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

The Thought Police

In 2000 I sat down to clarify my thoughts about the strange circumstances that seemed to be gathering momentum in our American culture. In light of our situation today, I think you will agree; if we would have cared to look, we would have seen this coming and acted sooner!

What will we do today to stop the accelerated loss of our personal liberty? If we do nothing; what will our “Liberty” look like in 2026?

March 2000

Personal Liberty is under an assault from a counter culture bent on absolute control of our government and the American way of life. Have I lost my mind – probably, but not on this issue. This statement sounds like I am outside staring at the sky awaiting the arrival of black helicopters. If I had made this comment 20 years ago, around the table, over a few beers you would still be able to hear the laughter.

In the same setting today the reaction would be quite different – disbelief, fear, and discomfort would replace the laughter. Not because the audience disagreed with the statement, but because someone said “such a thing” in public. The insidious, unrelenting Thought Police tasked with destroying “intolerance” with an iron fist have stifled us. We now find ourselves on the outside barely able to look in.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be the master – that’s all.”

– Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

A general malaise infects our culture. The common person knows that a “misplaced” opinion or humorous comment about a “protected” group can destroy their lives. Equality of opportunity has given way to equality of outcome, personal rights to group rights.

Personal rights bring personal wealth, personal success, and competition, and those who don’t make the grade are left behind. The counter culture believes in false equality predicated on the lowest common denominator.

To the counter culture, “social justice” has come to mean “protection” for certain groups from attacks by the “enemy” (principally white heterosexual males). It seems that everything we say, or do, can somehow exemplify our intolerance or downright hatred for a “protected” group.

The great elixir of mankind, humor, should be avoided altogether. In fact, humor seems to be non-existent in the lexicon of the Thought Police. The ironical self-deprecating humor that was the hallmark of our nation’s immigrants is now considered to be hate speech on the part of the “enemy.” Even if you are the brunt of your own joke, the counter culture believes there exists an underlying “intolerance” that lurks dormant and insidiously hidden in your psyche that must be purged by the counter culture. Ultimately, it is not just our freedom of speech that is under attack it is the freedom of thought.

“The price paid for intellectual pacification is the sacrifice of the entire moral courage of the human mind.”

— John Stuart Mill

To avoid falling into this “trap” we have developed a habit of self-censorship that has become so unconscious we fail to recognize the mind numbing subliminal effort involved in maintaining the correct speech necessary to escape the wrath of the Thought Police. At some point it is easier to avoid thinking, and subsequently, disengage.

We are becoming a lobotomized society in which everyone believes that it’s every man for himself. A considerable number of Americans fail to recognize the counter cultures agenda, and believe that the counter culture is interested in “inclusion” and constructive dialogue. They have become the unwitting foot soldiers that practice appeasement as a way to reconciliation. History shows us that the appeasers (after their usefulness expires) are the last to be executed.

Control the Debate

Frame the debate! Dehumanize your enemy! Call your adversary a sexist, racist or bigot and you will no longer need to answer his arguments. He is now faced with defending his character. In the courts, there is a presumption of innocence until proven otherwise. However, in the court of public opinion if you are charged with sexism the burden of proof falls squarely on the shoulders of the accused.

This is precisely how ideologues entrench themselves in a system; they exploit and ruin those on whose backs they rode to power. They begin by working in the establishment, and through insinuation and infiltration rather than through confrontation, they erode the system from within, all the while claiming that the root of the problem stems from the old guard, and its ideals.

Thus, we find ourselves in a situation where the counter culture not only controls the answers but the questions asked. It is attempting to control how we understand the daily events of our lives.

Control History

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

– George Orwell

“To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots.”

– Alexander Solzhenitsyn

When attempting to destroy your enemy, destroy the record of their past, and fill the void with a new history. Dishonor or disgrace his heroes, and you can demoralize his people. Besmirch, and degrade your adversary to the point that any and all outrageous comments will go unchallenged. Sit back and watch the crows devour what is left of the past and your future!

What do you think?

Leave you’re thoughts below.

When Affirmative Action Can Hurt Education

Is affirmative action really helping those it claims to be empowering? What are the results of a system that means to do well, but is based upon comparisons between cultures, or an upper-crust point of view?

Those who are most vocal about affirmative action are of course the more articulate minority members – the advantaged who speak in the name of the disadvantaged. Their position on the issue may accord with their own personal experience, as well as their own self-interest. But that cannot dismiss the growing evidence that it is precisely the disadvantaged who suffer from affirmative action.

-Thomas Sowell

When a culture decides through spontaneous order, unaware of how to equip its members for success, those “decisions” will be reflected in comparisons with other cultures.

Education is a prime example — cultures that reward high levels of education trend far better than those that do not. This historically held true long before mandatory public schooling was implemented.

