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Explaining Liberty

There is an excellent ten-minute presentation on self-ownership here. Those of us who accept the philosophy and even necessity of liberty have a hard time understanding why this simple, straightforward, easy-to-understand and obviously right explanation of the concept doesn’t immediately change the viewer, and snowball to change the world within a few weeks or months.

The answer is simply that people cannot apply it to their world and are overwhelmed by any attempt to do so.

Living in the USA now means 50% of all economic and social activity is controlled, managed, financed and manipulated by government. That in turn means that half of every dollar earned within the limits of trade allowed by government is taken away in direct taxes and fees, or indirectly in taxes and fees on the goods and services we purchase. While most people don’t fear being able to decide where to spend and donate 100% of their earnings, they cannot imagine their world if half of everything that is done around them were to suddenly stop being done by government.

Libertarians have answers for how to replace every government program. That should do it, right? NO. Because as soon as they start to explain how voluntary exchange could better deliver one product, the listener races ahead to wonder how another might be done outside of government intervention. While the educator is still answering the first question, the listener has come up with twenty more.

By the time the first explanation has been delivered, no matter how succinctly, the listener has not only decided that replacing all of the programs is impossible, but that the person who thinks it is possible is wrong – on all counts. Furthermore they conclude that government is too complicated to break apart so we must take the bad with the good.

I have been an entrepreneur and happy dweller in this “free country” for most of my life. In the last decade or so, I have recognized that government has taken away our free country and I have worked for liberty. I spent a great deal of my time, effort and money to explain the problem and work for solutions. All with extremely modest results.

Repetition works. It is successful when people receive the message repeatedly in several different ways. Of course that is how we got into this mess. The government schools, government-controlled media, politicians and bureaucrats are repeating the same message in several different ways.

The economy and our world are changing rapidly. This will accelerate. Great masses of people will turn to the government for salvation. The good news is that great masses of people will recognize the problem actually IS government. They need to hear that from several different sources in several different ways. I think there are enough with logic and analytical capacity remaining to win our free country back.

Lovers of liberty need to keep talking and demonstrating their messages in every way they can – now more than ever.