Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Order without coercion is possible

Order without coercion is possible

(My Clovis News Journal column for May 3, 2013)

I have seen people say that there is no point in being libertarian because there will never be a libertarian society. Or because there will always be bad guys who will take advantage of others, or because someone will always be setting up some form of government.

That seems to be a very myopic view of the situation to me.

I'm not libertarian because of a belief that the future won't have problems.

I am libertarian because I know it is always wrong to initiate force- to throw the first punch. I am libertarian because I know it is wrong to steal. Calling theft something else doesn't make it right.

Perhaps there will never be a libertarian society. No one can really know that for sure. It would be a missed opportunity, but it changes nothing for me. It seems silly to refuse to do what's right because there will always be uncooperative troublemakers who will look for excuses to keep attacking and stealing.

Should you refuse to do anything good because it may never quite arrive where you want to end up? Maybe humans will never live on any other planets, but that doesn't make the study of science, which could be used for space travel and extraterrestrial colonies, pointless. Knowledge is power.

Living by libertarian principles gives an ethical foundation that serves you well here and now, making your life better today; not only in some hypothetical future society.

That there will always be bad guys is obvious. Why let them dictate your choices? Why give them power over your life?

True, some people are addicted to telling others what to do, or being told what to do. Those people will forever be trying to set up some sort of system to force everyone to join, "or else". Some people are simply in favor of being stolen from and being coerced to live by someone else's rules. So? Let them.

When you claim some job can't be done without government, remember that slavery was once considered necessary for farming cotton. You can have organization without coercion and theft. Your organization can be fluid, changing to fit the evolving needs of those who are a voluntary part of it at the moment. If you are afraid of allowing people to opt out, it shows you know how unpopular your scheme really is.

If you wait until there's a bandwagon to jump on you may jump too late. If you wait until everyone else is already doing it, does it really count in your favor?

Storm chasing: "Too dangerous"?

This past weekend's deaths of the storm chasing scientists in Oklahoma, and the injuries of the crew of a second car manned by Weather Channel storm chasers, has spawned some really stupid comments about how there needs to be "a conversation" about whether storm chasing is "too dangerous".

When people say there needs to be "a conversation", what they are really saying is that you and I should shut up and allow authorities to discuss and decide among themselves whether more liberty needs to be violated, by "law", for our own good.  Oh, you and I can chime in as long as we encourage those violations or are begging for someone to come save us.

The "consensus" will undoubtedly be that government-approved scientists and other authorized people will be "allowed" to continue storm chasing, but people like you and me must be discouraged from doing so- probably subject to some "fine" or other violations if we don't take the hint.

Storm chasing- even the most "irresponsible" kind- is an invaluable tool for learning more about storms and how other people (those who don't want to risk chasing the storms) can survive or avoid the storms.  The near-religious belief that only authorized scientists can make valuable discoveries and contributions seems to be widespread among believers in The State.  But it's wrong.

People know chasing tornadoes is dangerous.  That is why they do it.  They know, intellectually, that there is a risk of death (even if emotionally they feel invincible).  NASCAR is dangerous.  Over-eating is dangerous.  Driving is dangerous.  Thinking for yourself is dangerous.  Without danger, what is life?

I would bet that everyone does something that someone else, somewhere, would consider "too dangerous".

Don't force people to do things that they feel are "too dangerous", but don't prevent those to whom boredom is the biggest danger from doing what gives them enjoyment.  Especially when it can benefit the rest of us so much.