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26


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 26, April 15, 1997

Freedom, The Future, and You

By Don L. Tiggre
don-tiggre@utah-inter.net

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

From "Something for Nothing," By RUSH:

      What you own is your own kingdom,
      What you do is your own glory,
      What you love is your own power,
      What you live is your own story!!!

         Free will is a fact of human nature. No matter how many people submit to the will of others, no matter how pervasive the institutions of coercion, no such evil is possible without the capitulation of the victims. Such capitulation too is an act of will, no matter how fervently we might wish that it was someone else's responsibility.
         Even when the gun is pressed against your temple and the thug says, "lick my boot or I will kill you," it is we who mush choose to do the boot-licking.
         In saying this, I was once challenged on whether the people in the former Soviet Union were free. I answered that they were, and had only to realize it in order to throw off their oppressors. Well, they did and they did.
         Choosing to lick the boot, contrary to what the tyrant would have you believe, does not make you an accomplice or accessory to the crime; you are the victim, no more and no less. Victimhood should certainly not be exalted in the way our culture attempts to do at times, but neither should it be a source of shame -- unless the victim chooses to lick the boot when there is a better choice available.
          This fact, the fact that people cannot be enslaved against their will -- the fact of freedom -- is a hard one that makes most people uncomfortable. But it is a fact, and it certainly has a bright side, a beautiful, almost unbearably bright side. It means that we can be free, if we would only choose to be that way.
         Of course, in making this choice you can well end up free and dead. But is living in slavery so much better? Better to shoot for living in freedom and fail than to resign yourself to living in slavery!
         I don't want to dwell on these stark options, but I do think that one must confront them in order to move on. If you can come to grips with the fact that the worst that can happen is that you and those who walk with you can get killed, and decide that freedom would be worth it, you will have freed yourself. You can then move ahead with applying your every ounce of energy and creativity toward making damn sure that what actually happens is much better than the worst case scenario. By accepting the worst that can happen, then anything else that happens is bound to be better!
         This is a critical point; I am not trying to convince anyone to join a Kamikaze legion! But having accepted the worst, and bending all my will toward exercising my freedom in a way that benefits me more, I can feel very positive about the things I achieve. I have seceded from these United States, and consider myself a foreigner in my own land. I am creating a better future for myself and my sons. That I am occasionally stopped and robbed by the gang that claims to rule this land where I was born does not alter the fundamental fact that I am free to choose.
         And what a glory this act of will, this act of creation is!!!
         I stand on the road to the future, as though upon a rise to which my understanding has brought me. I see before me an infinite fan of branching in the road and only one path behind me. I see peaks along some of the branches, heights to which I've not yet grown. I see valleys into which some paths disappear, valleys into which some choices might take me and out of which I cannot see which choice will lead to the best road. I know that the more I grow as a person, the higher my vantage point and the more I can see of the paths and choices I've yet to take.
         And I do make those choices! My present, the house I own, the place I live, the people I associate with; they are all of my choosing!
         My definition of a good day is one in which I can see a path I can travel that will bring me to future circumstances I would want to be in. Even when the shit hits the fan, as long as I can still see a way through my futurescape to a place I want to be, it's a good day. And I tell you, while the storm clouds of our aggregate present may cover vast swaths of our futurescapes with gloom, there are also sunlit highlands where freedom reigns, and we can all make our way thence.
         For me, this involves the creation of the Liberty Round Table, and trying to maximize the freedom of others in order to enhance my own.
         What will you dare to create, when you accept the full burden and wonder of your own freedom? Freedom is dangerous. In making choices, you accept risks. But which is better; to enslave yourself to coercive agencies in a vain attempt to eliminate risk, or to embrace the marvelous responsibility of a thinking being and give life your best shot? If you fail, then you fail, and you get up, take matters in your hands again, and do better the next time.
         Let me share a metaphor with you:
         Life is a roll of canvas, and we are all painters, leaving our marks as we move along for as long as we can. I choose to use every power I have to reach into the futurescape of possibilities and paint myself into a continuous series of present moments of my own choosing. My feelings are my colors, my thoughts are my brushes, and the canvas behind me is my record.
         Looking back, I can see some unbelievable messes where I really screwed up, spilling paint everywhere, fumbling for the right brush as the canvas continued to stream by... And I can see some really beautiful stretches, where I had my pigments and tools well in hand and wrought with exuberance and joy. It is also apparent to me that, as I take more responsibility for what happens to me, I get better and better at it.
         Looking at other Life-Paintings, I see some of such beauty that it hurts to think of the exquisite pain and pleasure that went into their making. Others are less inspiring. Perhaps fearing that their paintings will not be good enough, some people refuse to accept responsibility for their art, aimlessly applying whatever colors, with little thought to what lies ahead. Some try to get others to do the painting for them, and don't understand why they don't like the results. Others let the canvas roll by, largely untouched, waiting for "permission" to paint. Yet others refuse to paint at all, rolling along in whatever colors the people in their lives happen to squirt upon them, making whatever marks their bodies happen to impress on the fabric as they tumble by. In such canvases, one sees randomness; a buttock here, a nose there, and occasionally, a hand... A hand curled in the often unacknowledged agony that grips one whose life is out of control.
         Life goes on; we all paint. What kind of record will you leave, and can you bring greater beauty and joy to it by choosing to paint with deliberation? If you do this, you will have grasped that most basic characteristic you have, that treasure that only you can take from yourself: your freedom!


Don L. Tiggre is a grant-writer and a would-be author of fiction. He lives with his three sons, who teach him daily lessons in effective ways to resist tyranny. Having just barely survived 16 years of 'education', Mr. Tiggre is doing his best to study the human animal in it's natural habitats.


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