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We’ve seen recently here on Ricochet lots of threads trying to parse libertarianism, or qualify libertarianism, or trying to understand libertarianism. How about, rather do all that, let’s just say that libertarianism means one thing:
People should be free to do as they please so long as they don’t aggress against other people.
For some people, that’s building enormous buildings. For some people it’s writing poetry. For some people it’s taking Ecstasy at a concert. For some people it’s making art. For some people it’s sitting in a basement, sniffing glue and watching vintage pornography. For some people it’s writing obscure monographs. For some people it’s traveling the world. For some people it’s laying in a field while tripping on LSD. For some people it’s cooking meals for friends. For some people it’s opening a small business. For some people it’s drinking beer and watching football. For some people it’s living in a monastery and spending 12 hours every day in silent meditation.
Different people have different values and libertarianism is the acceptance that maybe there isn’t one right answer to every question and that people should be free to peruse their own values peacefully in whatever way they see fit.
It’s also the acceptance that using laws and police and courts to force what you see as the one best thing onto everyone else not only fails every time, but is morally wrong.
Please stop trying to parse libertarianism. Please stop trying to qualify libertarianism. Please stop trying to understand libertarianism. Whenever you see or encounter the word, just replace it with “freedom to peacefully do things.” Because that’s what it means.
And yeah, sometimes it means the freedom to end up in a gutter with your dirty heroin needle stuck in your arm, and sometimes it means Klan rallies, and sometimes it means hosting symposia on Holocaust denial.
But by and large, and history shows this over and over, that when people are free of government restrictions in their deeds and thoughts, the overall effect is a more peaceful and more productive society.Published in