Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 423, June 24, 2007

"Never Give up, Never Surrender!"


Freedom, If You Mean It
by Ulrich Biele

Credit The Libertarian Enterprise

These days, a friend asked me for advice. He is considerably younger than I am and maybe this difference in age made him think I was qualified to give him an answer. He is involved with a girl and contemplates about going steady with her or maybe even marrying her.

Nothing really exciting, so far. The cockroach in the enchilada is that this girl has apparently more than a slight drug problem. I won't go into details, as they don't matter at all. My friend does not take drugs other than alcohol and caffeine in socially acceptable amounts, and he does not intend to change this.

My advice for him was to write off this girl and put as much distance as possible between him and her, feelings or not. This girl might be a beauty queen or richer than Paris Hilton, I'd leave my fingers off her.

Partnership, licensed or otherwise, does not only mean a social contract between two persons "society" considers adult enough, tax reductions and Kindergeld. It means responsibility. Mutual responsibility. You decide to live with another individual, share your life with your beloved one and build up a family. Love is one of the basic foundations for this mutual responsibility, and I would never try to found a family with someone I don't love.

I have seen (few) people, who have been successfully living with each other for fifty years and more, united not only in love, but in life as well, and I admire them honestly. Some of them are even married.

Such a partnership, call it marriage or by whatever name you like, is something mutual. Selfishness squared, too. The soul of a partnership is that both give and receive in the same moment. You pool resources, material, emotional and spiritual ones. You want to make your lives give sense and pass this sense on to your children and hope that they will carry on a tradition of love and sense.

You can't do this with a junkie. When someone decides to quit reality and dream his or her life away in a fog of chemical illusions and starts to depend on hallucinogenic drugs instead of his mind, you can no longer rely on this person. Love may blur your vision for a while, but one day, sooner or later, you will recognize the ugly face of reality. Junkies lie, at first to themselves, then to others; especially to those who still cling to their loving them. Partners of junkies at first try to deny reality, contributing to the twisted perception of the junkie, then, after all other emotions have eventually died of starvation, hatred and despair will prevail. You won't hate the junkie. You're going to excuse his behavior. You're going to hate yourself. You'll loathe your life, despise yourself for every second you helped this junkie to tell you lies, for believing these lies, for covering his ineptitude to face life as it is.

When eventually everything goes to pieces, destroyed by the one you pledged to love, cherish and honor for the rest of your life, you'll blame it on yourself. Not for the treason the other committed, but for your own. You have betrayed yourself and helped others to accomplish it.

I have seen junkies go down in various speeds, by various drugs or schemes, and once I made the mistake to allow feelings to grow towards one. When I realized what had happened, not until it was way too late, the damage was done. What I also realized was that I could not have helped this junkie in any way but to shun her. Make her know that if she would continue to deliberately destroy herself, she would have to do this all on her own. I am not my neighbor's Kindergarten ward, nor am I his insurance agent.

I don't ask for prohibition of anything. I really favor the availability of drugs with no restrictions at all, because I have realized that prohibitions, as well-intended as they might purport to be, turn out to be nightmares of oppression, government control and wholesale destruction of liberties, lives and hopes.

When anyone thinks he or she might find it "cool" to escape reality by the help of drugs, may they be legal or not, fine. I say: just go for it, if you feel so (I don't mind a vacant parking lot). But accept that I won't go with you. To me, reality has its ugly moments, sure, I lost my pink glasses before I had been old enough to go to school, but I think reality isn't that bad at all. To the contrary, I always find something to cheer me up even when times get rough. If somebody has another point of view, so what. I accept his being free to disagree with me. His freedom includes my own, and I chose to go my way. If anyone will join me, nice, but on my terms. A partnership, no matter how it is being called, is based on mutual values. If you can't share mine, I won't share my life with you. Go your way, I'll go mine. If you want to destroy yourself, feel free to do so, but don't count on me to watch you kill yourself -- or worse, kill a part of me as part of the procedure.

Freedom, the way I understand it, includes the freedom to undergo risks and adventures, as well as the freedom to decide which venture join and which not. My journey's goal is life, not suicide.

Some folks will try to sell you that you are responsible to help someone who has lost is way in life. I think you don't have to. Junkies deliberately chose the way they go and if someone pushes poison into his veins just because "others do it", or blames it on "society" or "circumstances", he can't be helped anyway. Some diseases are curable, stupidity isn't one of them.

I don't care if some professional altruists call me heartless, because I don't interfere with other people's deliberately destroying themselves. I was not part of their decision, I am not part of their problem which they can only solve on their own anyway. So I won't be of any use except as food for their vampirical "needs". No, thanks, my life is far too precious for that.

Junkies can't give what a partnership requires: mutual values, confidence and responsibility. Junkies just consume everything they can get hold of and don't care for what they destroy. They neither care for others, nor for themselves. If they don't care about themselves, why should others do?

So my advice is: if a junkie asks you to join him on the Highway to Hell, run. Fast. Opposite direction.

Ulrich Biele operates TANSTAAFL Consulting ("Independent Energy Solutions"), located in Munich.


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