Or at least, here’s to hoping.
I am a pessimist by nature (because I’m all too familiar with human nature) but I am hoping that 2014 will witness more people becoming aware of the heretic – to authority – ideas of self-ownership and the non-aggression principle that flows from it. These notions, if they ever take hold of more than 10 percent of the population could change not just our country but the world – for the much better.
Whenever I get into a discussion with an authoritarian – whether of the left or the right – I always try to bring them face to face with the violence they espouse. We Libertarians (and anarchysts) are accused of many things; of being “immature” and “selfish” and “unrealistic.” But one thing we cannot be accused of is that we are violent.
No one can lay genocide at the feet of Libertarianism. There is no Libertarian Stalin or Hitler or Pol Pot or Kim Il Sung. No pogroms; no ethnic cleansing or Apartheid. No enslavement of whole populations. If not having anything to do with such things marks one as “immature” and “unrealistic,” then these are honorable titles.
Whatever difference of opinion human beings may have about how to live, if aggressive violence is eschewed, then the worst that can result is hurt feelings. Live – and let live – has never resulted in mass graves.
If we each accept the idea that no one owns anyone except themselves, it follows that no one may exert control over anyone else, or over their lives – for to control something is to own something. Imagine a world free of people insisting they own other people’s lives by insisting they have the right to control other people’s lives. Other people’s finite, incalculably precious lives. Once taken, a moment can never be restored.
Some will gather themselves up in high dudgeon and paint vivid pictures of the “chaos” that would ensue. Yet the record of human history shows, depressingly, what the order of authority has accomplished. And of course, there is the straw man notion that absent collective coercion there would be no natural order. That peaceful, voluntary interaction could not achieve – without blood, without bayonets – what coercive violence has never achieved: a just society in which everyone is equally sovereign, in which no individual, no group has special rights. In which each person has the absolute right to be left in peace so long as he himself is peaceful.
These concepts are immensely appealing – and have the additional virtue of being intellectually consistent, a quality no form of authoritarian collectivism has ever had or ever can have.
Self-ownership and the NAP are Kryptonite to authoritarians of all persuasions. It is why authoritarians never debate us directly but instead attempt to smear us with non sequiturs as above. That we are “immature” and “selfish” and all the rest of it.
But, if we keep plugging away, I am convinced we’ll break through. There is no concept more powerful than the concept of self-ownership. Get anyone to think about it and their thinking will never be the same again. At some level, even if not entirely conscious, a kernel of doubt – of guilt – will begin to form about the rightness of asserting control over someone else’s life. Ideas are powerful. And Libertarian ideas are, in my firm belief, the most powerful ideas man’s mind has ever conceived.
That – plus greasy garage talk – is what EPautos is all about. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for helping us make a go of it and to wish you and yours great good things for the coming year.
Peace to you all.
And may others come to see the virtue in being peaceful.