promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

Posts Tagged ‘individual rights’

Communism not so chic in Cuba

In protest on October 5, 2009 at 3:38 am

While the word communism brings to mind images of labor camps and breadlines for the Baby Boomers and before, my generation is more infatuated and less fearful of the ideology. Whether its Che Guevara T-shirts or the showing of Motorcycle Diaries in universities across the country — communism has somehow become considered chic among many of my peers.

I suppose we are the rebellious children of a society that has insisted on shoving capitalism down our throats.

However, less than 90 miles from Americas mainland, many of my peers seem to have a radically different opinion about the coolness of communism.

Meet Gorki Luis Águila Carrasco. He and his band, Porno para Ricardo (Porn for Ricardo), dont take this communist crap. Águila , 39, has been arrested twice in his home country of Cuba. First, in 2003 for drug charges he claims were politically motivated. The second time was in 2008 on a charge of dangerousness.

The Porno para Ricardo has been disrupting the political status quo in Cuba since their inception in 1998. Not only is their content sexually explicit, it is blatantly irreverent of Fidel Castro and his communist regime. In a 2007 interview with CNN, Águila said, “Communism is a failure — a total failure. Please. Leftists of the world — improve your capitalism.”

But Águila and his band arent the only young artists questioning their parents revolution. The film, Cuba RebelioN!, explores the rising alternative music scene in Cuba. Other bands included in the film are Cubas premier metal band, Escape, and the rap-rock band, QVA Libre.

American youth would be wise to keep their communism on T-shirts and buttons where it belongs. If they ever feel the need to advocate a political system theyve had no experience with, they should first listen to those who have.

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You vs. the ‘greater good’

In sovereignty on September 23, 2009 at 4:33 am

Nazism, Fascism, Socialism and Communism are simply different “isms” based on the philosophy of collectivism. The so-called “debate” that rages today between conservatives and liberals, right vs. left, Democrat and Republican, is simply a distraction which feeds off of these labels and their emotional associations. In reality, all differences stem from two different philosophies: collectivism and individualism.

Collectivism, as stated above, has manifested itself in totalitarian regimes. It is the idea that the group is more important than the individual. And, if necessary, the individual should be sacrificed for the “greater good.”

In contrast, individualism stresses independence and self-reliance while opposing most external forces on one’s choices, whether by society, or any other group or institution. Individualists, such as myself, do not believe in the force or coercion that collectivism proscribes. Instead, we hope to “shape” society by persuading and appealing to the intellect of others — having faith in their reason and charity.

An example of this is seatbelt law. While the collectivist uses the force of law to protect others, the individualist allows for the free choice of the individual — having faith in her reason.

Affirmative action is another example. While the well-meaning collectivist, once again, uses force to create a fair work environment, the individualist allows for the free choice and charity of the employer. The individualist believes only true charity is voluntary and that a free society creates such charity.

While individualists and collectivists may be at odds over how to best shape society by moral means, they are alike in their intent. For both collectivists and individualists care deeply about themselves, their families, their friends, their communities, their country and human kind as a whole.

Sometimes, a collectivist will tend to view the “rugged individualist” as callous and elitist, caring only for herself. In reality, this is the case with objectivism, as touted by Ayn Rand. Objectivism is at odds with altruism (the unselfish regard for others). Individualism is not. Just as there may be collectivists who are self-absorbed, so may there be individualists who are self-absorbed.

I am an individualist because I am an altruist. For me personally, the two are inseparable.