(My Clovis News Journal column for December 5, 2014)
I often hear people characterize political differences as mere differences of opinion. If only they were that trivial.
A disagreement over the best music would normally be a frivolous difference of opinion, but what would happen if it were politicized? You might criminalize my favorite songs if 51% of the voters agree with you or if a bureaucrat makes up a rule, then demand I only listen to your favorite music whether I like it or not, on 8-track tape, and throw me in a cell if I don't comply. No longer is it a difference of opinion; it has become a threat.
Neither is the dispute between Rightful Liberty and everything else- Republican, Democrat, liberal, or conservative- just a matter of opinion.
The opinion that a State and its laws are necessary and can make you safer, or make bad people good, eventually leads to slavery, death, and destruction. The opinion that government can be constitutionally limited to keep it under control has the weight of human history against it. Cemeteries and secret mass graves overflow with counterarguments to those who believe living under a State is better for people than living without one: over 200 million non-military dead, most killed by "their own" governments, during the 20th Century alone. Anarchy can't possibly be worse.
But you may not agree.
If you disagree with my opinion that Rightful Liberty is something I should respect in everyone else, I will let you go your own way unless you attack me over our difference of opinion. That's because your Rightful Liberty- your "unobstructed action according to [your] will within limits drawn around [you] by the equal rights of others"- is more important to me than having you live as I wish you would.
Unfortunately, those holding "mainstream" political opinions openly believe it is OK to cage or kill people who have differing opinions, especially if they dare to live according to their opinion in defiance of laws, even if they violate no one's Rightful Liberty while doing so. Their opinion results in everyone being controlled with arbitrary and harmful laws enforced by agents of the state, who are paid through that taking of private property euphemistically called "taxation", and any noncompliance will inevitably be met with violent enforcement of those laws. Deadly force over a difference of opinion? Some opinion!
So, which government law or program do you want badly enough to believe it's worth taking your neighbors property, liberty, or life, over? Don't say "they should just obey the law", because things like slavery were once legal, and many of today's laws will be viewed with the same contempt by future generations.