What is freedom, and how do we implement it? For decades we've seen presidents trying to "spread democracy and freedom" in other countries, all with abysmal levels of success. My primary concern is first to spread freedom here at home, because we're severely lacking in that area. But it's important that we first understand what freedom is, and how to successfully spread it.
by Nick Coons
It is the nature of humans that we must do certain things in order to survive and thrive, such as eat, sleep, and maintain ourselves. "Freedom" is not "freedom from our nature", as that can only be achieved by coercing others to provide the necessities of life for us. "Freedom" is "freedom from coercion", the ability to live our lives as we see fit so long as we don't infringe on anyone else's rights to do the same. Ben O'Neill wrote an article titled " Is The Starving Man Free? ", which illustrates this beautifully.
Second, we must understand that freedom cannot be legislated. Government does not create freedom, it simply mimics society as a whole. We can see the similarities today. Our federal government is approximately $11 trillion in debt, and the average American has credit card debt that will take him years to pay off. Politicians do whatever they can to avoid accountability, and the average person is often trying to place the responsibility of their actions on to others. Government's form is the effect of society's beliefs. Therefore, changing government requires changing the beliefs of people.
This is often the reason that libertarians run for office; because it gives us a platform on which to stand in order to spread ideas. This is the reason for the Libertarian Solution Radio Program. And there are generally two arguments that promote the libertarian idea for every issue; the freedom argument and the pragmatic argument. The freedom argument says that a particular situation should exist because it increases freedom and individual choice. The pragmatic argument says that we should implement an idea because it will have a positive net effect. Here is an example.
Drugs should be legalized, the freedom argument: Every adult owns their own body, and therefore has the right to put into it whatever they want, but must personally take responsibility for those actions. The idea that government are our parents and can have so much control over our lives is the cause of virtually all of society's ills.
Drugs should be legalized, the pragmatic argument: Substance prohibition causes increased use of the prohibited substance, creates black markets, and new violence related to trafficking the substance. Criminalizing drug use and the trillions spent on the War on Drugs has caused higher levels of drug use, prison crowding, and an increase in violent crimes.
(Note two things: First, neither of these arguments are intended to condone drug use. Second, both of these arguments are very short summaries. For a more in-depth look at this issue, see Marc J. Victor's article titled "Legalize Methamphetamine").
If we want freedom in our country, and in our world, we have to spread it by persuasion and education. I would recommend to everyone a book titled "Healing Our World" by Dr. Mary Ruwart. This provides freedom and pragmatic arguments for many issues and shows how they can be implemented. Additionally, I would recommend The Online Freedom Academy. It's a free online course, and once you've gone through it you are encouraged to "mentor" one person per year.
I am a voluntaryist and you can be too, if you want. - Ross Kenyon
Seatbelts! Free Choice in the Age of Coercion - Ross Kenyon
Legalize Drugs and Criminalize Politicians - Jim Iannuzo