“The smallest minority on earth is the individual.” When Ayn Rand said that famous quote, she could not have foreseen the disastrous future the growth of government would have on individual rights. This negative impact is not a new development in American politics, but it is something which has accelerated in recent history, and both major parties are guilty of it.
Most recently, the debate of government power as it relates to individual rights manifests most recognizably in the interactions of police with citizens. Police interactions in the U.S. happen every day, with most being nothing more than “slow down next time.”
But when you inject politicians hoping to score points into the mix, suddenly every single time the police interact with a non-white individual, there must be racism somewhere.
We constantly hear about the rights of minorities, but no one stops to consider, like Rand, that the individual is the smallest minority, and this country was founded on robust legal protections for individuals and their property. We can benefit from Rand’s ideas by not falling victim to ridiculous political games. Instead we can participate in restoring those robust protections for every individual and their property.
As America debates the relations between individuals and police, the important middle ground of respecting and protecting individual rights is not emphasized enough. This philosophy would both improve police interactions, and free up individuals to improve their lives as they see fit.
Currently, neither side is interested in this middle ground, and both are clinging to their respective bases. The Right seems to think that police can do no wrong, and the Left seems to think it is 1960 Alabama everywhere and that everyone who is white is a racist. Neither side is right, and the reality is that we do have problems in the law enforcement community regarding the use of force, and while racism certainly still exists, we have an African-American president, and several prominent people in positions of leadership in government and the private sector who come from a variety of backgrounds and origins.
Unfortunately, it is the Left that is particularly guilty of agitating and creating problems where none exist. If recent events have proven anything, it is that the Left is great at provoking violence in situations where calm and objective voices are what is needed.
It is those voices, those arguing for a renewed respect for and protection of individual rights that will unite both sides to work together.
The individual will always be the smallest minority, and to ensure that everyone has the greatest opportunity and freedom to prosper, we must shape political discussions in terms of what is good for individual rights and treat anything restricting individual rights with suspicion and scrutiny.