How Do We Accomplish Liberty?

What is the “Plan” for accomplishing liberty? How do we get it done?

This question, posed often by those both sympathetic and hostile to full human liberty and its implications, is one that sadly reveals to a great degree the success of our societal pro-government conditioning. Even after the realization of the moral incumbency of free action by each individual, we still instantly think in terms of imposing such a condition through hierarchical edicts from the top down. Since liberty is, itself, the absence of any such coercive external imposition this makes going about it tricky and counter-intuitive.

Using the political process to accomplish reductions of government violations of natural rights is completely acceptable from a moral point of view, even when deceptive. This is because doing so can not be reasonably construed to constitute consent for the system itself, and the implementation is merely that which is morally incumbent (a condition of free exercise of rights). Therefore, voters being deprived of the violations of individual rights to which they are accustomed as resulting from the political processes have not been deprived of any valid expectation. Ultimately, however, such a strategy for ending or reducing the state and its crimes against rightfully free individuals will fall short of accomplishing a lasting solution. It will fail because of the way the process itself is at odds with the ideals of liberty.

It is important to understand that the operating capability of the state does not rest purely on implemented or threatened force. If it did, it would be very limited in the scope of its effective control, and it would have to operate out of the public eye. The real “lynch-pin” for the state is that it rests on the widespread perception of its legitimacy, and the expectations of the people all around us in our churches, businesses and families. They spring into its service as enforcers (knowingly or not) with social reprisals against anyone who questions not just a particular government action, but the validity of our being subject to its rule at all.

That’s why the path to complete liberty is to undermine this concept and perception. We must do so slowly but surely until it becomes the same as a “flat earth” idea. Like the truth-based advances in human progress that preceded this one, it is a huge uphill battle against all of the weight of tradition and institutional inertia. However, once the social reprisals faced by the average person for supporting the use of state violence outweigh the social risks for opposing the state, it’s “game over” and we’ve won. We can see an example of this dynamic in the recent past with the example of racial segregation.

Encouraging People to Choose to Be Free

That understanding presents a much different long-term strategy, and one that requires uncomfortable conversations in our personal lives. To move the evolution of humanity forward toward liberty in a lasting way, we can all do a great deal without ever stepping in a voting booth or holding a campaign sign. People’s relationships with others are incredibly important to them. We can point out tactfully and calmly the reality of government force in a very personal way. We can explain to them that the schemes of state solutions with which they agree, are being imposed upon millions who do not … at the barrel of a gun. We can point out that among these millions is the person with whom they are speaking at that moment and profess to care for. Does this friend or family member really believe men with guns should be permitted to force you to fund their solution to a problem, or to put you in a cage if you refuse?

People are not accustomed to having to answer for this in their individual interactions. When people start facing this reality and its individual implications more often, then those social risks that come with supporting the state will start to outweigh those that accompany its rejection. Once the point is reached when the average person has more social fear attending support for the state than they do about denying its purported legitimacy openly, then the war will have been won. No amount of threats, subversion or naked force will be able to stem the tide of human progress away from this archaic means of social organization at that point. The idea of the state will be relegated to the dustbin of history with the other outmoded and pre-scientific solutions that proceeded their well-deserved demise.

Credit: Spencer Morgan, “How Do We Accomplish Liberty?” with a Creative Commons license