or violates my intrinsic rights, their motivation does not matter. The state has been empowered to punish them on my behalf for harming me. Motivation does not factor in at all. I am a free individual and another individual has harmed me.
Beyond this ability to protect me and seek justice on my behalf, the state has NO say in what I believe, what I think, who I love, who I marry, what I eat or drink, or anything other such matter or personal liberty. Nor does the state have the right to rob me trough taxation to set up arbitrary rules for any of those things. Do I have the right to tell you to limit the size of your soda? Then how can the state, who derives its powers from individuals possess such a right?
Well the state has an obligation to see to the health of society . . . really. Do I as an individual have any responsibility or power over your health including your eating habits? Then by what transfer of power to the state from individuals does the state obtain the authority to create such a responsibility or power?
Do you see it yet?
The political class are simply using this non-existent society as a means to expand their power at the expense of the individual. This is tyranny and slavery!