L. Neil Smith's

Number 15, October 1, 1996.

Questioning Authority Four

By Victor Milan

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

1) Does everybody have to become a libertarian for us to gain freedom?

         I have the answer to that one: no.
         When I was young, whenever I questioned authority I got: "What would the world be like if everybody thought the way you do?" "A shitload freer," was one answer that came to mind, as well as, "Like that's gonna happen!" But the most persistent answer was: "Boring."
         If we wait for everybody to agree with us in every little particular -- well, that ain't gonna happen: we lose. And if they did, what fun would it be? Jeez, I thought faceless grey conformity was what we were fighting against.
         We need to differentiate between "cultural libertarianism" & the essential acceptance of what libertarianism is all about: the Non-Aggression Principle.
         As Vin Suprynowicz warns we should be wary of "allies" who ain't, from drug-legalization types who don't want us to possess the means to defend ourselves to the depressingly familiar gun-rights zealots who worship the War on Drugs like Moloch -- and indeed, that's how the War on Drugs is worshipped. But if people accept the NAP, they're libertarian where it counts.


         Anton Sherwood (dasher@netcom.com) reports:

"I hear, nth-hand, that it is becoming possible to tell the electric monopolists to go fish -- small generators coming on market cost not much more per joule than the standard flavor."

         I think this is worth looking into; time for some Web-fishing.


         Jackie Ralston (ralston@saber.udayton.edu) asks:

2) "How viable an alternative to currency is the barter system?

"It seems to me that exchanging goods and services among people, rather than currency, offers some advantages. First, it's a flexible method of exchange, offering a concrete means to judge value and reach mutually acceptable agreement. Second, it lifts the tax burden that is present with most monetary transactions. Third, these exchanges are more difficult for the IRS to track and reach their grubby, greedy fingers into (although they probably do try already). Fourth, the less individuals use the 'coin of the realm', the less value it has, and the less sanction we give to one of the most egregious infringements upon our liberty.

"As a college professor, I realize that not everyone can easily convert their current livelihood to barter in lieu of money entirely. But that doesn't mean we cannot begin reducing our support of uncle sam's funny money. For example, in exchange for changing the oil in my car, I could bake the technician a pie a week for a month, or rake the leaves in his yard, etc. I'm sure with other creative minds on this, higher-level solutions that reduce the use of currency could be found also."

         FWIW, I believe IRS does try to track barter transactions. Of course, how feasible that is is another question entirely.
         Also, let's not forget the old standbys: silver and gold.


         Michael G. Boone (boone@tima.com) writes:

"A way out of the mess called the world situation can be found at http://www.kiva.net/~padanarm. Try it. You just might like it. It's called going to work and actually building a better world and letting the shit flush itself automatically."

         Padanaram -- its name, abbreviated in the URL, comes from two Hebrew words -- is a voluntary community founded in 1966 in Martin County, Indiana. Thirty years and counting is a fine run. Please check out their Web page and see what they're about.
         Padanaram is explicitly religious and communitarian. Two of its basic principles are "Hold all things in common count nothing one's own," and "Distribution to each according to the need." Even if you're as individualist, propertarian, and agnostic as I am, don't let the rhetoric slam your mind shut.
         From a libertarian viewpoint there is an all-important difference between these people and communists [including those who currently hide behind the label "communitarian"]: coercion. The people of Padanaram don't want to force you to join, and don't want to force you to pay their bills. They want to live free, according to their lights, and they are doing it.
         Living free and coercing no one. What else does a free world consist of?
         Whether their particular tenets suit you or not, the people of Padanaram are doing what needs done: rendering government irrelevant by creating and living in a voluntary alternate system. Think of a free society as a great house, the mightiest work of Humankind. Padanaram is one brick of a potentially limitless number from which the house is built. The wonderful thing is that, with the Non-Aggression Principle for mortar, the bricks can be of any size and any shape. The very diversity -- let's reclaim that word from the fascist dickweeds, shall we? -- of its components is what gives Freedom House both strength and beauty.
         And be wary of prejudgement. Michael Boone again: "When I entered the kingdom many years ago, I was told thus: Communal living breeds cookie stamp people. I am a witness to the fact that this is absolutely NOT true. You have never seen a more individualistic people in your life."
         He adds, "We have a college professor come here for a week every year with a class of students. He was asked once to sum up in ONE word what he thought of Padanaram. The word was 'tolerant'."
         "Tolerant" is a good word. I can't think of many better.


         Finally, my thanks to Craig Goodrich for coining the phrase, "Milan-type secessionist-anarchist." Aside from simple ego-gratification -- and I know full well I'm not the first or only person to advocate the ideas I'm pushing here -- Craig summed up my agenda better than I've been able to: secession, one person at a time.
         Which brings up the question:

3) If you don't free yourself, how are you going to gain freedom?

         It seems to me the only alternative is to hope somebody gives it to you as a gift.

4) Do you actually expect the government to give you freedom?

Prometheus Award-winner Victor Milan is the author of over 70 novels, including the just-released CLD from AvoNova and War in Tethyr from TSR.

Next to advance to the next article, or Previous to return to the previous article, or Index to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 15, October 1, 1996.