Freedom shouldn’t be all that complicated. Unfortunately, it apparently is.
Far to many people feel that freedom really only means freedom for the things they like. Oh sure, the Second Amendment is sacrosanct, but the freedom to not have to hear Christianity rammed down someone’s throat? No, that’s a whole other ballgame. The fact that the First Amendment prevents the establishment of a state religion - and Christianity is a relgion - appears lost on many of these folks.
For a nation to be free, and I mean truly free, then we must tolerate things which we may find objectionable. Drug use, prostitution, alcohol consumption (and yes, there are people who still want alcohol prohibition), or whatever. It doesn’t matter, because real freedom must mean that people have the freedom to do a certain amount of bad things.
Should that mean people are free to rape, murder, rob, or anything else? Absolutely not. Those all involve violating the rights of another, and that should always be off limits. I can’t think of a living soul who argues otherwise though I’m sure such fools exist.
However, there are a lot of laws that dictate what I can and can’t do with my own body. Take, for example, laws that prevent me from consuming raw milk. Personally, I think it’s not a smart thing to do. However, I still believe I should have the right to consume it if I so choose. After all, consuming non-pastuerized milk hurts no one but myself.
Many people can see that, and agree with me. However, many of those same people will argue that drug use is a whole other ball game. After all, they say, drugs create a whole world of crime around it. That is true…but only because of prohibition. There is zero evidence that legalizing drugs would do anything but decrease the crime that surrounds drugs.
A lot of conservatives lament the decline of “American Power” around the World. Just this week Bill O’Reilly had a rant about that. But to those who love Liberty, American Power is just another phrase for Government Power, and the less Government there is at home and abroad the better the lives of all individuals around the world will be.
Thoreau had a great quote about that:
“I heartily accept the motto,—“That government is best which governs least;” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe,—“That government is best which governs not at all;” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have”.
I look forward to the day when men are prepared for a government that governs none at all. But until then the Leviathan that is the State with its Coercive Power will be with us. Our job for those who love liberty is to educate ourselves and others about the True Nature of the State and the Blessings of Liberty.
Franz Oppenheimer made it crystal clear the difference between how the State acquires what it desires and the way free individuals voluntarily trade to gain what they desire:
It has been just over a day since I got the Fox News alert that Andrew Breitbart had unexpectedly passed away overnight, and I am still shocked by the news. Despite having never met the man, and not one to ever really be affected by news of celebrity deaths, I feel like I have lost a friend.
As a bit of a news junkie, I can’t tell you exactly how long Andrew Breitbart has been on my radar, for a number of years at least, but it wasn’t until the past year or two that I really began to realize the boldness and creativity that I admired so much in him, and am so sad to see taken from our movement. There are quite a few of us who believe we are doing our part to advance freedom and protect individual liberties, but Andrew Breitbart made things happen.
His book, Righteous Indignation, spoke to me so profoundly that having initially purchased it on my Kindle, I went out and bought a few hard copies so that I could loan them out to friends because I thought it was that important that they read his message. If you haven’t read it yet, you must, I like to think it helped me see the big picture in terms of who controls the information we, as Americans, are bombarded with from so many different angles. And I will never forget that summer day last year when I sat in my living room, glued to the television set, as I watched Andrew Breitbart at the podium of what was meant to be a press conference held by Anthony Weiner to address the Breitbart exposed Weiner-gate scandal. It was so spectacular and unbelievable, despite the fact that I was sitting there watching it with my own two eyes, I could not believe what I was seeing. He was my hero that day.
We’re winding down on another year. Much like recent years, 2011 represented challenges for liberty and the Constitution. These hurdles came from all sides, including the Obama Administration and Republicans in Congress, and we are ending the year a little less free than in 2010.
Below is a recap of some of bigger stories of the year that were covered here at United Liberty (though a couple are thrown in for fun). Thanks for reading in what was a record breaking year for this blog. We appreciate the readership and hope you’ll keep coming back in 2012
Happy New Year!
— The Death of Osama bin Laden (Jason Pye): On Sunday, May 1st, word broke that the White House had called notified the press of a major announcement. You could tell that it was a significant event since the president was making such a statement late on a Sunday evening.As you probably remember, wild speculation started almost immediately as many people said that it could have only meant a couple of things, either we were going to war or Osama bin Laden had finally been captured.
Around 11pm, President Barack Obama told Americans that, after nearly 10 years after murdering nearly 3,000 innocent people, Osama bin Laden was dead. Bin Laden, leader of the terrorist group, al-Qaeda, was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan by a group of Navy SEALS at a compound that he had lived in for five years.
The City of Brotherly Love may want to rethink their nickname when they get a chance. How about the City of Statist Tyranny. Doesn’t that have a nice ring? Why, you may ask? Because the City has arrested at least eight people over the last two years who’s only “crime” was to carry a legal firearm. That’s it.