Public Choice

In particular, it studies the behavior of politicians and government officials as mostly self-interested agents and their interactions in the social system either as such or under alternative constitutional rules.

These can be represented a number of ways, including standard constrained utility maximization, game theory, or decision theory. Public choice analysis has roots in positive analysis (“what is”) but is often used for normative purposes (:what ought to be:), to identify a problem or suggest how a society should work out its problems.

What do you think?

-MD

Why Political Parties Bargain

While reading Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, I came across an interesting passage I’d like to share and comment on.

Indeed, it has the beautiful property that it does not even need to be fair. For barter to work, two individuals do not need to offer things of equal value. Trade is often unequal but it still benefits both sides.

Of equal value to whom? Not everyone likes to sew or fish. Both parties to the bargain feel that they got a good deal. Personally I would rather fish than sew. You also discover your talents along the way – now there is something that is equal!

What do you think?

-MD

Boulevard of Despair

In May of 2013, a good friend of mine traveled to Budapest on a journey of enrichment and self-discovery. She wound up writing an interesting poem that I would like to share with you right now. As you read the poem consider the thought process she must been going through to write what she did.

I’m going to show you the complete poem the way she wrote it, then I’m going to add my rebuttals to the poem, weighing her words against the libertarian ideas that have allowed me to make Glendale, CO a great place to live, raise kids, and simply enjoy yourself.

As you read the passage and my rebuttals, what ideas come to mind? Do you agree or disagree with my rebuttals? I want to know. Leave a comment, and I’ll leave a reply.

“Boulevard of Despair”

A woman
Broken on the sidewalk
Her genetic birthright dictates

Styrofoam cup clutched between her child-sized calves
Only she is an adult
Homeless in Hungary

Buda calls from across the bridge
Pest is her home
Her eye-flame lost in eternal expectation

Casts your way

Are you the help that never comes

Behind the metal traffic box
Giving instructions to predestrians?

You wake up
For a moment, to question
Should the coin in your pocket be hers?

Walking now on cobblestones
That bled your Jewish ancestor’s blood
You stare across the street again,
Behind you the crowd crushes in
Together forgetting her bright pink dress
Collecting third hand smoke and ashes in its creases

She is one of the unseen
Waiting
For you to throw her a coin

To begin her day
The traffic light changes
You do not run across
You waltz on to your cozy B&B,
Shopping bags stowed under arm

Later your digital photos pings, downloading the moment
When she caught your eye,
And the coins rattled in your pocket, “I am hers.”
You ignored their call, and the tug for mitzvoth from your heart-voice

Did she/Does she take you for a fool?
Don’t kid yourself; you do not exist outside her cup
Or do you fool yourself,

That she is not you
Just behind that metal traffic box?

My Rebuttal:

A woman
Broken on the sidewalk
Her genetic birthright dictates

Why?  Was her failing solely geographic?  What are the chances that all of her “loving” family had expired in an attempt to save the last vestige of their lineage?  Was she the remaining survivor of a kind society now lost to individual greed?

Styrofoam cup clutched between her child-sized calves
Only she is an adult
Homeless in Hungary

Buda calls from across the bridge
Pest is her home
Her eye-flame lost in eternal expectation

Of what, your internal self loathing?  Styrofoam container for alms – symbol of the indestructible nature of hope – not hers — yours. The belief that if not for some divine intervention that could be you!  Thus denying all of your effort and sacrifice to follow your dreams, while failing more often than not, and always offering something in return – if only a smile — Never, Never, Never trading sadness and pity for money.  Her flame was extinguished not by your success and “luck” but by entire societies surrendering their dreams to the House of Safety promised by Elite Saviors commandeering your chance to fail in the name of equality!

Casts your way
Are you the help that never comes

You are the help that kills believing for a moment that you are buying beggar insurance, never knowing who she is and why this terrible fate has taken her – she is everyman surrendered — with the only freedom left – begging.  Used as an example, used as a reminder that you must never question authority, liberty is the enemy of a just society and she is the icon.  Beggars only exist in “free” societies — for once free societies fail beggars no longer serve a purpose and they are rounded-up and murdered.  The problem is that now the ranks of the beggars swell the millions! Without hope, life’s purpose becomes the greed that turns your neighbor into a spy who suckles at the office of the commissar for a gallon of petrol or a loaf of bread.

Behind the metal traffic box
Giving instructions to pedestrians?

You wake up
For a moment, to question
Should the coin in your pocket be hers?

Walking now on cobblestones
That bled your Jewish ancestor’s blood
You stare across the street again,
Behind you the crowd crushes in
Together forgetting her bright pink dress
Collecting third hand smoke and ashes in its creases

She is one of the unseen
Waiting
For you to throw her a coin

That coin in your pocket signifies the end of her day NOT THE BEGINNING and MAYBE THE END OF YOURS! 

-Mike