Freedom. Isn’t that what we all want today?
We hear the term constantly. Yet, unfortunately, most who use it do not properly understand its meaning. Instead of freedom FROM coercion and aggression many have been erroneously taught to take the word as meaning freedom TO something: a job, health care, financial aid, etc.
I do not cast aspersions or despise my well-intentioned liberal friends who really do want to help others and see “social justice” and not private charity as the best means to provide that help. Economically, however, social justice means that someone—usually one with more resources—is forcibly made to hand over their money to a central power to redistribute as IT sees fit. That’s not freedom.
Government always relies on some form of coercive action—it cannot otherwise exist. One cannot opt out of government participation. Even the much-lauded “safety net” meant to assist those in trouble must be composed of material TAKEN from others. It is most certainly not a voluntary contribution on the part of those who have the resources that are deemed expendable and needed for the nebulous public good.
And once said resources are taken they are rarely—if at all—specifically directed or distributed contrary to the State’s public relations rhetoric. Whereas private charity usually involves a face, welfare programs involve a “cause.” There is a significant difference—and plenty of middlemen and bureaucrats are involved.
All individual instances of hardship and/or destitution must be looked at—and corrected—as such: INDIVIDUAL instances. Government-coerced redistribution scatters monetary assistance (after the accounting of administrative and confiscation costs) far and wide at problems writ large, not specific people facing specific problems.
And it’s not just government welfare programs based on what I believe are immoral principles (coercion and force), that should have us all upset—especially when, fifty years after the “Great Society”, not much has improved statistically for the poor; we should also all be concerned with how our government continually thinks nothing of getting involved (financed by our money) in endless war, unnecessary global excursions, crony mercantilism and now even domestic spying. My liberal friends should be just as upset with the government as any red-blooded libertarian—and many of them are. Talk to Ralph Nader if you get the chance.
Government is out of control. It has gotten downright dangerous in far too many instances. Why, then, do we clamor for its help still? Has history not been learned? I think the answer to that is sadly clear.
Don’t like the term “libertarian”? Then research what it meant to be a classical liberal. Or become an independent. Most of all THINK FOR YOURSELVES—please don’t let the Republicans and Democrats do it for you.
And as for freedom and what it really is? The concept itself properly signifies a negative: The right to be left alone—without taking from or harming others while forming private alliances as one sees fit. Sounds like a wonderful social strategy to me—like that other great term, the FREE market.
But that’s another column.
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