From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr
Recently I read an interesting essay about the American self-understanding of individual rights versus government overreach. It was about the perceived sacred right of private gun ownership. American society, the author criticized, is about the only one that values freedom over life. This is what makes America so unique, and the same thirst for freedom – back then in a justified way – had already led to the separation of the former American colonies from the British colonial yoke, at a time when this world was quite different from today.
This may well be true – and if it really is, many things would have to change today in people’s mind. The American problems are not too difficult to identify, provided that the ubiquitous partisanship does not resonate in the assessment.
For a more just society it is undoubtedly necessary that the collective good of the community stands decisively above the individual interests of few people and institutions, which are legally granted special rights through the power of their money – and from which the masses have to suffer. There are only two ways that can stop such a tragic development: Either governmental intervention, or a revolution from the bottom up.
It is sometimes hard to grasp what Americans think when it comes to individual rights. Because what most of them pray for actually signals something quite different compared to what is going on in their heads.
Aren’t brotherhood and mutual compassion the noble goals of an upright Christian? Oddly enough, they coincide with the goals of communism: We are all brothers and sisters – that is their common confession. As a consequence of such credo, the common good takes precedence over self-interest. The strange thing is that mankind has never put into practice either of these ideals, as much as they invoked them throughout human history.
Power, greed and egoism always stood in the way, but unfortunately also the stupidity of clueless pretenders who pray to their God and see no contradiction between their precepts and their actual behavior, including their views. If they would – Donald J. Trump could never have received a single vote from a “Christian” electorate, which in reality turned out his strongest base.
Abused power and injustice remain untouched as long as there are gullible people with limited horizons who make themselves stooges of a wrong cause.