Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A better dream of freedom

It's amazing how often you'll hear an idea for a new law from someone who claims to be in favor of freedom. Of course, usually these self-proclaimed sons and daughters of liberty have already been elected to office, so they've already made some adjustments to their views of what freedom is.

It's still true that the US of A is a place where you can criticize The Powers That Be without being shot or imprisoned — most of the time. Of course, you can't do it in the presence of the Big Boss. Yikes, shouting "You lie!" to the emperor while he was giving a speech. That sort of thing just isn't done.

America is the place where your rights are fully protected as long as you don't infringe on other people's rights — like the right to smoke-free air, the right to free health care, and the right not to be exposed to someone else's religious beliefs. Your property is your own to do as you please with it — as long as you get the proper permits and inspections and pay the property tax. You can travel at will all over this great nation — after your person and luggage have been examined and ransacked. Unlike past empires, we have no ambitions to impose our will on conquered territories — pay no attention to the hundreds of military bases established all over the world.

Some of us have a better dream of freedom: "No one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being for any reason whatever; nor ... advocate the initiation of force, or delegate it to anyone else." I know, good luck with that. I still think a society based on that principle would be a lovely one to live in. The tricky part? By definition no one can be forced to live that way.

For some time I've been working, in fits and starts, on a novel about the creation of such a society — even put out a couple of chapters I have since set aside. The novel is starting to come together at last. No promises, though — I've done that before and missed the target.

That's not my main point today, anyway. Rather, it's just a reminder to beware of anyone who proclaims a devotion to liberty while advocating for a new restriction on liberty. Yes, I know I'm reminding you to beware of people you encounter pretty much every day. That's how pervasive the assault on freedom is. That stuff about "eternal vigilance" isn't far from the truth.

But in the end, the Zero Aggression Principle is about a very personal kind of freedom. You don't have to wait until some utopian society is created. You simply live it. And no one can take that away from you.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home