Liberty Lost Volume 1: How Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, the Amish, and Chinese Citizens Had the Power of Choice Taken From Them
As with the desires for sex, family, and friendship, the desire for self-ownership is culturally universal. Each one of us wants to own ourselves and have the power to choose how we live. Having this power stolen is painful, and having our power over our children stolen is agonizing. Despite this harm, this terrible theft has been forced upon countless numbers of us every where and when–in every period of time and in every region of space we have lived. We feel rage when the power of choice is taken from us, we feel sympathy when it is taken from others we like, but, we too often feel joy when it is taken from those we dislike. Given the desire to choose one’s own path exists in all cultures, then we must set aside any hostile feelings we have towards particular cultures, whether foreign or familiar, allow the people within those cultures to choose their own path, and help prevent even those we dislike from feeling the torment that we dislike for ourselves. We, too, must be allowed to the freedom to choose our path, regardless of whether people of other cultures, foreign or familiar, have hostile feelings towards us.
When there is opposition to others freely governing their own lives, then a government is often used to deny that freedom. This is because one function of government is to govern others. China and the United States are only two examples of governments who have stolen the power of choice–China from practitioners of Falun Dafa, and the U.S. from First Nations people (ie. Native Americans), the original native Hawaiians, and the Amish. Although these four groups of people are as different from one another as you and I probably are from them, their stories of fighting for self-determination are uncoincidentally similar.
The manner in which the Chinese and U.S. governments antagonized these people has been similar for two reasons. First, these governments’ motivations for stealing their freedom were nearly the same, producing unsurprisingly similar behaviors. Second, the desire to steal is always in conflict with the desire to have a healthy relationship with those from whom power will be stolen; no one desires a healthy relationship with their victim. Fundamental to understanding these events, and to preventing similar events in the future, is to recognize the value of wanting healthy relationships. With the exception of parents and small children, healthy relationships cannot exist with the desire to take from others their power of self-determination.
Three Motivations of China and the U.S.
China and the United States failed to support a healthy relationship with a group of people by taking without permission their power to choose their own way of life. Both governments have claimed seemingly virtuous motives for their behavior, but these motives are so alike that they could be considered different versions of the same motive. China and the U.S. said they were motivated to act:
- In the interest of the state and/or
- In the interest of the people and/or
- For the good of the people who were denied freedom
China claimed motives 1 and 2 to justify its treatment of Falun Dafa practitioners. Representatives of the U.S. claimed 2 for the original Hawaiians, 3 for the First Nations, and 1 and 3 for the Amish.
The motive “in the interest of the state” is nearly the same as “in the interest of the people” because the state is perceived to be an extension or representation of the people; the state is to the people what a flag is to the state. In the U.S., this perception is sometimes expressed as, “The government is us”. Thus, whatever those in the government believe they do for the government, they also believe they do for the people of that nation.
The motive “for the good of the people denied freedom” appears selfless; good-hearted people want to do good for others. But, this motive ignores the will of those for whom “the good” is being done, and from whom power is being taken. The appearance of selflessness makes this particular motive similar to “in the interest of the people” because both appear to advocate doing good for people.
Motives 3 and 2 appear selfless, and motives 2 and 1 equate “the people” and “the government”. Thus, if 3 is equal to 2 concerning selflessness and good-heartedness, and if 2 is equal to 1 concerning the meaning “people” and “government”, then these three motives essentially communicate that it is selfless and good to serve the interest of the government. Thus, when the self-determination of particular people conflicts with the self-determination of the government, then those who equate “the government” with “the people” will oppose the will of those particular people, restricting their freedom to live their own way. History has shown that, with few exceptions, denying people this power of choice harms relationships with them. Therefore, these three motives have harmed relationships, and they have succeeded by clothing themselves in the garments of good intentions.
Motivations, intentions, and reasons direct us towards one path, future, and destination rather than another. But, the choices, actions, and methods we use determine whether and when we arrive. Sometimes, we find ourselves in the path of someone else; we are in their way. Both of us desire to choose how we walk this path. Do we move for them, them for us, move around each other, or fight?
Three Methods By Which Power Has Been Denied
China and the U.S. opted to force these groups to move out of their path, and the means they used were predictable. There are three areas of life that are universally valued because they grant power to those who control them, such that stealing control of at least one of these areas is fundamental to stealing power. China and the U.S. followed a predictable pattern of behavior by interfering in these areas, taking control of the areas of life that are universally valued: life, property, and thoughts.
Control of life involved kidnapping and/or killing. Control of property involved government taking land for its own use. Of thoughts, control involved requiring children or adults to learn or accept as true what governments preferred. As a result of these actions, all four groups who were denied their freedom developed a distrust towards the government that harmed them, and this distrust has remained even after improvements in government policy concerning these groups.
Learn more about the value of choice.