Cigar smoke wafts through the doorway as you enter the room. There, you find a tall, dark, and mysterious figure. With a jolly grin, he offers you a seat, and begins to regale you with the experiences that have shaped him as a leader.Che-Guevara

The man is Che Guevara. He explains how moved he was by the devastating poverty he witnessed in the remote Andes, where peasant farmers work small plots of land owned by wealthy landlords. He frames the problem as an ”epic” written by the world’s landless peasants. He’s determined to better their situation, and explains how land reform is paramount. You’re touched by his empathy and encouraged by his certitude.

However, your admiration quickly wanes as he begins to discuss the necessity for violence. You begin to feign smiles and nods.

After saying goodbye, you reflect on how problems often arise from attempts to force a grand design onto human life. Top-down social engineering cannot possibly account for the great variety of human talents and aspirations.

Take Che’s idea of the New Man (el Hombre Nuevo)-an ideal human being molded by society into a hardworking, selfless, egalitarian individual. The problem, however, is that people are not automatons you can program.super (1)

Trying to force them into an idealized social role, necessitates limiting their freedoms. However, allowing individuals to blatantly violate the rights of others is not an acceptable alternative either.

Freedom is indeed the answer, but we have forgotten something, something important. Everywhere we look, there’s this nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right. Qualified people who want to work cannot find jobs. Families cannot afford a home. Our planet is being destroyed. We’re left feeling frustrated like Che, but squeezed between the extremes of the left and right.

There is an alternative. The forgotten truth is that everyone’s rights must be accounted for. We live on a finite planet. Nobody was born with more of a right to exist, to take up space and enjoy the fruits of nature.

We all have equal rights to the earth. Those equal rights come with equal liberties.

Everybody’s equal right to the earth is as clear as the right to breathe air. Their mere existence proclaims this right. How unjust a notion is it that some have a right to exist in this world, while others have no right?

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