THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 379, August 6, 2006
"Absolutely Shockingly Amazing"
On the Encroaching National Slavery
Credit The Libertarian Enterprise
I've been reading Neil's articles the last few weeks about the "Portland Purge." One thing that has struck me is that too many people associated with the Libertarian Party have forgotten some basic facts. The first of these facts is that freedom isn't free! Oh, it's not something that can be purchased with money, but it always has a cost. That cost can be public ridicule. It can be imprisonment for a principle. It can be bankruptcy. It can be pain, or discomfort. Rarely is the cost for freedom something that would be anticipated with glee by those who have to pay that cost. Of the original signers of the Declaration of independence, over half paid the price: imprisonment, torture, death, bankruptcy, family members killed or imprisoned, homes burned, livelihoods destroyed.. Why is it that the so-called "Party of Principle" can't stand up for the basic principle of freedom? Why was it considered necessary to 'water down' the message of freedom? Did the party members who did their best to gut the message of the Libertarian Party do it out of spite, or cowardice? Or was it lack of commitment? I don't know. I do know, however, that trying to be appealing is not the way to be free.
That brings us to the second point. Freedom is never easy. It requires work, commitment, sacrifice, endurance, and dedication. In almost every case where a society has gained freedom, it has been the result of just a few hard-headed, anti-social, ornery cusses who have been looked on by all 'right-thinking' people as troublemakers, hotheads, terrorists, criminals, or any other derogatory name you could think up. Most people think of the American Revolution as a mass uprising. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the beginning, the hard-core support for revolution was well under 10 percent of the population. Government over-reaction began to drive more and more of the neutrals into the opposition. Corruption, preoccupation with overseas wars, and crackdowns on innocent people kept the pressure up, again driving more to the resistance. However, at no time did popular support for the revolution ever reach the over-whelming levels implied by most history classes. This fact alone tells us that appealing to the mass of voters is a hopeless task. Most people are too lazy, too complacent, or just too apathetic to care. The way to succeed is to reach the three to five percent who see the problems and are willing to work and struggle and sacrifice to live free. Then let the example of those reach out to those around them.
Now for the third point: Freedom is not an incremental thing. You are either free or you are not. You are a free man, or you are a slave. There is no middle ground. Saying that you are mostly free is like saying that a woman is mostly not pregnant. There's no such thing as a little bit free or a little bit pregnant. It's all or nothing. Right now, looking at Homeland Security, the TSA, the Secret Service, the FBI, the FCC, and the host of other federal agencies that think they have the right to restrict, regulate, ration, limit, or legislate what we can read, watch on TV, how we can dress when we travel, what we can drink, smoke, eat, or whom we can congregate with, I would have to say that the overwhelming majority of the people in this country who tolerate this are slaves. Not only are they slaves, but they are happy to be slaves. As long as they have a roof over their heads and food on the table, they don't CARE that they're slaves.
You doubt me on this? What do you call it when you have to PAY for the privilege of earning a living? When you have to pay for the privilege of owning your home? When you have to pay for the privilege of traveling, in your own personal vehicle? When you have to ask permission as to how you use your own property? When your property can be taken from you, on a whim, because someone else will pay more for the privilege of owing it? What do you call it when a person who has no children of their own is forced to pay for the education of the children of others? Isn't that a form of slavery? Being required to do something you wouldn't do of your own free will? What do you call it when you have to disrobe to travel by the most common, fastest form of commercial transport? When you are subject to search, humiliation, and possible imprisonment, based on the whim of whichever government goon happens to be on duty at the airline security checkpoint that day?
There are some people who are fighting back against encroaching national slavery. In our present society, it is almost impossible to avoid all vestiges of the current police state, but to blindly give in, as was done in Portland, is arrant cowardice.
For those who have read any of my early articles, you know that I hold Neil in the highest respect. There are a few areas that we have some issues of disagreement on, but I will never attempt to say that Neil has any less than the highest commitment to individual rights and responsibilities. Furthermore, going by his books, he seems to have a much clearer view of the possible outcomes of the actions of our current government than most do. To call him a radical for daring to speak the truth is nothing more than intellectual dishonesty, and perhaps indicates a severe case of cranial rectal insertion syndrome.