Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Believing in" Liberty

As much as we don't like to face it, our beliefs come first and our reasons we use to justify our beliefs follow. The smarter a person is, the better they are at finding justifications for what they already believe.

Long ago, I was a statist. Sure, I didn't trust or want much government standing in my way, but I "knew" government of some sort was necessary. And, even though I really didn't spend much time thinking about it, I could have found lots of ways to justify my beliefs- and would have even argued that the reasons I found were why I believed the way I did, rather than the other way around.

But, those subconscious reasons kept coming up against hard facts and cold reality.

At some point I did start actually thinking about it- oops.

Finally my beliefs began to change. A process that is still ongoing. (Funny, though, it has always moved in the same direction all my life- toward fewer and fewer exceptions justifying external control of others and toward a deeper respect for Rightful Liberty.)

Now I believe liberty is the only reasonable way to approach life. And I am very good at finding reasons I would say cause me to hold that belief.



  1. Carl Sagan phrased it this way:

    You can’t convince
    a believer of anything; for their belief
    is not based upon evidence,
    it’s based
    upon a deep seated need to believe.

    ~Carl Sagan

    There is a current psychological locution being used to describe this phenomenon -- what is it? I will tend to justify my conclusions even after seeing evidence to the contrary (it's a term similar to "cognitive dissonance", which addresses the resistance to admit a respected axiom or loved guru to be in error). An indwelling desire to validate my philosophy.

    I think there is a spiritual (forgive the religious-sounding term) need in many individuals to resent the liberty and/or freedom of others -- perceived or real. Why else would "libertarians" vehemently argue that I am "not truly free" when I insist that one can (and must) begin his freedom right here, right now -- "where he's at".

    Étienne de la Boétie was correct nearly 500 years ago when he insisted we simply withdraw our support and the beast will topple.


    1. I think you are looking for the term "confirmation bias".

  2. "Confirmation bias" it is. Many thanks.

    [I'm inflicted :-( ]