If you know me, you know I’m a HUGE supporter of liberty and Individual rights, but one thing I’ve noticed over the past year or so is that a lot of people, not just Americans, have never really truly thought about what the concept of Individual freedom really means to them. My hope is that by the end of this read, you might have a different view of what individual freedom means and why it’s as important as I believe it is.
Before we get into this I’m going to do you a favor, I’m going to spare you the mind numbing laws, and regulations that govern our “free” society in America. Why, you ask? For one, their interpretation by people can vary wildly, but more importantly, I believe that your version of Individual liberty is more important than what anybody tells you it is. I mean that is the definition; “Freedom – the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”
“It sounds like you’re talking about Anarchy Gary”, we need rules or else there would be chaos in the streets” – This is what I hear from people who have a poor understanding of what freedom and liberty is for the individual. I’m sure I’ll be called a “statist” for saying this, but yes, there needs to be some rules and guidelines on how we act in a “civilized” society, but to what end? This part of MY thought process is what turned me onto the Libertarian way of thinking. If you’re not familiar with what that is it’s basically this “Don’t hurt people, and don’t take their stuff”, I believe this concept should also be especially enforced with our own government.
I could go on and on regarding the variations of libertarianism and how it can better, and conflict, with our current laws and ways of life, but I’ll boil it down even more for you. In my opinion, individual liberty and freedom should be more of a mindset and practice as opposed to a right or law. YOU as the individual make a conscious decision to be free or not be free, this doesn’t mean it’s without consequence though.
You have to decide how free YOU will live your life, what’s acceptable to YOU. I may not agree with what you choose and choose not to practice, but that’s the magic of individual liberty, It’s NONE OF MY BUSINESS what you do, where you eat, what you buy, where you go and if you value freedom and liberty FOR ALL, you shouldn’t care what others do either as long as they aren’t hurting people, or taking their stuff.
“The world is more nuanced than that Gary, we have more laws to cover particular instances and situations”. YES, you’re right about that, I fully agree that the world is more grey than it is black and white, but I also believe that there shouldn’t be one size fits all when it comes to laws and regulations and they should all be judged individually based on their own nuances. Again, I’m getting away from the main point of this article, and that is making freedom and liberty more of a mindset and practice.
Making individual freedom a mindset and practice is hard for a lot of people tho. Most people, I believe, want to be good citizens, who don’t “break the law” and contribute positively to society. I am also like this, however I also believe that some, unjust laws, do not deserve to be followed when attempting to live a reasonably free existence. This is where the mindset and practice of your individual liberty come into play. Remember earlier when I said it wouldn’t be without consequence?
One way you can look at this is like the old school American thought process. We literally became a nation through rebellion. Our country exists solely because tougher people than us said NO, I will not do what I’m told just because it’s considered “law”, I want to be free and will fight for that way of life. Why should this idea of Individual freedom and liberty change in OUR minds just because it’s 2020? Tyranny and government overreach still exists today.
No I’m not saying we all have to become Paul Revere or Patrick Henry or openly defy all laws made by our government, but we should have the attitude to not just accept what we’re told. We should also be brave enough to stand up to politics and actions that violate others individual liberties as yours could be next.
Everything that I have just talked about does NOT align with many political views out there, socialism and communism to name the biggest. My argument to them is that their freedoms and liberties or “rights” as they like to call them do NOT constitute participation from others. When you say that I must pay even more taxes to cover welfare programs that I do not agree with, you are then forcing me to do something I do not want to do and taking my own money unwillingly. No I’m not heartless and yes there are people who are in need, but that still does not give you or anyone else the right to take money that I have earned. Hence why taxation is deemed as theft by many libertarians and similar ideologies.
What’s the solution? I have no idea, but I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I will continue to promote/exercise individual liberty and freedom to pursue the life that I want until my dying breath, and maybe if we all adopted this attitude, the powers that be would be less inclined to force their will and the will of others upon our lives, and stop them from forcing you to comply or to becoming a criminal. The decision and consequences are yours to make, but you will have to live with your action or inaction for the rest of your days.