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Predators and preyOctober 25, 1980
Most creatures on earth are sought by predators. The numbers of predators relative to prey go through cycles. Abundant prey leads to increasing numbers of predators, fewer prey, starving predators, fewer predators, increasing prey, and a new cycle. There is some evidence of a rhythm in these cycles apart from these causal relationships.
Men have no enemies or predators more significant than groups directed by men, often by one man.
Productive and creative men, given freedom, accumulate great wealth. This leads to the envy of predator type men. But non-productive predator or leech types are no individual matches for creative and productive types. The predators find strength and accomplish their purposes through groups.
Creative and productive men usually associate and cooperate to accomplish their goals. These associations or groups are popular because they are enabling and supportive groups. Through them, individuals are better able to accomplish their goals. Participation is voluntary. The end is the good of the individual.
The cycle begins to turn when predator type leaders subtly switch the emphasis of the group from one of support of the free and creative individual, to an emphasis of control of individuals, taking their wealth (initially small parts of it) by force, and promoting the welfare of the group as the supreme good. The force used may be the force of arms, or the clever manipulation of fear and guilt (the former type by states, the latter by religious groups). Individuals are portrayed as greedy, evil, capitalistic, etc., and as enemies of the group. When individuals are asked to sacrifice for the good of the group (instead of the welfare of specific individuals, as in charity), then the cycle is turning into the predator stage, which will continue to consume and devour the wealth of the productive men and thus destroy the prey. This will continue until there is insufficient wealth to provide prey to keep all the predators alive. As predators die in a fierce and unpleasant social and economic scene of final destruction, the stage is set for the creative and productive individuals who survive to begin the cycle again.
Because the number of prey is beginning to decrease, the present election campaigns are beginning to reflect the tension and anxiety of the time when many or all of the predators will starve. It is obvious that the economic structure and capital base of the country and the world will soon disintegrate to the point where some of the predator groups will not have enough prey to keep them all alive. Soon some of the predators will start to die. Individuals in those predator groups who are not clever enough to switch groups or creative and productive enough to join the individuals in the camp of prey will die with their leaders. Probably most of the prey will die in the final destructive stages of the cycle. The longer the destructive stage continues before men realize the necessity of reversing the cycle, the fewer will be the number of survivors. But the destructive phase will not end until creative and productive individuals (the lower level of the “food chain”) begin to re-establish their activities in the world.
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The Protestant Reformation and the American “Revolution” were times of return to a recognition of the central importance of the individual. Productive individuals bow to no man, but only to their God. The Protestant puts no man between himself and his God. His conscience appeals directly to his God on the basis of the Word of God. The Colonists rejected the King as God's spokesman and appealed directly to their rights from God. Later, those in the Republic appealed only to the written Constitution, and recognized no man as a higher authority than their own consciences in interpreting that Constitution (with due consideration for the wisdom of their judges).
When the final destructive stages are present, supported by uncreative men with no self-confidence and no god, the leader of the destructive movement is often one man who claims to be an emissary of God with “divine rights,” or a man who claims to he God himself. Men must find a god or someone who represents God. If men do not see a god who saves evil individuals, dwells in them, makes them good, and even makes them prophets, priests, and kings, then men must find a god who will control or destroy those evil individuals. Men expect that this will be accomplished through the group directed by the man who is god, or who is at least God's representative on earth. If men do not accept the Mediator who represented individuals, they will find a mediator who represents a group.
Predator and prey nations may be further examples of the general phenomenon. The United Nations, the World Bank, etc., are means through which other nations prey on the United States.
One of the most essential survival skills for man is the ability to distinguish between predator and fellow prey, which is the ability to judge whether another man can he trusted.