Individualists v. Collectivists

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…” and so began the most incredible experiment in human governance the world has ever seen. Today, that experiment is under attack, but frankly, it has always been under attack. From the git-go, the concept of the Individual vs. The Government has been a tough one for mankind. There is a sizeable portion of the population that wants the security of the King. My friend Erick Erickson recently wrote that the Left loves a dictator, just not one like Trump. If they could have a dictator unlike Trump, all would be well they think. But we’ve been there, done that.

Dictators look pretty good at the start. They make others behave, treat you nice, punish your enemies and give you things. But as time goes on, you find that the Dictator isn’t so benevolent. He decides that your 12 year old daughter needs to spend the night with him. He decides that your adobe hut needs to be torn down for a better view. He decides that you should entertain him for his viewing pleasure. He decides that you will pay for health care, whether you want it or not.

The Founders knew that a tyrannical government would invariably usurp rights away from the people. Rights, at the time, were what the King gave you. If the King gave you something, he could take it away. The Founders instead posited the novel and accurate theory that rights come from God. Man can’t therefore take those rights away. Swallow all the Tide pods you want, you can’t convince me that you are smarter than Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe, and the other liberty seeking Founders.

The Individualists that sailed across the ocean to establish this New Land were a special breed. They had to be. The difficulties they endured most of us would have escewed, as the heavy hand of the King was ultimately easier and more predictable than the fight to survive in the New Land. But survive, and thrive, they ultimately did. When their success became too much for the oppressed back home to stomach, the King had to tax and rule his far away subjects with domination in order to appease the minions back home. That oppression led to the Resistance that led to the Revolution.

Life is still easier today, for many, if they let the government (“the collective”) do their heavy lifting. Don’t want to work? Go on welfare. Don’t want to pay the bills? File bankruptcy. Don’t want to get fair market price for your peanuts? Start a peanut allotment program that pays you three times market value. While the “general welfare” was important to the Founders, I somehow doubt that they would have stretched that to give tax revenues to peanut farmers, or Archer Daniels Midland, or Monsanto, or…, well, you get the point. That is why the Left needs a dictator: To force a benefit plan favored by those collectivists who want all of us to row together. But America was, and is, greater than that. We are a collective of Individualists.

During the coming months, I’ll address different issues where I see things as Individualist vs. Collectivist. I hope to point out that while we need some order in society (red lights for instance), the Liberty Loving Individualist needs to be more favored than the Collectivists.

Kelly Burke, master attorney, former district attorney and magistrate judge, is engaged in private practice. He writes about the law, rock’n’roll and politics. These articles are not designed to give legal advice, but are designed to inform the public about how the law affects their daily lives. Contact Kelly at to comment on this article or suggest articles that you’d like to see and visit his website to view prior columns.

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