Apparently, due to a quirk in local law, Philadelphia residents will get Florida gun licenses since the out of state license allows them to carry in their home state, but is easier to issue. It’s referred to as the “Florida Loophole”. Go Florida!
The “loophole” is unpopular with Philadelphia cops, who say that it allows those denied a permit here or whose permits were revoked to circumvent Philadelphia authorities and obtain it elsewhere.
But proponents say that it’s necessary because Philadelphia has unusually strict criteria for obtaining a concealed-carry permit. Philadelphia, according to police and gun owners, relies heavily on a clause that allows denial of a permit based on “character and reputation” alone.
“Character and reputation”? It sounds like a good idea, since it would prevent someone widely known to be a gangster from carrying his weapon legally. However, what provisions like this do in practice is give gun-grabbing local bureaucrats an out. Something bad has been said about almost anyone. The rumors that I know have been said about me alone would make me question my sanity and ability to responsibly handle a firearm…if any of them were true. Character and reputation are weapons used to disarm most of the population, so that population has attempted to find a way around it. With a Florida license.
It was just a couple of years ago. The housing market wasn’t doing so hot, and these things called derivatives were supposedly making things very difficult for the banks. President Bush stood behind a podium and addressed the American people. He told us that the government needed to buy these derivatives because it would help the banks, and then when the value went up, the government could sell them. It sounded fine.
What we got was something else entirely as various banks began to fail. Then auto companies were barely limping. There was panic in Washington, and they said we simply had to do something. But did we?
Economic matters are always tricky, and there’s always another point of view that will disagree with whatever you think. However, the biggest mistake we made was believing in the idea of “to big to fail”.
Take a hypothetical bank called Bank of Tom (BoT). BoT starts out as a small community bank, but grows and grows. Thanks to government assistance, it becomes one of the largest banks in the United States. It buys up smaller competitors with loans from the government, as well as lobbies Congress for laws that are favorable to it while hurting smaller competitors. It’s massive, employing thousands and controlling a huge part of the market.
Then the economy goes to crap and BoT is in serious trouble. If it’s going to stay, it needs help from the government. This is where we found ourselves just a couple of years ago. We already know what can happen if BoT gets the help. The economy stagnates for at least a couple of years and the company continues doing business as it always had, confident that they’re “to big to fail”. But what if we had taken the other road? What if BoT had been allowed to fail?
Freedom. It’s the most precious thing a human being can have. We all crave it. Wars are fought to achieve it. Oaths are sworn to defend it. Songs and poems are made to describe it. It is truly the most precious thing in this world. It’s more precious than gold, oil, or anything else.
Why then is it so hard to protect?
Freedom, as a concept, is nearly universal. Freedom, in practice, is quite a bit harder. In practice, actual freedom means that we all do as we wish, bearing the full brunt of responsibilities of our actions. Unfortunately, that’s to hard for some folks.
Far to many Americans say they want freedom, but have no problem asking the government to step in and regulate or eliminate practices that they find distasteful. Laws forbidding homosexuality, drugs, alcohol, firearm ownership, and any number of other things have all falled into the cross hairs of someone who thought that another’s freedom needed to blocked.
So why is it that people who love freedom are so eager to take it away?
The answer lies in the people who seek to regulate others. Rarely does a crusader seek to block a freedom they hold dear. Racists never seek to block hate speech, gun buffs never seek out gun control regulations. In the mind of those who want to take away these things, they will still be just as free with the new laws as they were without it.
The vast majority of Americans are blind to one inescapable fact: If you attack one freedom, you ultimately attack all freedoms. Any abridgement of freedom, even the proverbial “you can’t yell fire in a movie theater” abridgement, will eventually be used to justify another attempt to take away your freedom. The argument has always been “but we already do X”, as if that justifies the whole thing. It’s a classic example of the camel’s nose soon leading to the whole camel being inside the tend.
In a special podcast, Jason and Brett interview Rob McNealy, discussing his campaign, positions on issues, and his candidacy. McNealy is currently a Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Congress in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District.
This special edition podcast is the third in a series devoted to showcasing liberty candidates nationwide. McNealy talks about his liberty-focused campaign against an incumbent Republican in Colorado (Tom Tancredo’s former seat) and a pro-war Democrat.
What if we wake up one day and learn that the terrorist threat is a predictable consequence of our meddling in affairs of others and has nothing to do with us being free and prosperous?
Thursday evening I posted on my Facebook profile the speech that Congressman Ron Paul gave on the House floor, opposing the auto industry bailout (the so-called “bridge loan”), along with the following comment:
“This speech on the auto bailout speaks for itself. Congressman Paul really puts it all into perspective. Were that there were more in Congress like him.”