Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Appeal of statism understandable

(My Clovis News Journal column for September 18, 2015)

Since it’s a good idea to try to understand the opposition, I try to understand non-libertarians.

I’m not speaking of those who are not part of the Libertarian Party (neither am I), but those who reject the ideas that it is wrong to use violence against those who are neither being violent nor violating property, and that it is wrong to violate property.

Ignore for now the bad guys who rob and attack. They are what they are. Instead, focus with me on those who want to be decent people, but reject the foundation which makes decency possible. Most of these substitute government for principle.

I understand the appeal of statism- the belief that all people should be governed by other people- which is separate from the belief that people should control (govern) their own behavior.

There are bad people out there. Some people want to feel safe from them, and think governments, laws, and enforcers can create safety. They believe the benefits of governing outweigh the risks, and that freelance bad guys are a greater risk than are people to whom power is given- people drawn from the same population known to contain bad guys. They pretend bad guys won't be attracted to a position of power where they can do the bad things they desire, but with "authority" to give their behaviors a veil of legitimacy. Besides, Aunt Tilly feels safer this way.

I understand, but think they are mistaken and Utopian.

I also understand the attraction of nationalism. It's nice to feel a sense of belonging to a group; something bigger than oneself. Instead of actually accomplishing things personally, the nationalist can say "We beat the Commies!" and feel pride in something he had no part in. Or even something he unwittingly monkey-wrenched, but which happened in spite of his "help".

Plus, there is always the comfort of familiar rituals and symbols. Humans crave rituals and create them around the most mundane things. They come to value the rituals more than that which the ritual originally honored. Chants are recited on cue, along with soundbites with which they have been trained to respond when nationalist beliefs are challenged.

And symbols? People love them. They design flags, seals, buildings, offices, titles, and whatever else they can dream up to worship- then incorporate those symbols into the rituals.

So, yes, I understand, but I don't agree. It would all be funny if it hadn't killed around 200 million non-combatants in the 20th Century alone.


Yes, Liberty matters!

An interesting bit of information is that one of my most consistently viewed posts is from well over a year ago: Liberty matters!

I wonder why.

Maybe because people instinctively know liberty matters. Maybe because they want to make a difference where it matters. I hope they learn what liberty is, wherever they learn it, and start living it.

Once you know liberty matters, why not live like you know it?