THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 556, February 7, 2010
"It is worth everything you are to think for yourself."
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
A friend of mine was talking with his girlfriend about marijuana use recently. He doesn't use the product, but he was explaining why he is in favor of the elimination of drug prohibition on moral and practical grounds.
She was deeply and emotionally opposed to the very idea. Drugs are bad. Drugs hurt people. Drugs, and drug users, and drug dealers, are evil. He pointed out that they both drank alcohol, which is far more dangerous than marijuana, and attempted to press her on her position. He wanted to know what the difference was. He wanted to know why she felt the way she did. She quickly became defensive and simply stated that she didn't have a reason for feeling the way she did, she just felt that way.
Think about that.
She didn't have a reason for feeling that way, but she did, and she had a strong emotional attachment to the idea, and that was enough for her.
A young lady I work with the other day was trying to tell me that soldiers are moral. I asked her if it's right to hurt people who never hurt you. I asked her if it's right to do so if someone tells you to, or pays you to. She said no. I asked her what the difference was between that and soldiers. It was at that point that she started screaming at me and demanding to know why I "hated this country so much," and telling me that "people like me" were the problem with the world.
I didn't make any positive declarations. I only asked her questions the entire time, but when confronted with something she believed but had obviously never considered herself, she became extremely emotional and aggressive.
Think about that.
Imagine if you woke up in the morning and suddenly realized you hated some group of people. White, Black, Christian, Atheist, doesn't matter. But you knew you'd never hated them before today, in fact, you'd never even thought about it.
How terrifying would that be? You'd think space aliens had planted thoughts in your head, or some evil trickster had hypnotized you in your sleep. The implantation of thoughts in your brain without your consent is a terrifying thing even to contemplate. And yet it happens to people all the time. It happened to these two girls. And when they were faced with it, instead of reacting with horror, instead of trying to figure out where the ideas came from, they not only ignored the problem, they continued to advocate those positions.
Think about that.
It isn't just women, these two examples just happen to be. I've known people who argued that they felt legality is more important than morality, and even after I showed them how their own actions and lives contradicted that statement, they continued to hold it. I've talked to people who say things like, "there have always been governments," or, "without public schools no one would get an education." Of course, these statements aren't just false, they're also quite silly. It shouldn't take a moment's thought to realize that.
But that's just it. They haven't even given the ideas a single moment's thought, yet they are not only proclaiming them as patently obvious, they are deeply emotionally wedded to them.
When you realize that you hold a strong emotional belief that you have never considered, that you did not arrive at as the result of some scrutiny or process, it should be an immediate red flag. You are being brainwashed. By the schools, by the churches, by the news, by the culture. Every day, you are being bombarded with false morality designed specifically to foster blind obedience.
I had a person I work with try to convince me that God puts those in power over us in that position, and so their rule is divine. He carried this belief beyond politicians, even to slave owners, even to individuals who would simply overpower him by force of arms. But when I confronted him with a few simple rational questions, the belief fell completely apart. How long had he held a strong emotional belief in the divine right of slave masters? What would he have taught his children of that belief? What more might he teach them?
Think about that. Think about everything.
I believe there are three rules we must teach our children if we have any hope of humanity seeing freedom some day:
Legitimate authority is fine, but we must never allow anyone to use their authority to stifle questions. "Because I said so" means "I don't know." A legitimate authority figure will give you answers, or admit to ignorance. There is nothing wrong with ignorance, it can be cured. But only if it is recognized within ourselves and others.
What we can't do is simply accept the beliefs being thrust upon us by our society. Our society is broken. Our society is sick. Our children are brainwashed for eight hours a day for thirteen years in the state gulags and then sent home to waste their time doing meaningless homework assignments and reading books and watching television programs which reinforce their indoctrination. Our adults are robbed, beaten, and preyed upon to feed the insatiable maw of the state, and told that the only virtue is obedience. Our young men and women are sent to die in endless wars and robbed of their humanity and given brutality in its place.
This world is not sane. And so it produces insanity in its victims. It churns out people who hear voices in their head telling them what to believe about things they've never considered before. The first steps towards curing that sickness is throwing out the ideas in our heads which come to us unbidden, and questioning everything we are told about reality.
Because the real problem isn't drug prohibition or war or false morality or corrupt religionists. The real problem is the theft of imagination. It is the theft of rational thought. It is the theft of that very thing without which we are merely dumb beasts to be herded, milked, and led to slaughter.
It is worth everything you are to think for yourself.