PostHeaderIcon Restoring Individual Liberty

I have been participating in a fascinating comment section on the E3gazette Blog, and I just posted a lengthy comment there that it occurs to me is worthy of a post here:

While I agree that Morph’s thinking is a bit fuzzy, at least he appears to be thinking! It is refreshing to see a progressive engage the cognitive faculties of his brain, rather than relying on emotions alone, as so many on the Left prefer to do. I rather appreciate the perspective of his challenge, and must agree that if we cannot convince most of the moderates possessing a mind as open as he claims his to be, that individual Liberty and responsibility are the ideal; we will never cobble together a working majority for righting what is wrong with our Federal government.

I do think that we should establish that as our limited goal. I don’t have a burning need to change “society,” only the obtrusive Federal government that is meddling in affairs that are none of its business. I truly live by the libertarian tag line:

“I care not what others do with their lives, as long as they don’t forcibly interfere in mine.”

Extending that, there are ample places in Flyover Country where a man can live a good life without meddlesome neighbors or obtrusive local taxes and “authorities.” I live in such a place now, and believe it or not it is in CA. Why should I care how the odd folks who prefer to live in NYC or LA live theirs? They are free to organize their city in any manner they choose. They can tax the snot out of their own citizens to provide welfare for the poor downtrodden ghetto dwellers they choose to keep eternally trapped in victimhood, as long as they aren’t permitted to empower the Feds to come out here and tax me for that purpose; because they are not my victims.

It has been my experience that the average American really doesn’t understand the political spectrum and its labels. Few have a clue what I mean when I say I am a libertarian. Fewer still understand federalism, economics, or the nature of money.

Fairly or not, I have for over thirty years explained the essential difference between progressives, conservatives, and libertarians thus:

A progressive is someone who desires complete personal liberty. They want government to stay the hell out of their private lives; but they are quite willing to empower government to use their guns to confiscate wealth from productive citizens, so they can redistribute it through their pet social experiments.

A conservative is someone who desires complete economic liberty. They want government to stay the hell out of their pocketbooks; but they are quite willing to empower government to use their guns to force others to behave according to their preferred moral code.

A libertarian is someone who desires complete individual liberty. They just want government to stay the hell out of their lives – period. They are unwilling to empower government to use their guns against non-violent citizens for any purpose.

I find that when I use this explanation, together with the tag line mentioned above, as a predicate; I can convert most productive Americans (who are over 35 and not drawing a government paycheck), into a nominal libertarian in a single serious conversation. Or, at least close enough for a campaign to rein in the Federal government.

Those coming from the Right, immediately leap to the drug issue, which is the deal killer for them with libertarianism. I am not a user, so I don’t have a lot of passion about the issue; but when I explain that public behavior under such influence would still be regulated just like alcohol, that helps. So too, does the suggestion that legal sales could be heavily taxed, would eliminate the worst elements of the narco-trade from our streets, and save the public treasury from the ineffective yet exorbitant enforcement costs. Most can be persuaded that it would at least be worth a try.

Those coming from the Left, usually go to the social safety net, the need for which is axiomatic to their worldview. I simply point out that before progressives mucked it up with their social experiments, America had a fine social safety net consisting of churches and benevolent societies. I have a whole riff if necessary, on the selfishness of altruism, which both Marxism and Christianity are predicated upon; only the former relies on coercion and the latter volunteer charity. I find it more effective, however, to point out my own native generosity and the selfish pleasure I derive from giving someone a hand up when they are down.

My selfish nature demands that reward, which is why I give exclusively to local individuals and causes where I can see for myself the positive effect of my “good works.” I only feel ripped off when my money is stolen and amalgamated in the maw of the massive Federal “entitlement” programs, with no positive feedback whatever regarding any good it might have done anyone I might have found worthy of the labor I expended earning it. I reckon I deserve the pleasure that the progressives deny me; and absent their meddling, I would have more to give to pleasing causes.

Moreover, this progressive “entitlement” model denies the recipient of public assistance the pleasure of gratitude, and the inspiration to take the necessary steps to extract themselves from their condition, in order to be able to repay the kindness by helping someone else. This is the real tragedy of “entitlements” that trap unsuspecting folks in the cycle of poverty, which assures callous politicians of perpetual incumbency. The last thing the poverty pimps want is to actually solve the problem, for then they would be out of a job.

If I get this far with someone, I find either side intrigued and open to exploring the notions of individual sovereignty, republic vs. democracy, and real money; concepts at least 90% have never even heard of, much less understand. But those are subjects for another time; this will turn into a Bill Whittle length essay if I don’t quit here. ◄Dave►

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