The value of lowest level. I’ve never shunned completely the value of participation in society, I merely believe it should be voluntary, as any alternative constitutes force and the inception of slavery.
Though today we’re raised to believe society has precedence to our own lives, that would imply that we are enslaved to society. If I MUST obey society, then society owns me. If society owns me, then I am neither free nor my own property. As an individual, I must have the right to own myself, my past, my present and my future. For more, see Philosophy of Liberty.
I own myself, first. No one else does. Not another individual, not another group (society, community or government), not a religion, nothing and no one you don’t give license to. To imagine otherwise is to believe we are all born into slavery. Enslaved to the mob of current society, subject to the whims of entitled consumerism and security-obsessive politics.
I own myself first and only. That is my primary layer of participation in life. No other layer has any power over this one. This layer comes not only with the freedom of individual liberty, but with the responsibility of its exercise.
The next layer is that of the family. That family may be of blood or of choice, alone, but the family comes next.
Next comes the community, the place you choose to live in. You choose your community to reflect your values and beliefs which come from your family. There are two types of community — one is geographical in nature, the other is cultural. I may live in the community of southeast Vacaville, CA, but I can also live within the internet roleplaying game community that exists across the country and around the world.
Then comes the society that overarches the multitude of communities and cultures through a given region or the country. However, society and region can be interchangeable, as there is an overarching American society and regional society that interplay with each other.
Then my level of participation is to my nation, my country.
Finally I can participate in the world.
Right now, we’re told that our responsibility is the other way ’round. We’re told we’re global citizens, first, and then our nation and her needs. Then we can pay attention to our region/society/state. Then our family might be important to us, and then, if the rest of the other layers don’t need us, we can take ownership of the rest. Us, which isn’t that important to the rest of the layers.
The problem with that belief is that it is completely counter to the concept of the value of an individual man. The foundation of Western society says that neither government, nor society, nor religion, has more ownership over any man than that man has over himself. To imply otherwise implies that man either has no value and is subject as property to anyone strong enough to subject him, or that slavery is acceptable.
Do you think the American slaves wanted security over slavery? There was plenty of security in slavery. They were fed, clothed and housed. They even had employment! Hey, we should be so lucky!
Bullshit, right? Screw security.
Slavery of any sort is unacceptable. Modern slavery is not that of one man as direct chattel to another via chains and whips, but as citizens to a government who can eject us from our homes and throw us in jail if we don’t continue paying it money for services we neither want, need, nor to which we gave consent.
Our constitution says its authority depends entirely on our consent, and yet our government operates as if it needs neither our consent nor our votes to do as it pleases. And voting alone doesn’t imply consent, either. If I vote to keep others from electing someone intent on taking my freedom, have I consented to the government to take that freedom when that politician takes office?
My primary layer of participation is my own self, as is the same for everyone else. We are, individually, economies and governments to ourselves. The economy of the United States operates no differently than for individual people — produce through processing of raw materials (industrial nation, entrepreneurial people), under consume earnings, put away savings, invest in growing business, repeat. The idea we can borrow to continue a lifestyle well beyond our means will only bring on serious consequences. There is no moral justification to borrowing money so some people don’t have to work.
We have put our children in debt so that the world, the nation, regions/societies, communities and families can come before individual ownership and responsibility.
I owe no other layer before I owe myself, and I owe myself responsible management of my own capital, respectful treatment of those around me, and am owned by no one and no thing else.
Liberty or death.