THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 570, May 16, 2010
"Prepare for the future by getting to it"
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
Libertarians and anarchists get called a lot of nasty names.
Idealist. Romantic. Utopian Dreamer. I even had a boss say to me once, and I swear this is a direct quote, "The problem with you Rob is that you think people should treat you with respect."
Those words cut deep.
We also get accused of "not getting it," or "only wanting the freedom to pursue our own hedonistic desires." Sure sure, people accuse us of wanting the children to go uneducated, and the poor to starve to death, and the sick to rot in the gutter. But all that is kids stuff.
When they really want to cut us down, when they really want to make it hurt, they call us irresponsible.
I get this a lot, especially from minarchists. We don't want to take responsibility for the direction this country is moving in. We don't want to go out there and get people into office. We don't want to attend rallies, or sign petitions, or go door to door telling people about the federal reserve. We don't want to be responsible.
We don't want to do "the hard work."
This is all bad parenting right? This is the kind of abusive father figure that doesn't understand his son, and doesn't particularly care to, so he chooses to belittle him with condescension. It's just bullying. He's trying to make his son feel small so he can feel bigger in comparison, because somewhere deep inside he secretly fears that his son knows something he doesn't.
This is "get a haircut and get a real job." This is "yakety yak, don't talk back."
But I think there's something these guys don't get.
You see, being a principled libertarian or an anarchist isn't the easy way out. Once you give up on the illusion that you can delegate the responsibilities of your life to some politician hundreds or thousands of miles away, you have take that responsibility back on yourself. That alone can paralyze people with fear.
But that's only the beginning. You see, realizing that you have to confront a universally applied morality means more than getting your hate on about state welfare and stop signs. It means you have to reexamine every relationship in your life. It means you have to look at what you learned in school, and everything you learned in church, and everything you learned about society. It means you have to look at how you were raised, and you have to confront things like parental abuse and neglect.
It means facing the knowledge that everyone in your life who is supposed to support and guide you is participating in a lie intended specifically to rape you.
Bitching about your taxes is easy. Asking real, principled questions about the nature of reality and your place within it is much more difficult.
And what about the people who are making the accusation? Well, they would argue that they're out there busting their humps trying to save the world. But what do they have to show for it? Are taxes going down? Is there less war in Iraq or Afghanistan? What about the war on illiteracy, or poverty, or drugs, or terrorism? Are there fewer cops in your hometown? Fewer non violent criminals in prisons? Fewer senators, or congressmen? Fewer government agencies? Less government spending? What do they have to show for all their "hard work?"
I'm not just throwing stones because I hate windows. I used to be there myself. I tried that approach. And I realized it wasn't making me any less free. You know what it did do? It ruined my dinner. It made it hard to sleep at night. It made me grumpy, and frustrated, and withdrawn. It made me feel like a constant failure, because no matter how right I was, I always lost. Back then I wasn't even running in place, I was getting pushed backwards.
Now I'm going somewhere.
You see, once you quit putting your hope in other people to do the work for you, and start doing the hard work yourself, things start getting done. I may still pay taxes, but I have a wonderful loving wife who shares my beliefs, and that makes me more free than I would be without her. I may still be harassed by police, but I can take steps to insulate myself from their violence. I may still be forced to comply with regulations and inspections and legislation, but I can take steps to make myself financially independent so that their rules don't ruin me.
I may still live under the lash, but I need not cringe under it.
I think there's a certain comfort in pursuing a political solution, because after a very small amount of observation, you realize on some level that it simply won't work. And that's comforting. I knew a guy who would only hit on girls with boyfriends because he knew they'd say no, so he didn't have to worry about being rejected. In some ways, it's easier to go in knowing you're going to lose. The certainty takes away the fear.
The other way is harder. It'd be easier to be a democrat. I'd have lots of cool friends. People would tell me I'm smart. People would tell me I was right about things all the time. They'd say I was compassionate and caring and noble. It'd be easier to be a republican. It'd be easier to be a marxist, or a socialist or an environmentalist.
But I'm not interested in easy. I'm interested in the truth. And the truth is a lot harder, but I believe, a lot more rewarding. So I brave the slings and arrows of lesser men. Because I think the payoff is worth it.
So I'm taking hard, arduous steps every day to live as free as possible under a despotic rule. Things are gonna get worse before they get better. The state is going to continue to grow. More people will suffer. More people will be dragged from their homes. More people will be robbed, and beaten, and murdered by the statists. This will happen.
But just as surely, the state will fall. Anything which can not mathematically continue will not. The state has already reached a point of unsustainability. It can't be fixed. And when it does crash, those of us who have rejected political action and embraced real freedom will have an opportunity to try to change things for the better.
So call me a romantic. Call me an idealist. Call me a utopian dreamer. You're right. I am.
But don't tell me I'm not willing to do "the hard work."