Tuesday, March 11, 2014

America founded on liberty

America founded on liberty

(My Clovis News Journal column for February 7, 2014)

How much do you love your freedom, and what are you willing to do for liberty?

Freedom, to me, is simply doing whatever you want to do. It can be good or bad, depending on your character, but is often neutral.

Liberty, though, is the freedom to do absolutely anything which doesn't violate another person's equal and identical liberty. Liberty - Thomas Jefferson called it "rightful liberty"- is what America was founded in order to protect and promote. Nothing more or less. No rules or laws can legitimately violate that.

Do you love liberty enough to let people make their own mistakes and deal with the consequences?

I do.

I love liberty so much that I am willing to not interfere in other people's lives with the expectation they will do the same for me. Even if I don't like a behavior, as long as no one is being forced to participate, and no third party is being harmed, I will swallow my annoyance, however great it may be, and mind my own business.

On the other hand, I love liberty enough to speak up when people are doing things which have popular support, but which do harm a third party. I am willing to stick my neck out and take the slings and arrows of those who are desperate to justify the wrongs they wish to commit with a numbed conscience, in person or by proxy. I speak up even when the violations don't directly affect me at all. It may not be the path to popularity, but it's the right thing to do.

There is no other way to protect liberty. You can't limit freedom or violate liberty, or support those who do, while giving those noble concepts lip-service, without being a hypocrite. Yet, I see it every day. Almost no one will point out the Emperor has no clothes, no emperor deserves to be worshiped or obeyed, and he isn't even an emperor to begin with. I'm not speaking only of any current Imperial Personage, but any who believe they hold such power and authority.

How much to you value freedom and liberty? Enough to put your love into action even when it makes you uncomfortable? Enough to sacrifice your personal wishes for what's right? It shouldn't even be seen as a "sacrifice" to stay out of other people's business, but for too many, it is not only a sacrifice; it's such a costly one they can't bring themselves to do it. Liberty is what ends up sacrificed on the altar of those anti-liberty, non-consensual collective actions that have wide popular support.


How many posts?

This is my 3000th post to this blog. How did I get so wordy? I was always so quiet; kinda kept to myself...

I appreciate all the readers who have stuck around since the beginning (I'm assuming there are one or two, and I suspect I know who they might be) and I'm very grateful for all those who have joined me along the path.

I also look forward to picking up new travel companions as I keep wandering down the trail ahead.

In that vein, if you know anyone who might enjoy my particular obscure corner of the internet (or if you know someone who'd hate it, and you'd like to piss them off), invite them to give it a try. I'd really like to see if my blog could break through the wall it seems to have settled against- in numbers of readers. The word "stagnate" comes to mind, but that seems much more negative than I really feel about it.

I'd like for my blog to be more popular, but I'm not willing to compromise for that popularity. Quality over quantity and all that- and I do feel my readers are the highest quality I could hope for.

I'd probably keep writing if there were only two or three people visiting my blog every day- just because it helps me organize my thoughts better.

If you know a place where a link might attract more readers, please go ahead and share it. If not, that's OK too.



"Whatever floats your boat..."

I saw the following exchange, which I have paraphrased:

A: "If you live by the Zero Aggression Principle how can you deal with those who aggress and will never change?" 
B: "Do whatever floats your boat, so long as it doesn't sink mine" 
A: "What if your 'floating' jeopardizes my boat?"

Now, if those are actually aggressing, as is hinted at in the first question, then you are completely within your rights to defend yourself with whatever level of force you think is necessary. I won't second-guess you. I don't think the answer was a very good one.

As for the second question, which is unrelated to the first, but was asked in response to the strange answer he got, that's where some differences of opinion come into play. The range of answers to that question is kind of the common justification for "drunk driving laws", isn't it. And most anti-gun "laws", too, for that matter.


I still think that the possibility of doing harm isn't the same as actually doing harm. Yes, some things increase your risks. There are risks all around you, whether you are aware of them or not (and you should try to be aware of them). Unless someone is initiating force against you, or violating your property in some way, I can't sympathize too much that you feel their actions "jeopardize" you.

I would rather have my risks increased than be guilty of "proactively" putting restraints on (violating) the liberty of those around me. Being aware of my surroundings and doing all I can to keep myself- and those around me- out of harm's way is my responsibility. No one else's, and certainly not the "law's".

Still, I also believe that if you feel you "must" violate the ZAP for some reason, do what you feel you have to- and accept the consequences that go along with it.