Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is a free society unworkable?

Discuss the benefits of trying liberty rather than statism as the basis of a society* and you will hear many people drone on and on about how it won't work. One common example is the "Somalia blah blah blah" retort. As if that has any bearing on what a free society would be.

When liberty is given a real shot we can then discuss the results.

Even if anarchy or an other wise free society is "unworkable", that doesn't mean the statist alternative is right. Statism is also unworkable, as has been shown amply throughout recorded history. To deny that statism results in calamity is just silly. Plus, based as statism always is (by definition) on theft and coercion, it is wrong.

Given the choice, I would rather live in a failed society based upon liberty rather than an equally failed society based upon authoritarianism. Liberty is right, at least.

If liberty also fails to produce a workable society, then the obvious conclusion is that society itself is the problem. Maybe society* is a false concept and can never be truly workable.

*I am using the term "society" as short-hand for the interactions of all people who actually deal with one another in some way, not as some real, physical thing (like some collectivists seem to believe).


Lever Action is back!

L. Neil Smith has announced that his book Lever Action is back!

If you are not familiar with the book, you should be.

I discovered Lever Action from a short, not entirely positive, review in the back of an NRA magazine soon after the book was first printed- probably in the winter or spring of 2002*. I had no money at the time, but I cut out the review and held on to it for a few months until I was able to order a copy. It changed my life. Seriously. I would not be writing this, or anything else, had I not read Lever Action.

I had never known there was anyone else out there who thought the way I did. I had thought there were "conservatives" and "liberals" and then there was me. I knew I didn't fit in either category, so I just considered myself a lone misfit. Lever Action was the first realization that other people did think the way I did. It brought me from being an aberration to being a libertarian. Or at least gave me the realization that there was a name for my particular ideology. For that sense of belonging I am forever grateful. Thanks again El Neil.

*If you have a copy of that review, please let me know. I kept my copy for a long time, but somewhere in all the moves, homelessness, storage units, and etc. it was misplaced. L. Neil has expressed an interest in seeing that review.