Sunday, June 09, 2019

We still haven't learned Voltaire's lesson

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 8, 2019)

It's fascinating how easily people accept something they would otherwise know is wrong when someone they view as an authority figure tells them it's right.

Voltaire observed, in 1765, "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” This truth has led to many of the worst horrors in history. People still haven't learned the lesson.

There are currently hordes of people working full-time-- at your expense-- to trick you into believing absurdities. My hope is that you're smarter than they expect.

Unfortunately, many of our fellow humans do fall for the trick. They lack awareness of when their behavior violates others. This lack of awareness enables atrocities, too. No one can be expected to quit doing what they aren't aware is wrong.

Some of these believe the world owes them an easy life because they are so special and irreplaceable. After all, some authority figure has preached this absurdity to them, and it sounds good. The sense of entitlement this creates is breathtaking. If you threaten to withhold what they've been told they are owed, they're ready to commit atrocities until you relent. They refuse to accept the reality: no one owes you anything beyond not violating you.

These people expect their rights to be respected, but they refuse to respect the rights of anyone else. They even imagine "rights" which would enslave others. They aren't aware of how absurd this would be.

The good news is no one needs to stay trapped in the absurdities they once believed. Growth requires rejecting those absurdities so you don't commit atrocities.

The awareness of the rights of others, and how to respect them, is libertarianism.

I first discovered I was a libertarian about twenty years ago. Before then I hadn't given it any thought, but at that time I began to examine my values and beliefs. I was willing to discard anything which didn't stand up to scrutiny.

When I was young and accepting of absurdities I tried to make excuses as to why it was OK to violate some people's rights under certain conditions. I eventually came to understand you only deserve as much liberty as you respect in others. I'm glad the realization came before I participated in any atrocities.

Believing absurd justifications of why it's OK to do things to other people when you know it wouldn't be right for them to do the same to you is a dangerous trap. Avoid it.

Thank you for helping support

Whatever works?

I'm always told that statism works, so I need to just go with it. Yeah?

I have no doubt that statism "works".

In the same way murder, rape, theft, etc. "work".

All those behaviors can get the bad guys what they want (at least in the short term) without relying on the voluntary cooperation of others (their victims). And, yes, if you are willing to act that way I am going to consider you one of the bad guys; no question about that.

The question is, why are you so willing to use archation to get what you want?
Do you not have good convincing reasons?
Can you not offer something worthwhile in trade?
In other words, why cheat? That's just pathetic.

Writing is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.