Mr. Carroll is a student at the University of Colorado and a staff writer for The New Conservative published by the Conservative Club. This article is from his "Road to Freedom" column of September 19, 1962.
You have heard of rebels without a cause, of rebels against beliefs or social customs or governments or all three, of rebels who destroy themselves or are destroyed by forces too great for them. The New Conservative introduces you to a new kind of rebel. We can call him the rebel of hope.
His hope is both simple and clear; yet history has shown that it is the hardest of all human aspirations to protect and defend. It is the hope of every individual man and woman to live and work, to play, laugh, and love, free of any controls or restraints imposed by arbitrary power, social pressure, or intellectual dogma. It is the hope of every individual man and woman to produce, to create, to achieve in the world by his own efforts and his own vision, free of seizure and looting by other persons or by governments.
His rebellion is against all the people who will not let that hope come to pass, or deny that it ever can be realized.
If you have not heard it before, you will hear it over and over again here at the University of Colorado: times have changed and dreams are gone, hope is dead and only "adjustment" remains. You will hear that the hero is out of date, the individual only a fading shadow, the group structure around you the only "reality" that matters. You will be urged to learn to live for others rather than for yourself. And whenever, and if ever, you rebel, even for a moment, you will be told that history is against you; that a new tide in the affairs of men has washed away all the landmarks of personal freedom, leaving only the inconstant surface of a wide, gray, and angry sea.
Don’t you believe it! It isn’t true! We ask you to join us, instead, on the road to freedom.
No Substitutes, Please
Freedom is not a word we use lightly. It is our moral sanction and our justification; we need no other. We accept no substitutes for freedom. We set no price upon it. We make no compromises with it. We recognize no moral obligation not based upon it. We deny any man’s right or any government’s right to sacrifice any free personality for the sake of society, of welfare, of the underdeveloped areas, or for any other purpose which does not have our own freedom as part of its essence and its consequences.
If our opponents and our critics have a contrary moral code, let them state it. If they have none, let them state that as well.
But perhaps you wonder: how is it that a conservative can be a rebel? Don’t our opponents, who have falsely called themselves liberals for so long that the term has stuck to them regardless of both reason and common sense, claim to be the real rebels for freedom? Aren’t they striking out against "selfish interests" for "the public interest," to bring more freedom to "all the people"?
The confusion is easily resolved; you can do it yourself. Ask them sometime: just whose freedom are they talking about? And they will answer: "man’s" or "the people’s."
Have you ever seen "man"? Have you ever seen "the people"? Then it should not surprise you to realize that when freedom is taken away from a real, living person to be given to a paper ghost, freedom vanishes.
It has been vanishing in just this way, time and again, for ten thousand years and more. The doctrine of collectivism, of the innate superiority of the clan and the village, of the city and the nation over the individual, is the oldest and darkest product of the human mind. It was old when Caesar marched to Gaul. It was old when the Pharaohs of Egypt knelt before their hawks head god. It was old when the first club-wielding chieftain gathered the bright-faced young men and women of his tribe about him to say: "I know better than you what you should do and what you should become. I speak for the wisdom of the witch-doctor and the Spirit of our Race. Follow me—and if you don’t, I’ll bash your head in." That has always been, and still is, the ultimate collectivist argument.
In every age tyranny wears a mask because individual men and women cannot bear to look upon its face. The masks may change, but the face beneath is always the same. It has worn the black mask of the Inquisition; the white mask of aristocracy; the purple mask of empire; the brown mask of fascism; the red mask of communism. The advocates of more and more government or university or society power over the individual today can pick their own style and color; but they cannot change or conceal the reality of their purpose, which is to rule their fellowmen as they, the would-be rulers, think best. This purpose they share with every tyrant that ever lived.
The greatest new idea in the history of mankind is not any one of innumerable excuses for enslaving people. It is the hope of every man and woman to produce, to create, to achieve in the world by his own efforts and his own vision, free of seizure and looting by other persons or by governments.
Economic growth is not generated through purchasing power put freely into the hands of the people by the government. Any seeming prosperity created in this way is transient and insecure and if carried far can lead to social turmoil and economic debility; of this there is evidence in the economic history of other nations.
Permanent and secure growth comes from research and investment; the creation of new and improved products, new enterprises and new jobs. Only in this way can man’s productivity be increased. Productivity is clearly a function of investment; and investments can only be induced through the earnings they are expected to produce: in short, profits.
This, therefore, involves a frank acceptance of the creative role both of individual enterprise and of profits and of the need for accumulation and for investment of capital. Without increasing profits, a growing stock of capital, and increasing investment, neither gross production nor productivity per capita can grow.
N. J. MCKINNON, President Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce