The Future of Liberty

Roger Kimball – a genuinely smart guy and a great writer – has a long article up over at Pajamas Media entitled The Anglosphere and the Future of Liberty.  It is a good article and well worth reading, but I do think it misses a very important point.  The gist of it is that the Anglosphere – those nations which share the English language and precepts of English law and government – have led the world in to liberty and are likely to save and restore liberty in the future.  In as much as it asserts that the English-speaking world has had a unique desire for liberty, it is correct.  It is also correct in the assertion that it is the English desire for local rule which is the basis for this liberty.  But if anyone is thinking that because of this heritage that there is a future for liberty in the world, then he’s gravely mistaken.

Kimball is smart enough to out a large “if” on the whole concept – if we do what is right and necessary, then we may save and restore liberty.  But I believe that most in the Anglosphere don’t understand fully what is right – what, that is, needs to be done.  And this is because we fail to understand why liberty is dying: it is dying because people work for others, rather than themselves.

Liberty is not an outgrowth, tyranny is.  Liberty is the natural condition of all mankind, until the corruptions of the world come along and wreck it.  We don’t actually run from tyranny to liberty, but it is always from liberty to tyranny.  You can’t have a revolution – a real one, that is, as opposed to the mere replacing of one tyranny with another – without there being a democracy; without, that is, a free people who are possessed of liberty and thus willing to fight to preserve it.  The Founders were not slaves – they were free men, and so fought when they perceived that someone was proposing to take their freedom away.  And here’s the thing – you can’t have a democracy unless a majority of the people are independent of all others.  For there to be liberty, most people must be able to take care of themselves without let or hindrance from anyone else.  

In olden times, this was done by trying to have at least a majority be free farmers, working their own land.  That is not terribly practical today, but the fact of the matter is that liberty started to atrophy in the Anglosphere at the same time that a majority of people stopped being owners of the means of their own livelihood.  As we were ever more crammed in to cities to work in factories and offices owned by others, we became unfree – and ever more willing to listen to people who proposed to take from some and give to others.  It made more sense, don’t you see?  When you’re a free man or woman working your own farm you know what “re-distribution” is – it is the taking of what you’ve worked very hard for and giving it away.  When you’re a drudge in a factory or an office cubicle, it becomes less clear…its a matter of taking away from the rich SOB who runs the factory or office and, presumably, giving to you, the worker.  That it doesn’t work out like that doesn’t take away from the appeal of such a scheme in a society which has become unfree – most of the money taken from one group of rich people is just passed over to the group of rich people currently favored by the government, of course, but the rhetoric of re-distribution appeals to a sense of justice in the wage-earner.

And this is where we conservatives have failed for so long – we don’t accept that socialism has an appeal, let alone an appeal to an actual, genuine sense of justice.  But, it does.  Deep in the hearts of all men and women is a notion that you really shouldn’t have too much – certainly not too much of wealth you clearly didn’t earn by the sweat of your own brow.  This is why there is little hostility to someone who builds up even a quite successful small business and becomes a millionaire, but there is resentment against a financial shark who made his billions by sharp practice.    The socialists twist this rational sense of justice, of course.  No socialist has ever really figured out what the problem is, but they have figured they can make hay by playing upon rational resentments and twisting those emotions in to a scheme whereby the socialist now becomes the owner (as it were) of the un-earned wealth – the distributor of the fat, and thus the tyrant of society.  But for all their twisting, we must not loose sight of the fact that there is a real basis here. 

If there is to be a future for liberty we won’t find it in appeals to a Constitution that most Americans only have a hazy idea about.  We won’t find it in a rigid defense of what is called Capitalism but which has completely degenerated in to a State-run, crony-Capitalism.  If there is to be a future for liberty it will only come by a revolutionary movement determined to set up a system which will in short order get a solid majority of the people owning their own means of livelihood.  Either directly as individuals, as part of family enterprises, or as worker-owned and managed cooperatives.  Once we get 50% plus 1 of the American people working desperately hard for themselves and only enriching themselves, then all appeals to socialism will die off…people are able to be suckered in to thinking that stealing from others is a good idea until they realize the person being plundered is themselves. 

All our proposals must advance this cause.  We must seek to tear down regulations which hamper business formation.  We must reform the tax code so that it doesn’t punish someone who wants to work.  We must provide financial backing and incentives via the tax and regulatory code to make it ever more appealing for people to set up on their own.  And we must campaign among the propertyless with a vision of them owning property and working for themselves – not because we’ll get all of them, all at once, to join us, but because we’ll get some of them…and any addition to our ranks of free and independent citizens means that genuine democracy has spread, and our side is one step closer to victory.  Our campaign must be of Freedom against Slavery…while making it clear we mean real freedom: the freedom to work for one’s self and take care of one’s own. 

There is a future for freedom, IF we understand what freedom really is and then go out and fight for it.

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24 thoughts on “The Future of Liberty

  1. Retired Spook October 7, 2013 / 8:12 am

    Liberty is the natural condition of all mankind, until the corruptions of the world come along and wreck it.

    Mark,

    I’m not sure if I’m disagreeing or simply stating it a different way, because I’ve always believed that freedom is the natural yearning of the human spirit, but tyranny has been the natural condition of most of civilization. Freedom, as it exists today in much of the developed world, is an historical aberration. That said, I do agree that the more people are in charge of their own destiny, the greater level of freedom will be enjoyed by all. It’s why I started my own business 22 years ago, and why I picked a business that was as free from government regulation as possible.

    • M. Noonan October 7, 2013 / 12:33 pm

      My view is that whenever you get a group of people together who are roughly equal, democracy is the normal thing – no one wishes to be put upon. I think part of our problem is that our earliest written records are of Egypt and Babylon and the were run by tyrannies – but by the time the Egyptians and Babylonians were writing, civilization was already very old. More than likely, they grew up initially like the Greeks, which are shown to be roughly democratic from the get-go, and as we find them writing (having probably been instructed in the art by older civilizations), I think that if we had written records of Egypt going back to the start we’d find that the Egyptians started out democratic and became enslaved over time…someone there figured out a scam to get the people to work not for themselves but for others, probably along the lines of “if we all work together we can grow more food”, and they were caught, because then the surplus food was held by the government.

      • Amazona October 7, 2013 / 7:45 pm

        Mark, I don’t agree with your analysis. I think the progression of civilization is based on the awareness in a farming village, for example, that if Andy has better horses and Bernie has better crops, the distribution of labor is more efficient if Andy is the village horse breeder, Bernie is the farmer, Calvin makes shoes for everyone, and so on, and then they barter what they do have for what they need.

        Pretty soon there are several villages involved in this undertaking because in doing so they not only maximize production, they maximize protection, because they can assemble a larger number of people to defend the area. It is just too labor-intensive for one family to grow its crops, tend its sheep flock, shear the sheep, card and spin and dye and weave the wool, slaughter the sheep, cut up the meat, breed its horses, train its horses, shoe its horses, make the harnesses and saddles, forge its plows, tend its own cattle herds, slaughter and butcher its own cattle, tan its own hides, make its own shoes, smoke its own meat, etc. The quality of life goes up dramatically when people can focus on the areas where they have skills, and then trade what they are good at for what other people are good at.

        And if those who are good at growing crops end up with more food than they can or need to trade, they realize that they worked harder than they needed to. Or they can use this excess food to acquire wealth, earned through their skills and labor, so eventually they might have enough sheep and cows and maybe a tannery or a flour mill so that they no longer have to plow and harvest, but can trade their other forms of wealth for what they want.

        Government comes in, for example, in times when these cooperatives need a standing army that has to be paid, so they have to contribute to these costs. When the size of a community demands administration, these costs have to be borne by those benefiting from that administration. I don’t see an automatic big meanie government just taking over the fruits of the labors of others.

        This only happens when people give up their personal liberty in favor of government so expansive that it sucks up more and more property to support itself and gain power. When you can stick to a “government for the people, by the people” concept you don’t have the government owning stuff like extra food.

      • M. Noonan October 7, 2013 / 9:14 pm

        I do – at least, after a while. Remember, the Roman Republic was a Republic of freeholders and pretty much the entire male citizen class was the army. It was when Rome grew rich and people started to buy out the small farmers to set up large farms and then those former farmers came in to the cities to work for others that you started getting demands of the dole, a paid, professional army instead of a citizen militia and eventually a Caesar comes along to promise that as long as all power is given to him, he’ll make everything fair. We cannot, of course, return to a time when 90% of us farmed for a living – but we can get to a point where the majority of us work for ourselves…indeed, we must get to such a point, or liberty will die. Abstract things like “the right to keep and bear arms” cannot stand up unless the arms-bearer is defending what is entirely his.

      • dbschmidt October 7, 2013 / 9:05 pm

        Ama,

        One of my first (on my own) communities was the dockage near Pensacola, Fl. As a student at a nearby college, I quickly learned the world of barter. I offer my skillset to others in trade for theirs. No government intervention and I could only imagine that any interference would have trashed the entire set of relationships. I have seen that everywhere else the government involves itself.

