Sunday, June 18, 2017

Exploring different views worthwhile

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 17, 2017)

It is important to know where you stand on issues, and why. It's equally important to understand the position others take. Especially when those positions are the opposite of yours.

To understand the other side, you need to talk to them, and to read things written from their perspective. It might be unpleasant, but it's necessary.

I don't mean you should join them to participate in things you know are wrong. Never violate your principles, but learn why they believe what they believe and why they do what they do. It will make you a stronger, wiser person in the long run; better able to defend your position.

I recently read "Wage Labour and Capital" by Karl Marx. His errors were numerous and glaring, and I see how all governments more closely resemble Marxism than anything remotely libertarian-- especially the way they interfere in the economy. Governments share many of Marx's superstitions. They believe the economy is a pie and the size of your slice depends on the size of the other guy's slice. They imagine people will put in a lot of effort to do no more than break even. They feel individuals are assigned to a particular "class" with no hope for change. They pretend someone can determine value for another. They act as if the right price for everything can be discovered and imposed.

It's easy to show Marx was wrong; it may be harder to understand why the War on Politically Incorrect Drugs is wrong. Why government interference with, and rationing of, medical services is wrong. It may be harder yet to see why sobriety checkpoints are worse for America than drunk drivers. That liberty is always better than "safety".

Your only chance to evaluate these things is to read the justifications and excuses of the other side, and make an honest attempt to understand, even though you don't agree.

You may even change your mind about something, which isn't as painful as you might imagine. I've always found it better to change my mind than to hold a position which can't be defended honestly.

As a libertarian I have unlimited opportunities to read things from an opposite perspective. Almost all news is written under the assumption that governing others is a legitimate activity, that laws can be beneficial, and that a career in government is a life of service. Almost everyone you talk to believes the same.

It's harder for those who hold these common beliefs to explore a different perspective. It's worth the effort.


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