Friday, March 13, 2009

Philosophy of Libertarianism explained

Philosophy of Libertarianism explained (My first Examiner column)

In case you are unfamiliar with libertarianism I'll explain what the philosophy means to me. Most people talk of "left" or "right"; "Liberal" or "conservative", when they talk about politics. This is a misdirection. The true distinction is between those who wish to control your life, the "authoritarians", and those who do not, the "libertarians". Liberals and conservatives are just different aspects of the authoritarian end of the political hierarchy, or as I frequently say: different sides of the same cow patty.

The term "libertarian" encompasses different degrees of libertarianism, from "libertarians" who really would fit better with the authoritarians (*cough* Bob Barr *cough*), through the minarchists, all the way to "libertarianism in full-bloom": the anarchists. I am definitely on the anarchist path.

Don't worry, though, I am not about to start lobbing Molotov cocktails anytime soon. The people who do that are not really "anarchists", but are instead anti-business, and anti-society. They are socialists; just another aspect of the authoritarians. "Anarchy" means "without rulers"; not "without rules". There is a huge difference. "Anarchy" is not "chaos", no matter what news reports may claim. The words are not interchangeable, although common, incorrect, usage has put "chaos" into the dictionary under "anarchy". Some people are searching for a new word that hasn't yet been corrupted to describe the philosophy, but none has yet caught on.

What I am talking about here is a recognition that all humans have the exact same rights, no matter what the "laws" surrounding them may claim. You have the absolute right to live your life however you see fit, as long as you are harming no innocent people. You own your body and your life. You can throw them away if you want to. No one has a right to stop you. No one has any claim on you or the products of your labor. You are free to enter into any contractual agreements you wish. No one has any obligation to protect you from your own poor choices. They can offer help if they want to, but charity is not forced. You have no right to interfere with the private lives of others, no matter how much their choices may offend your sensibilities, as long as they are harming no one else by their actions. This is summarized quite well by The Zero Aggression Principle: "No human being has the right, under ANY circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, nor to advocate or delegate its initiation."

Walk with me and I will attempt to take you on a journey where I can show you what "liberty" and "freedom" really mean.



Last night I dreamed I was sitting in a bar. It was a comfortable place where I fit in and felt at home. As I sat there a crew of people swarmed in and started redecorating around me. The fixtures were swapped out and lots of chrome and "bling" were added. The walls were covered with huge photos of smiling "urban" celebrities and a motif of "PPP", which I understood to stand for "Pretty People Posse", was on everything. Suddenly the place was full of people dressed in expensive clothing who acted like I was covered in oozing sores. They all kept laughing at my hat as I sat there in my chair, where I had sat during the entire transformation. They seemed stupid and shallow; talking a lot without saying anything. At last a big bouncer type walked over and motioned for me to get out of the chair. I stood up and was escorted from the premises and was told I wouldn't be seeing the inside of this establishment again. I felt a bit lost, as I had not changed; only my surroundings had.

I am not one who worships "America", but once upon a time America was founded by people who weren't that different in philosophy from me. I probably would have fit in very well. Then the place was changed around me. I didn't change but became a pariah by standing for the things that at one time were common. I'll keep standing for Liberty for ALL - All rights for everyone, everywhere for all times.