Freedom Is Scary!

cuneiform By Jessica Pacholski

Robert Heinlein wrote that “People fall into two categories:Those who wish to rule and those who have no such desire.” I have never had any desire to lead, I also have no desire to follow, mostly I’ve always just wanted to do my own thing and allow others the same latitude. I don’t think I know what’s right for the world, mostly because over the last 36 years I have only the been able to figure out what’s right for me. I know the laws I live by and they are not externally enforced, but rather my own code that I developed through trial and error. I have no need to force these views on others. However, I know the world is filled with people looking for a savior or looking to be one.

I am unusual in that I’m a non believer in government designed society. It seems that people hold a superstition that there is a magical set of men and women, who upon election will right every wrong and make this world an utopia. They swear that there is a group of people who are better, smarter, and more capable of making decisions for you than you are. If you disagree with this premise then you are obviously a dangerous anti social non conformist who must be educated. However, I don’t know how any small group can mak e decisions that are fair and equitable for all of us unless they protect the rights of each person individually. From where I sit there are two major flaws in their premises, one: that coercion can ever bring utopia and two: that the nature of man changes by being elected.

All men having power ought to be mistrusted to a certain degree.~ James Madison

Being a non conformist myself, I’ll tackle two first. The men and women offered as candidates are no more omniscient or omnibenevolent than you are, in other words: their feet are as made of the same clay as yours. The notion that democracy is sacred in some way deludes even relatively smart people into believing that a person who is voted for is somehow “better” than themselves and their fellow citizens. Just because you voted for one candidate or another doesn’t mean there will not be tyranny, democracies can and have voted themselves into totalitarian states.

Democracy, in and of itself, is not an insurance of good governance or protection of liberty, especially when accountability is abandoned and the law is derided as anachronistic. When I use the term law I mean the Constitution, there is plenty of lip service paid to it, but very few people understand it or advocate it’s protection on the whole. They tend to cherry pick what they see as unbreakable and dismiss other parts as unimportant. This document must be kept as a whole and not subject to whimsical interpretation if it is to protect anyone’s rights. That means that we all better start thinking that all speech is protected, our privacy is sacred, that to bear arms is a right and to return to hard currency. They are all important pieces to the firewall against tyranny.

There is an old saying, “Never give power to a friend when an enemy may inherit it.” In a democracy this is an especially important piece of advice. We seem to trust those who have our views with powers that we would never trust the opposition with and then we are afraid what will happen when the “other guy” takes over. When you put anyone in power, where they have say over you, you better understand that they are human and subject to the temptations power. Knowing your rights and the governments limitations set fo rth in the law are the only protection you have against a despotic government. In other words, ignorance is not bliss, it’s slavery.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.~ George Washington

Government is not a good tool to bring upon social change because it’s nature is one of coercion. The end argument is always the gun when it comes to enforcement of policy and this is not the optimum method for changing things for the better. Every law enacted is an increase of centralized power and a decrease in individual power. In essence, every time you ask the government to enact a law, even if it is with the best of intentions, to force another to do the “right” thing, you inevitably tighten the noose around your own neck. Let’s take a look at Social Security, good intention, bad outcome. We have an entire generation paying into an insolvent system that will more than likely collapse before they can receive their “benefits”.

The War on Drugs is another example, as are the Brady Laws. The restrictive laws against gun ownership have only served to increase violence in the areas that have the highest compliance, a completely contrary, though foreseeable, outcome of those policies. The War on Drugs has increased drug use, drug potency, and related violence and given the cartels more power and money than they could ever had amassed without them. As a matter of fact, it seems that those two policies, along with other government intervention like eminent domain, have been a toxic combination for our inner cities. Yet, they are still championed by many as necessary to bring about a “great” society. I beg to differ, I think they have managed to turn our cities into mini police states and the effect is rippling out from those epicenters like an mushroom cloud.

Be the change you want to see in the world. ~Mohatma Ghandi

Ghandi had it right, if we are to live in freedom we must all act as free people. I do not think it is possible to legislate utopia, from everything I’ve seen it usually backfires. Peace and freedom are up to us as individuals and cannot be reached by blind belief in the government. The state is always looking to expand it’s power, by trying to use it to control others or to take care of you, you put yourself in it’s sights. The complement to freedom is responsibility, if you give up responsibility over your own life in the hope that you will be provided for by your representatives, you will lose your rights to them in exchange. In some ways liberty is like walking the high wire without a net, it is risky and it takes knowledge and self discipline. This is what scares people about freedom, that they will be held responsible for their own welfare. You can have liberty or you can have security, but you can’t have them both at once. Centralized organization may give you a sense of security, but is it worth it’s cost?

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