American Individualism as seen by Herbert Hoover
By Marvin Pirila
“Socialism…necessitates a bureaucracy of the entire population, in which, having obliterated the economic stimulation of each member, the fine gradations of character and ability are to be arranged in relative authority by ballot…or some form other form of tyranny.” Herbert Hoover, American Individualism, 1922, pp. 17-18.
“…the basic foundations of autocracy…class government…is as far apart from the rightful express of American individualism as the two poles.” Ibid., p. 18. “Autocracy…supposes that the good Lord endowed a special few with all of the divine attributes. It contemplates one human animal dealing to the other human animals his share of earth, of glory, and of immortality. The proof of the futility of these ideas does not lie alone in the grim failure of Germany, but it lies in the damage to our moral and social fabric from those who have sought economic domination in America…” Ibid., p. 19.
The economic domination in America now comes from government, who through stimulus spending, subsidies, and regulations control nearly everything. Ethanol subsidies were the mainstay of this industry for decades, even though it is a known lost cause. Extensive, choking building codes increase the cost to every owner immensely. Stimulus spending went to select industries like Solyndra, who went belly-up leaving taxpayers to burden the debt. The massive number of laws, regulations, and government agencies, like the EPA, has resulted in a government bureaucracy that has increasingly grown unfriendly to businesses.
Hoover made an amazing and prophetic statement that rings truer today. "Our social, economic, and intellectual progress is almost solely dependent upon the creative minds of those individuals [those rising to leadership] with imaginative and administrative intelligence who create or who carry discoveries to widespread application. No race possesses more than a small percentage of these minds in a single generation. But little thought has been given to our racial dependency upon them. Nor that our progress is in so large a measure due to the fact that with our increased means of communication these rare individuals are today able to spread their influence over so enlarged a number of lesser capable minds as to have increased their potency a million-fold." Ibid., pp. 22-23.
The boom of the Internet, Social Networks, Texting, Cell Phones, Cable, and the Main Stream News allows leadership, especially those in politics to sell whatever message they want to the lesser capable minds. President Obama is the perfect example. He had no legitimate resume for the presidency, but he appealed to the worries of the masses. He continues to maintain competitive poll numbers by distorting figures and leading headlines with misinformation. This misinformation is generally received as factual without most taking any time to research it. After three and a half years and a dismal record to run on, President Obama is doing everything he can to make the message about social issues, instead of economic ones. The polls show his methods are working.
"If democracy is to secure its authorities in morals, religion, and statesmanship, it must stimulate leadership from its own mass. Human leadership [must be] by the free rise of ability, character, and intelligence." Ibid., p. 24.
"Leadership cannot, no matter how brilliant, carry progress far ahead of the average of the mass of individual units. Progress of the nation is the sum of progress in its individuals. Acts and ideas that lead to progress are born out of the womb of the individual mind, not out of the mind of the crowd. The crowd only feels: it has no mind of its own which can plan. The crowd is credulous, it destroys, it consumes, it hates, and it dreams--but never builds. It is one of the most profound and import of exact psychological truths that man in the mass does not think but only feels. The mob functions only in a world of emotion. The demagogue feeds on mob emotions and his leadership is the leadership of emotion, not the leadership of intellect and progress. Popular desires are no criteria to the real need; they can be determined only by deliberative consideration, by education, by constructive leadership." Ibid. pp. 24-25.
Morals do not include trampling the constitution, eliminating National Prayer Day, and inciting class and social warfare. Class and social warfare is simple demagoguery, playing upon the emotions of homosexuals, the poor, and minority groups. Playing on the Trayvon Martin case, the 99% [allegedly], and Occupy Wall Street, President Obama has shown his hand. Obama, as a former community organizer and ACORN member, learned long ago, what it took to manipulate the masses by playing and keeping them in realms of emotion.
“Our individualism insists upon the divine in each human being. It rests upon the firm faith that the divine spark can be awakened in every heart. It was the refusal to compromise these things that led to the migration of those religious groups who so largely composed our forefathers. Our diversified religious faiths are the apothesis of spiritual individualism.” Ibid., p. 27.
The church concerns me today as it strays from current events such as homosexuality and abortion. They tend to be extremely neutral, condoning, and passive in order to maintain their congregation numbers. More and more church followers are subscribing to the right of individuals to be gay or to have an abortion. For the first time ever, our president has promoted the right to benefits for gays and abortion rights. It should come as no surprise to the public though, as Planned Parenthood receives government handouts and is a staunch supporter of this liberal president. The leader of the free world that endorses the rights of each individual fails to account for the life being murdered. The media is largely liberal, and conservative ideals are being eliminated from public school educations. How will the true message of God get out if everyone is watering it down?
[In reference to Russia] “Although socialism in a nation-wide application has now proved itself with rivers of blood and inconceivable misery to be an economic and spiritual fallacy and has wrecked itself finally upon the rocks of destroyed production and more degeneracy, I believe it to have been necessary for the world to have had this demonstration.” Ibid., p. 36.
“Democracy arises out of individualism and prospers through it alone.” Ibid., p. 48.
“To curb the forces in business which would destroy equality of opportunity and yet to maintain the initiative and creative faculties of our people are the twin objects we must attain. To preserve the former we must regulate that type of activity that would dominate. To preserve the latter, the Government must keep out of production and distribution of commodities and services. This is the deadline between our system and socialism. Regulation to prevent domination and unfair practices, yet preserving rightful initiative, are in keeping with our social foundations. Nationalization of industry or business is their negation.” Ibid., pp. 54-55.
The Universal Health Care plan proposed by President Obama is exactly the nationalization of an industry that Hoover proposed we protect ourselves against. The governments funding of Solyndra was a clear breach of the separation we must strive to maintain between government and the private sector.
“…progress must come from the steady lift of the individual and that the measure of national idealism and progress is the quality of idealism in the individual.” Ibid., p. 67.
“Most theorists who denounce our individualism as a social basis seem to have a passion for ignorance of its constructive ideals.” Ibid., p. 68.
“An even greater danger is the destructive criticism of minds too weak or too partisan to harbor constructive ideas. For such, criticism is based upon the distortion of perspective or cunning misrepresentation. There is never danger from the radical himself until the structure and confidence of society has been undermined by the enthronement of destructive criticism. Destructive criticism can certainly lead to revolution unless there are those willing to withstand the malice that flows in return from refutation.” Ibid., p. 68.
“There is no oratory so easy, no writing so trenchant and vivid as the phrase-making or criticism and malice—there is none so difficult as inspiration to construction.” Ibid., pp. 68-69.
“We cannot ever afford to rest at ease in the comfortable assumption that right ideas always prevail by some virtue of their own. In the long run they do. But there can be and there have been periods of centuries when the world slumped back toward darkness merely because great masses of men became impregnated with wrong ideas and wrong social philosophies. The declines of civilization have been born of wrong ideas.”
“The primary safeguard of American individualism is an understanding of it; of faith that it is the most precious possession of American civilization, and a willingness courageously to test every process of national life upon the touchstone of this basic social premise.” Ibid., p. 70.
Americans, be aware of the dangers in our midst. Socialism is not the answer but yet it sits in the wings of our growing government. We must get government out of the many enterprises it does not belong, demand the media reports the news -- not create it, and our leaders be held accountable for their missteps.