My Definition of Liberty

libertyAn old friend of mine has weighed in on the idea of Liberty on my Facebook page.  He asked me to opine on my definition.

“I an pleased that you have continued the thoughtful approach. You always were interested in making things better, and dismayed with the stupid stuff we do as a society. Rock on. Since there are a lot of definitions of liberty, and lots of people think various things when the word is used, perhaps there should be a definition of what you mean when you say liberty. I would add that I don’t thin k true freedom exists, only varying degrees.”

Ken,

The old joke: “how many people does it take to ____________? Fill the blank in with; screw up liberty. What would your answer be? My answer is: Three. Someone is out numbered two to one.

The basic unit of control is force. Consider the methods used to justify controlling our outnumbered individual:
-Constructivist Rationalism,
-Religion,
-“duty,”
-altruism or
-a verity of central command structures dedicated to the “common good”

Liberty is the absence of coercion for any reason other than the maintenance of a civil order that promotes the free and peaceful expression of one’s own life. I know that this sounds idealistic, and that the “realists” among us will say that this would lead to anarchy.

However, the essence of civilization is the sacred contract between individuals, not groups. If we kept our word to the relatively few people we gave it to on a daily basis, and they did the same, we would transform the world over night!

Fredrick Hayek refers to the underlying circumstances that subliminally control the actions of society as spontaneous order or those actions that actually propelled humankind forward. We are able to trade with people in foreign lands that we will never meet based on the expectations contained in that spontaneous order. A simple example of spontaneous order that we encounter every day is when we merge onto the motorway. Everyone is expected to act in a certain manner; if they don’t, the consequences could be catastrophic.

The decisions we make in our political lives appear to be far less dangerous – they are not. At the moment, almost one half of our population is not contributing to our federal tax burden. The logical extrapolation is that the other half is shouldering that burden. Are they volunteering to do so?

According to the rhetoric from the government – yes, so there is no coercion on the part of the central command structure. We all know the real answer.

This is much more terrifying to me than merging onto the motorway – Liberty is individual and is our most cherished personal possession. Absent personal liberty, nothing else is possible.

Thanks to the advocates of this great experiment – America – you are the future!

-Mike –> #restoreliberty

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Your definition, “Liberty is the absence of coercion for any reason other than the maintenance of a civil order that promotes the free and peaceful expression of one’s own life.”, cuts real close to the bone old friend. I like it. It will take everyone caring enough to pull it off, but what a grand and noble effort. I have been called a realist, but I prefer pessimism as then I am only pleasantly surprised. For those who read the blog and didn’t see it on the FB page:

In order for government to be representative, there has to be consensus about the functions of government and its limitations. The founding fathers laid that out in a pretty succinct fashion. Since that time there have been literally millions of laws enacted, mostly for advantage for some individual or group, and almost none to the consideration of liberty for all. We do not live in a democracy if each individual does not have equal voice and the will of the people is not reflected in how we do business. We do not live in a democracy when we are being taxed without representation, which, in effect, is what we have now. The political party system we have now almost guarantees consensus will not be achieved. ( I cannot vote in primary elections because of my political affiliations.) I believe true liberty has to be created from the hearts of all individuals, and bestowed collectively upon each. A society that reflects goodwill towards all souls would reflect that in their government as it would be representative.

Ken,
You’re right about the political parties being part of the problem. And that’s where Mike Dunafon defies party categorization.

Could the Colorado Republican Party ever openly support an individual with Dunafon’s profile and political views?

1) family owns a strip club;
2) proponent of gay marriage; and
3) pro-choice based, with all issues based on liberty.

I don’t think the Colorado Republican Party could ever get over the combination of all three of these wedge issues. Clearly, his libertarian and constitutional compassion would terrify the Democrats. The Colorado Libertarian Party is growing, but why join-up with any party? With Dunafon, you get secular liberty and freedom from a fiscal conservative, who advocates less government and more personal responsibility and is a staunch protector of the Constitution. What the heck is wrong with that? I think his particular brand of politics is more appealing than any party platform today. As more and more others agree, the mainstream parties will be forced to adapt.