Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 576, June 27, 2010

Mercantilism is the same thing that we now call "fascism"

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

I think it was Heinlein who one time wrote "Don't expect people to be better than they are or put up with them being worse than they have to be,"or words to that effect. There are several reasons to subscribe to this theory, especially if one subscribes to minority political beliefs.

The first, of course, is distorted elitism. It is too easy to develop an attitude of "I'm right, you're wrong so shut up and do as I tell you" attitude. This makes it very tempting to determine to seize control of the state and impose one's right answers on everyone by force. From the abuses of the Bolsheviks to the overreaching of American partisan politicians of the present 'tis this distorted elitism that leads to tyranny. This temptation is how so many originally good people get turned into monstrous tyrants ( I'll only use the power of the One Ring for good. Until it takes over my soul that is.).

Secondly, it is easy to decide to blow off the concerns of people. It is too easy to forget that people are worried about drug related crime problems, suffering bigotry or reverse discrimination, lack of money for health services, educating their children, and dozens of other problems because they really have to face these problems. Toss in big mouth politicians and media types looking to sell copy and advertising space and existing problems become huge, non existent ones suddenly become all too existent. And the people get convinced that government is the only answer, that if a little government won't solve the problem fast enough even more government is necessary.

Do you really think we can create a libertarian or anarchist society and not show people that we can deal with these concerns? That simply saying and not proving that the problem has been exaggerated by politicians looking for votes and media moguls looking for sales will work? Undoubtedly there are those with a "Don't confuse me with the facts, I've made up my mind" attitude. There also those who simply need to be shown the facts to wise up and come to our side.

For example, if we don't show people that cities with lax gun laws have lower crime rates than those with stricter we can't complain that they support gun control. Our enemies may be "evil, stupid and insane," but if they control the information flow to the people they will get their way.

Fail to address people's needs, fail to communicate that creating a truly free society will meet their needs and is in fact meeting their needs, and do not be surprised if people concerned for their well being and their children's well being are deceived by authoritarians. Don't expect people to be better than they are, do not expect that guided by virtue and psychic inspiration they will turn to the path of freedom.

Thirdly, don't let evil stand. Speak out against bad laws (which should give you lot's to talk about). Jump in the political fray. We live in a society that subscribes to the majoritarian philosophy, that believes silence is consent. Speak out or realize that your silence is not seen as refusal, it is viewed as consent.

Call people down for bigoted statements. When someone complains about "Press one for English, oprima el dos por espanol," ask them if the company they are on the phone with is too good to take Spanish speakers' money. Call people on authoritarian statements. Don't let them get away with "we can't admit that everything we've done so far was wrong" on drug and immigration policies. Always beat the drum on how permitting a minor exception to civil liberties can turn into a policy of regular violation of rights and then if the exception is unavoidable ride people to make sure they it stays a rare exception, not a general rule.

Don't put up with people being worse than they have to be. And if that means verbally going the rounds with people you disagree with so be it. The alternative is to permit evil to occur without resistance.

I'm sure that there are those who find this commentary obvious and foolish, or who disagree with my examples. Feel free to comment. There are others who feel that playing the political game and speaking up are foolish. Your choice is noted. Please don't waste your time or mine explaining the virtues of dignified silence, exercise it instead. Sorry to be snarky, but you've already made your choice and it is one I respect, or at least I respect your right to make it. Please extend to me the courtesy of allowing me to act on the choice I make.

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