Sunday, January 09, 2022

Best to let people make own choices

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 8, 2021)

I love people. I also know that humans are deeply flawed. This combination explains why I'm a libertarian.

Every other position insists that no one is smart enough to run their own life while also believing most people are smart enough to run the lives of people they've never met. This running of strangers' lives is carried out through voting and wielding political power. It's not a realistic position.

The libertarian position recognizes that most people are better at running their own lives than others would be and no one is qualified to run the lives of other people, not by a vote nor by having political power. Plus, no one has the right to run anyone else's life.

This doesn't mean everyone will be successful at running their own life.

Those few who can't are free to ask for help from those who are equally free to help or not, or they can choose to do things-- commit crimes-- which may result in suffering acts of self-defense directed against them. They are free to choose their path, but complaining about where the path leads won't change things.

Even those who can't run their own lives have the right to try, and no one has the right or the imaginary political authority to forbid them from trying. Letting them do it wrong is the right thing to do if they won't listen to your advice.

The person who tries to control others is worse than the person who won't control himself, regardless of how things turn out. I speak as someone who has suffered from the bad choices of people who didn't control themselves, so don't imagine I have some rosy picture of everything being butterflies and rainbows if people are left to make their own choices.

Some of those you think can't run their own lives have simply never been given the chance. Either they've been coddled like children and told others are doing what's best for them, or they have been punished for making choices others don't like.

The loving thing to do is to give them the chance and let them live with the consequences of their choices. This includes being held accountable and owing restitution for any actual harm they cause. How can they ever be functional members of society otherwise? Most people live up, or down, to your expectations. Keep your hands off and give them the chance.


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  1. The rub is that the world is full of morons, who will do or not do things that affects my life in an adverse manner. I get tired of policing my perimeter so in some circumstances it makes sense to have minimalist rules and limits. That is, of course risky since it provides for someone who might target me and mine unjustly. Many words in the regulations can be "misinterpreted" for political reasons. Hence the Rittenhouse persecution and that which is going on around the Oxford school shooting,. Then there are the COVID semi-mandates that are being forced through businesses that are terrified [with reason] of the IRS, OSHA, etc. So the government is a dangerous "tool" that can get you if you don't pay attention.

    Still auto inspections, prohibitions against DUI, leaving trash out that attracts rat and possum colonies, etc are useful for keeping me safe and alive.

    It is always a trade off that can lead to unpleasant results as we are now seeing. But there are the same morons running around spreading mayhem even without a government position. It is a trade-off that requires a degree of effort and attention in order for the "system" to function even reasonably well. I am not optimistic about a Libertarian approach since I worked for years in our metro "downtown". The place is a "mess" since it is full of people who have no concern for others and sometimes not even for themselves. That gets tiring and is dangerous. [stop lights and stop signs are usually ignored].

    It becomes a question of, "where do you want to expend your effort?".

    1. I'll expend my effort on my surroundings-- the things I'm responsible for. I'll not abdicate to government thugs even if it would be "easier". And even if I did for some incomprehensible reason, I wouldn't ever require or demand that others do so or pitch in to pay for it. It's a matter of personal responsibility.

      And yes, I get that some people aren't responsible. It's irrelevant. I'm not responsible for their actions, only mine. That includes defending myself and others from the irresponsible people out there.