  2. Retired Spook October 7, 2013 / 9:12 am

    MarketWatch’s lead article about Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew’s appearance on all the Sunday shows yesterday has generated over 850 comments so far. I watched this turd on Fox News Sunday, and I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed anyone who was less willing to answer direct questions with direct answers. Chris Wallace caught him in several outright lies, and he just kept talking as if nothing had happened. The funniest one was when Lew said that President Obama has always looked for any way possible to negotiate and compromise with Republicans. I thought Chris Wallace was going to fall off his chair.

  3. J. R. Babcock (@JRBabcock) October 7, 2013 / 5:10 pm

    Obama has discovered the solution to illegal immigration and doesn’t even realize it. Just declare the area along the southern border a national park.

  4. dbschmidt October 7, 2013 / 8:59 pm

    I am not disagreeing in totality but rather on a different front. IIRC, the population of the US is just over 316 million people. I have also owned two businesses over the years of which I sold one (offer was too good) and took one defunct (reason doesn’t really matter—partner ran off with the $$$.) Dialogue being that a third of the population is destined to be owner/operators of a business, a third working for someone else and a third (mostly LIV) destined to find work within the government roles. At least this is my experience over 50+ years.

    Every day I am working for another in the corporate world—I am saving and preparing to return to the free market; however, I understand the game. Difference being is as I work in a cubicle—I understand how much I need to make for my boss so I can keep a job. That is the job I have now trying to find a new corporate job in this ObamaMess. Nevertheless, there are always people that will work for others no matter. Just as there are those that feels entitled and see no reason to work at all.

    I made decent money when I worked for a couple of major corporations and I was looking at opening a new business before Mr. Regulation (Obama) took office and/or was re-elected. Just as I did before—start off in the garage and work (and I really mean “work”) my way towards independence. I have no idea where I will end up over the course of the next year or so but I will reiterate the fact that there are those that desire freedom and those currently trapped in the Dilbert world of cubicles that will escape. Those that have made the escape (like Ama, Spook & Neocon, et.al.) a long time ago give us all hope. Finally, those that require government to survive including a great many of those I have met & dealt (mainly in government) with over the previous 7 plus years. If they were required to survive in the private sector—they wouldn’t and that is being nice.

    • neocon01 October 8, 2013 / 3:59 am

      we ALL work for some one else, as a business owner I work for every one of my customers.
      As a married man I work for the Princess…. damn im really a peon……LOL

  5. J. R. Babcock (@JRBabcock) October 8, 2013 / 8:21 am

    I wouldn’t have believed this with any previous administration, but I think the closures of various facilities that have no federal connection could very well be a dry run to see how much push-back it would generate. And since there was very little, expect to see future efforts push the envelope even further.

  6. Retired Spook October 8, 2013 / 11:23 am

    expect to see future efforts push the envelope even further.

    JR, you mean like this.

    • Amazona October 8, 2013 / 12:59 pm

      I think it is clear whose votes Barry is hustling/trying to buy.

      • Retired Spook October 8, 2013 / 1:20 pm

        Amazona,

        I wonder if there are any honorable Liberals (I know — an oxymoron) who are embarrassed by what’s going on.

      • J. R. Babcock (@JRBabcock) October 8, 2013 / 2:11 pm

        Come on, Spook, when was the last time you saw a liberal embarrassed by something done or said by other liberals? You have to be capable of shame to be embarrassed.

  7. Retired Spook October 8, 2013 / 2:45 pm

    Another gem from the YCMTSU file.

  8. bardolf2 October 8, 2013 / 3:47 pm

    This post made me wonder about the transition of health care toward/away from an employer based model (the model is itself a response to government intervention as Ann Coulter points out) as it relates to agriculture. Presumably most farmers must buy health insurance without the benefit of being in a larger pool which keep premiums down. The farmers I knew in Nebraska certainly had to go into the health insurance market largely on their own. Those premiums today, for a family of 4, are at or surpass 10K which is 10% if a farmer is bringing in 100K in profits+ earnings from side work. That 100K was typical only if one farmed 600+ acres of corn in the Midwest and also supplemented income with other lines of work. This is of course anecdotal from my long ago experience and I’d be curious to know what is happening now.

    Q: How can the 50% +1 people who Mark wants to make a living on their own (and who are not capital rich) afford medical coverage?

    I can imagine a scheme where just about everything else is affordable to massive self-employment.

  9. Amazona October 8, 2013 / 11:34 pm

    A week or so ago I heard two doctors interviewed on a radio talk show. I didn’t hear all of it so I don’t know if they are partners in their practice but the doctor I heard the most talked about having 1300 patients who pay about $50 per month, and this covers all basic medical care—sore throats, stitches, simple fractures, anything covered in a medical office, and it includes house calls when necessary. There are group and family plans and people over about 60 pay a little more. They also get all prescriptions at wholesale prices. They are encouraged to have major medical/catastrophic coverage for heart attacks, cancer, car wrecks, etc. Call this doctor with chest pains and he will send an ambulance and then contact the hospital with all your medical information.

