HIPS: The Best (And Maybe Only) Way to Improve Society is To Improve Yourself
By Bryan Hyde
COMMENTARY -- If you’re serious about freeing yourself from the quicksand of politics, it may be time to give some serious thought to a concept espoused by Albert J. Nock.
“There’s only one way to improve society. Present it with a single improved unit: yourself.”
This is an idea that runs counter to how most people think today.
So much of our public policy is premised on the notion that people -- other people -- can be improved through the application of focused government force.
As long as that force is being directed at someone else, many of us have no problem with supporting laws, statutes and policies that are immoral and destructive to our freedoms.
Nock understood that outsourcing to government activism what should be duty of voluntarily engaged individuals, results in, “an increase of State power and a corresponding decrease of social power.”
He didn’t advocate for no government at all, but insisted that government interference: “on the individual should be purely negative in character. It should attend to national defense, safeguard the individual in his civil rights, maintain outward order and decency, enforce the obligations of contract, punish crimes belonging in the order of malum in se [evil in itself, e.g., murder, theft] and make justice cheap and easily available.”
Resisting the urge to reform everyone else rather than ourselves is not easy.
But the power of example is real and those who are working hardest on improving themselves will see improvement in the world around them.
* Hyde In Plain Sight is written by KDXU personality Bryan Hyde. Catch his daily HIPS vignette at 7:50-ish every weekday morning on KDXU and listen to The Bryan Hyde Show weekends at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday nights.