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Individuals and Institutions - Eternal Enemies

Throughout history, there has existed a constant and unrelenting struggle between the individuals of a society and the institutions dominating that society. The battle has never ceased and never will, for - like a litmus test - the conflict is a necessary measure of a culture at each stage of its evolution.

The "survival of the fittest" principle ensures that each opposing side must become steadily more clever and inventive in asserting its viewpoint if it wishes to dominate. However, an apparent victory by either side will never be total, for individuals and institutions cannot exist without the other. Thus we will always have an eternal conflict between liberty- minded individuals who have chosen "freedom" over "protection" and state-oriented collectivists who have chosen just the opposite.

Each entity - individual and institution - desires control over its own affairs at the expense of the other. No easy symbiosis is possible for individual and institutional goals are counter- productive and contradictory to each other. Group "rights" can never be completely reconciled with individual rights; the pendulum is merely pushed from one side to the other by prevailing forces.

What is most interesting is that institutions themselves are not formed by some mystical process of spontaneous generation. They are brought into this world by a collective act of individuals. Thus we see that individuals inherently limit their own personal liberty in some small (or large) way, regardless of whether or not they perceive it.

On one hand, an individual desires freedom and the liberty to live his life as he or she wishes - without restrictions or persecutions. However, that same individual also desires protection from the financial and physical perils of the world about him. While you would think it is quite possible to attain both goals while remaining an independent and free individual, it is unusually hard work to do so.

Most people, while paying lip service to the importance of freedom and protection, are frequently far too lazy to enact such ideas independently. However noble their original intentions, they soon depend upon others to secure protection for them. Hence, the birth and growth of institutions, which attempt to provide freedom and protection in return for a group sacrifice from the individuals held captive beneath them.

It is individuals attempting to balance their need for freedom with their need for protection that creates institutions in the beginning. But once brought to life, these same entities take on a vitality of their own and soon work in opposition to their creators' ideals.

Just like individuals, institutions desire the freedom to do as they please, but unlike individuals, this institutional "freedom" is achieved only by exerting power over others. Governments and organized religions are the most potent examples of this phenomenon. In fact, they soon behave exactly like super- predators in a food chain if they are allowed to grow unchecked.

And so the initial small sacrifice of freedom by founding individuals is never enough for any institution in the long run. Once brought to life, an institution becomes a maw of insatiable hunger to acquire greater and greater freedom and power for itself. Taxation and tithing, bureaucratic and arbitrary regulation, and oppression of ideas and concepts are the primary tools in any institutional war chest. They are designed to work toward one objective only.

Control of all information reaching the individuals beneath its umbrella is the ultimate goal of any institution seeking ultimate power. Its existence is contingent upon creating and feeding a dependency upon itself. When an institution becomes a source of all knowledge and all information, its power is absolute.

Such an event can happen only when individuals have neglected their responsibility to cull the super-predator at an earlier stage in its life-cycle. No institution can act against a sufficiently large and motivated group of individuals who resist its growth. Any super-predator (even the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex of eons past) can be felled by the prowess of smaller, faster, and more clever individuals who may collectively and temporarily form an even more fearsome super-super-predator to defeat the original beast. But the formation of such an institution-killer has historically been extremely difficult because of the tactics employed against them. It is, after all, a fight for survival and only the fittest will prevail.

Force-backed institutions continually oppress and coerce the populations beneath themselves. They are able to do so if and only if those populations are sufficiently ignorant not to recognize this. Most individuals will behave like obedient sheep if given the appropriate stimulus - institutions know this and rely on it to maximize their power. But not all individuals are sheep, even under the most repressed of circumstances. And it is those not deemed sufficiently ignorant by virtue of natural curiosity (and the temerity to express their ideas) that institutions know must be terrorized or destroyed. Institutions recognize that people must not only be kept ignorant and confused, but they must also kept in a state of fear of learning too much.

But however artful the super-predator's tricks, the game is up when the population finally realizes it is being oppressed and coerced. This may take an extended period of time, but it usually happens once the spread of "illegal" or "immoral" information (through channels that institutions cannot control) finally reaches the critical mass necessary to give birth to a super-predator killer. To quote Voltaire: "When the people begin to reason, all is lost."

The people begin to reason when they acquire facts. It begins with the select few persons able to escape the institutionally- imposed information control and think for themselves. The word will slowly spread, and if enough individuals become enlightened, the institution is soon in danger.

And so the truth of something is a secret that is highly guarded by those who would control others. For that very reason, it is very rarely discovered. It is always carefully buried within layers of misinformation and deception and outright lies. The more ruthless the institution, the more convoluted and more impregnable the defenses.

It is truly a survival of the fittest. The super-predator institution ravages its minions for as long as it can, fearing the day they unite and destroy it. The individuals live in fear and confusion until they are shown the truth by those who have become leaders of freedom (even inadvertently).

And so individuals are ultimately responsible for both the birth and the death of institutions, after all. But only the most diligent of individuals will attain sufficient enlightenment to understand their role in this cyclic process, and thereby discover how to curtail cyclic excesses of totalitarianism and mob rule.

Interestingly enough, an enlightened individual need not become a recognized (and publicized) leader in this area. Adam Smith's famed "invisible hand" ensures that an enlightened individual acting in rational self-interest will accomplish much more than personal success and gratification. An individual pursuing a rational balance between freedom and protection will ultimately demonstrate to others how to do the same. The masses will follow the leaders in due course, but as always, the sweetest and best rewards go to those who were first.

And now you know why we at OPC International urge you to say no to super-predator institutions and become your own man (or woman). You'll not only reap substantial personal rewards, but also you'll ultimately be responsible for driving a well-deserved stake through the monster's heart.

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