Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 492, November 9, 2008

"Just as 'only Nixon could go to China,' only
the first black president would attempt to
reimpose slavery on a nation that once tore
itself into bloody shreds to put an end to slavery."

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An Instinct for Liberty
by Kent McManigal
dullhawk -+at+-

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

I hope I am not alone in this, and judging by what I read from a few other people out there, I suspect I am not, but I feel as though I have an instinct for liberty. It just seems to be a natural part of my existence. I am not talking about anything mystical, but a natural, inborn understanding of what liberty really is and why it is important to protect.

This liberty instinct is both good and bad. On one hand, it means I am able to see that liberty will always work, given the opportunity, and that I am able to see options other than "the state" in every instance. On the downside, it means it is very hard for me to understand or identify with those who either have no such instinct or have been forced to bury it. It also means I have little patience for those who would try to forcibly crush this instinct in my life or in the lives of others. I feel such aggression as deeply as I feel any other physical, mortally dangerous attack. That is why I so often stand up for the rights of seriously unpopular people. If they initiate force, they should be dealt with at the time and place of the attack by their intended victim or a rescuer. Otherwise, even if they are despicable, they should be left alone until such an event allows them to be removed from society in a completely moral and ethical fashion. Liberty gives us that option and responsibility.

As with any other naturally occurring instinct, I would hope that more and more people get in touch with this integral part of their psyche and also work to awaken it in their children. It has been neglected, denied, and fought against for too long. Some really bad people in really bad groups have used this tactic to gain "authority" where none really exists. It is time to turn the tide.

Your friends and neighbors may be resistant to finding their own instinct for liberty. After all, it has been even more harshly repressed than have our natural sexual instincts. For many of the same reasons. Liberty gives our lives meaning and joy. It also gives us awesome power. People have been trained to think that with liberty comes chaos. Demonstrate the falsehood of this lie with your every breath. Actions speak louder than words, but words can call attention to actions. Education can create a hunger to express a long-suppressed instinct on their part if you can get their attention.

An instinct for liberty allows us to face our lives and the responsibilities that go with them with the knowledge that we alone are to credit or to blame. We don't fall short because "the law" ordered us to do the wrong thing, or even because it shielded us from the consequences of our actions. "The law" is a corrupt relic of barbarians and parasites. Don't expect to use "the law" as a crutch or an excuse. If we do wrong it is because we chose to do so. If others are harmed by our actions, we must make it right or face restitution. Can you afford restitution for helping the state kidnap or kill a person who had "the wrong plant" in his home? If not, you should do everything in your power to avoid taking on that debt. Repudiate the state. We have the power; not the government.

Instincts can get stronger by listening to them. The reverse is also true: so many in our society have had their instincts weakened by closing their minds and refusing to hear the call. Stop repressing your instinct for liberty, and start listening to it. The voice will get louder and the instinct will get clearer. It will serve you well, and I don't think it will ever fail to lead you in the right direction. Liberty is always the right course.

Kent McManigal's web site is


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