Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is liberty a market failure?

I read somewhere recently that liberty (and by extension, libertarianism) is a "market failure" since "we" don't already have a free society. But this assumes there is a market. Nothing could be further from the truth. What we have in the "big picture" is a monopoly of The State. A monopoly maintained and enforced by violently aggressive people who are not bound in any practical sense to abide by the rules of civilized society that the rest of us normally choose to live under. That gives a false impression.

People frequently choose freedom for themselves, and ironically, many are then imprisoned by The State, thus losing their liberty. The jailed and otherwise "justice system-monitored" people are evidence that there is a huge market for liberty, even if most people are not educated in order to understand what it is they are seeking. People risk all in order to grab a little freedom or liberty for themselves.

The only "market failure" is that people don't, to a very large extent, respect that same liberty in others. They think that their own personal liberty should be respected, and that "laws" to the contrary can be ignored if a LEO isn't watching, but they rarely extend that same courtesy to their neighbors unless they are close acquaintances.

I think this is the problem that should really be addressed. Not convincing people that liberty is desirable, but that if they want it for themselves they must also not advocate violating it for anyone else.

Jared Lee Loughner and "Deep Meaning"

One thing I have noticed about crazy people (or those dancing on the fence between crazy and not) is that, like the Arizona shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, they all seem obsessed with "meaning".

In this kind of mind, ordinary events and random things are never ordinary or random. And the person who "finds" the secret message is elevated to an almost godlike position because only they "see" the truth.

With Loughner, it was words and grammar (among other things). Some people I have known or heard about felt the same way about music (Beatles' songs in particular). Or natural phenomena ("Chemtrails"). These things "speak" to them.

One man I knew went on for hours telling me the significance of his initials- "M. A. T."- how they showed that he was to be the emissary between the Martians and the "Terrans". He went on to explain the significance of other people's initials as well; especially John Denver's (which, as a stage name would seem to have no "deeper" significance). Words were never "just words", but all had a message for him, usually to be found in the initials.

I have seen the same behavior toward music, and particularly anything the Beatles/John Lennon were involved in. Deep special meanings were sought and found. It wasn't "just music" but something of Universal importance. Every song was a message just for that one person. Some have even expressed the idea that the song was written with them in mind.

With those who worry about "chemtrails"- look, I know the government would have no qualms about doing chemical/biological experimentation on the population. They've done it before. However, look at the physics of the situation. Contrails are a result of hot, moist exhaust and cold upper-atmospheric conditions. You'd have to alter the physics of the universe to keep them from forming. Even my car leaves a "contrail" on cold winter days. There is no deep meaning there, even if the government is exposing the country to toxins for whatever purpose, contrails are not the smoking gun. This is the same obsession that led to rainbows being interpreted as a sign from God. It's just the physical world following natural laws.

This need to find meaning is a harmful obsession. It is what leads to superstition and harming others for "higher purposes".

Look, it may seem distressing but most things are meaningless. There is no deep meaning to be found in them without falling off the crazy fence. They just are what they are. Now, go out and do something meaningful, within the bounds of the ZAP.