    He loves it, because he is doing what he went into medicine to do—take care of sick people. He has no paperwork, no insurance billing.

    There are so many ways to address health care, but the best ones originate with doctors and patients, not with government.

    • dbschmidt October 9, 2013 / 12:46 pm

      Ama,

      I believe I was listening to the same radio broadcast and the doctors were from Kansas (Wichita, IIRC) that have started a “concierge” based service where $50 / month was the corporate rate but individuals would pay $35 / month on average. They would also need to get a catastrophic policy which they estimated at $300~$500 per month. That is affordable health care.

      Aside from having the doctor’s cell phone number, they mentioned that all services on-site were included including EKG, MRI and the like–all the way down to being stitched up which I need on occasion. On top of that they were also providing required medicine at a reasonable rate instead of going to a pharmacy. One example was a prescription that cost $250 they got wholesale at $7.50 and passed the savings onto their patients.

      For the fee–everything was included meaning no co-pays and the like. My great fear is that like HillaryCare before–ObamaCare might make this illegal. I know it does direct cash payments to doctors in general. Maybe this “concierge” based service is a way around and looks like it might be a model for the rest of the country but I am also sure that this administration will attempt to find a way to crush out the free market on their way towards single payer Socialism. Just look at what they are doing to our military & dependents, parks, kids with cancer, etc.

      • Amazona October 9, 2013 / 2:47 pm

        db, you are right—I do remember Wichita. Everyone I have talked to about this has loved the idea and several have asked if something like this is available in our area. I spent part of the time of this broadcast stuck at a road repair roadblock and every now and then the show would be drowned out by loud equipment noise but I got most of it and thought it was a great example of what can happen when people are allowed to evaluate problems and come up with solutions.

  10. Retired Spook October 8, 2013 / 11:44 pm

    There are so many ways to address health care, but the best ones originate with doctors and patients, not with government.

    That’s assuming that your (collective your, not you/your) primary concern IS health care.

  11. Retired Spook October 9, 2013 / 9:01 am

    Well, it didn’t take barriers to keep illegals and union thugs away from the rally on the Mall yesterday. It looks like lack of interest did.

    The disappointing turnout, and the poor turnout at a series of Oct. 5 events, will reduce lobbyists’ pressure on the GOP leadership to back a major rewrite of the immigration law, said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies.

    • M. Noonan October 9, 2013 / 11:17 am

      It does seem to have flopped – now, its still an important issue and I do think that we must pursue immigration reform, but my view is that we should be wary because no matter what we pass, Obama is just going to keep the doors open. Better, in a way, to wait for a rational President with some sense who can be relied on to enforce whatever law is finally passed.

      • Amazona October 9, 2013 / 12:34 pm

        I think we could pass a series of related laws (based on my belief that no bill should cover more than one thing, be limited in length, be written by its sponsor, and be accompanied by a brief explaining how it is consistent with the 10th Amendment) which would set up a date for registration of illegal aliens, say from January 1-April 1, 2014, and saying that anyone here beyond the first of April who has not registered will be immediately deported with no possibility of return at any time for any reason.

        (A related law would make it a felony to be here past April 1, 2014, without proof of registration or legal permission to be here, such as a current visa.)

        With this law in place, whether or not people register would be immaterial. Those who do will be protected by temporary visas. Those who do not will be deported when discovered, even if that is well into the term of the next president.

        If this administration then stalls about investigating the registered aliens, all that will do will be to delay their move into long-term work visas. If the original law has a time limit on the temporary status, this will back Obama into a corner, as any delays on his part will result in his beloved Latino constituency being penalized.

        With a law like that in place, even with open borders anyone not registered by April 1, 2014, is subject to permanent deportation, even if our current regime allows him in between now and whenever he is picked up.

        I think that a law like this would put pressure on people to register, which would go against the Left’s desire to control the situation, and once these people are in the pipeline, being investigated and fast-tracked for long-term work visas, they have diminished the control the Left now has over them. This would be a law that would have impact and consequences even if it was not immediately followed. The deadlines would still stand, they would still put pressure on law-abiding aliens to cooperate, and they would still apply to those who are not registered no matter when they happened to enter the country.

        (BTW, I would also abolish the IRS, institute a Fair Tax, and put those IRS snoops to work on investigating newly registered illegals to determine whether or not they should be granted work permits. When the reach retirement age, hopefully our immigration backlog would be resolved and they would simply not be replaced, thereby slashing our federal workforce without dumping even more people into the current workplace.)

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