Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Voluntary solutions the answer

Voluntary solutions the answer

(My Clovis News Journal column for January 18, 2013.)

Libertarians often get accused of blaming everything on government. Little old us, picking on big strong government? That's silly.

The problem is not government, nor is it crime. The problem is people using theft and aggression against others. To draw a false distinction between these primary sources of theft and aggression in the world is to miss the point entirely. It is to be a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution.

Theft and aggression exist, and always will, so I might as well accept it and deal with it. So how can you and I survive in the world without resorting to the same tactics used by the bad guys?

Through voluntary cooperation and trade, of course. This is called "the economic method", and when this is used everyone wins, or they are free to walk away- in which case they still win since they were not forced to enter a transaction without their consent. When the economic method is used, completely free of coercion or fraud, there are no losers.

When cooperation and free trade fail- which they sometimes will because there will always be bad people out there who will resort to coercion and fraud- you survive by falling back on self defense.

Isn't self defense an act of aggression? No, it isn't. It can be violent, but it is never aggression. Aggression is the act of starting the attack- throwing the first punch- not of defending yourself or your property from others. Any "laws" that get in the way of self defense and defense of property only make society less civil. They protect the bad guys while hobbling the rest of us.

Almost everyone recognizes violent crime and theft as wrong-doing. In that, libertarians fall squarely on the side of the rest of society. Where we differ is that we make no allowances for theft and aggression done under color of "law". Double standards are rejected and no one gets a pass for their actions.

Without the human potential and energy being wasted maintaining the double standard, the real problems of aggression and theft can be dealt with more effectively.

Then the mental resources and energy that are no longer being wasted can be directed at the other problems that the universe throws at our species. After all, natural disasters, disease, and ignorance won't magically go away by themselves. That takes people who care enough to act, freely, to find voluntary solutions.


Bill of Rights. "Feds only"?

Even though I don't look to the Constitution as the paragon of liberty that some seem to believe it is, I still find the Bill of Rights interesting.

And, I find it funny that some people claim that the Bill of Rights is "only binding on the federal government".  Nonsense.

What the Bill of Rights did was to recognize that there are things no other person is allowed to do to you.  No matter their justification.  "Government" is nothing but people- so forbidding government to do something means it is recognized that no individual has the right or the authority to do those things to any other individual.  You can't eliminate this truth by paring a "government" down to one person or by piling people together until you can call it a "government".

No government can do what is wrong for an individual to do without being in the wrong, and no individual can do things that are wrong for "government" to do, either.  Because there is no "government"; there are individuals.  The Bill of Rights just recognizes that some things are wrong for one person to do to any other person.  But it only makes it a crime for government to do those things.