Guest Post: What Does Liberty Really Mean?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by David Galland of Casey Research,

For some time now – years actually – I have pondered the nature of liberty. Or more specifically, what liberty actually means to me. And to be extra clear, I am not talking about the meaning in abstract or philosophical terms, but tangibly – in much the same way I might answer if asked what my wife means to me.

The trigger for this entirely personal discourse comes from reading various articles and viewing various YouTube videos and speeches from self-styled champions of liberty (COL). There is even an entire conference, Mark Skousen's FreedomFest, dedicated to the topic.

Invariably, these well-meaning COL rail against "The Man" (something I do myself), accentuating their public angst by sharing stories of being molested by the TSA or otherwise inconvenienced by minions of the state. It is my contention that most of these individuals, and certainly the majority of "freedom-loving" Americans, don't actually understand the meaning of liberty, but rather give the matter little more than lip service.

And again, I don't mean liberty in an abstract way – like, say, "world peace" – but tangibly.

Now, before going on, tripping emotional wires as I do, I feel the need to quickly establish my bona fides on the topic. I start with the simple fact that with age, and 58 years old counts, comes perspective. In addition, unlike most of today's COL, I have actually been jailed for rioting against authority – at the naïve age of 14, as the result of actively participating in the toe-to-toe anti-war confrontations during the Oakland Induction Center Riots of the late 1960s.

In addition, as over-the-top as it now sounds, along with my now-departed friend and colleague of many years, Jim Blanchard, I spent many months assisting the RENAMO-led freedom fighters raise awareness in their fight against Mozambique's vicious dictatorship. The adventure ultimately ended up with us in a very tight spot under house arrest in neighboring Malawi, followed by a high-speed car chase with the Malawian secret police in hot pursuit.

I have been directly involved with prominent members of the freedom movement in the US as part and parcel of my business career since a very young age, including running the 1980 Libertarian Presidential Nominating Convention in Los Angeles at the request of my friend Ed Crane, the founder of the Cato Institute. Furthermore, I have been friends, business associates, or acquaintances with too many well-known COL to recount here, starting with my business partner of many years Doug Casey, but also Harry Browne, Milton Friedman, and even Ayn Rand (I arranged for and hosted her at her last public appearance before she died).

And finally, I would mention my involvement in helping to create La Estancia de Cafayate in a remote wine-growing region of Argentina, without question the largest and most successful community of largely libertarian-minded individuals on the planet.

All of which is to say that I'm not arriving to this discussion fresh off the back of a turnip truck.

So, what does liberty mean to me?

In the simplest and purest terms, it means being free to come and go as I please.

Of course it would be my strong preference to come and go without the charade and indignity of transportation security instituted by most nations these days (ironically, the "Land of the Free" being the worst of the lot). But, unlike some prominent COL, I don't make the mistake of conflating transiting airports with protesting against the inanity of transport security.

That's because if I wanted to mount a protest against TSA, I would do it in an organized fashion. Say, by arranging for a large and loud demonstration at whatever passes for TSA's headquarters, making sure that the media was there to provide coverage. I certainly wouldn't do it ad hoc without media present, on a day when I actually needed to travel from point A to point B.

After all, like trees falling in remote woods, if a protest happens and there's no media to record it, was there a protest?

The polar opposite to being free to come and go as one pleases, the essential tenet to my personal definition of liberty, is to be trapped in a jail cell. Been there, done that – and very much have no interest in doing it again.

Thus, I avoid engaging in activities where one of the possible outcomes is being arrested and jailed. For example, making angry displays when a TSA minion asks me to take off my shoes.

Now, I realize that the degradation of principles and justice in countries such as the US means that pretty much everyone breaks a law or three every day, but miscarriages of justice resulting in an innocent person being sentenced to jail (or gunned down) are statistically very rare. Yes, they happen – but so does getting struck by lightning. Thus, when I talk about acting in a fashion unlikely to lead to being locked up in a cage, I'm talking about playing simple odds.

And no, I don't need to be a cowering sheep to keep the odds of my being jailed near zero. Rather, I just need to take note of the laws of whatever land my feet are currently planted on and avoid tripping over the big stuff.

In the US, for example, walking around with a bag of pot in your pocket could lead to jail time. In Uruguay or Amsterdam or dozens of other countries, it's legal. So, when in the US – again, ironically still called "the Land of the Free" – I can manage without the pot. (Actually, I've done without pot for many decades; I'm just using this as an illustration.)

Failing to pay the legally proscribed amount of taxes is another easy way to end up in jail. As a US citizen, there's no denying I'm trapped in a tax regime I find abhorrent and counterproductive to the building of capital. That's a big disadvantage compared to many countries.

But am I willing to trade my liberty for the money I might be able to hide from the IRS? Hardly. That would be the equivalent of choosing the latter when confronted by a gun-wielding thug demanding my money or my life.

Does this mean I'm powerless against the institutionalized theft of taxation? Not at all.

It just means I have to work harder to uncover legal ways to minimize the tax bite, starting by hiring good counsel. And let's not forget, for the citizens of most countries, minimizing the tax burden is as simple as getting on a plane, as – unlike the Land of the Free – they don't tax non-resident citizens on worldwide income.

As for US citizens, if the issue is important enough to you, there are specific steps you can take to legally avoid the taxes altogether, by replacing the passport you carry in your pocket. It's not particularly quick or easy, but if paying less (no?) taxes is that important to you, then there are clear paths to accomplishing just that objective without risking the loss of your liberty.

I'm not making these comments cavalierly, but rather to point out hard facts about the world we live in.

So, freedom to come and go is the core principle of my personal liberty. What else?

Well, part of that freedom has to do with personal finances. Namely, you can have all the liberty in the world, but if you don't have the money necessary to actually travel, you probably aren't going to get very far… at least not in a fashion you might enjoy.

While there are countries such as North Korea where the government makes accumulating any wealth almost impossible (unless you are part of the dictator's inner circle), in most of the world, this aspect of life – call it "financial freedom" – has far more to do with a person's willingness to work hard than anything else.

That said, I readily acknowledge that governments everywhere are a constant weight on the entrepreneur's back. Yet, simply looking at the facts as they are, I personally know dozens of people, here in the US – and in places like Argentina, where the government makes doing business an order of magnitude more difficult – who, through their own creativity and exertions, are fabulously successful.

As something of a tangent, while generalizations are rarely useful, in my direct experience many individuals who paint themselves as libertarians have trouble coming up with the proverbial two nickels to rub together. Doug Casey and I have discussed this on more than one occasion, and I don't think either of us has a good answer. If pressed to it, I would hypothesize that it has to do with a latent inability to work as part of a team, something libertarians tend not to be very good at but which is often required to launch a successful career. In support of that hypothesis, look no further than the reality that the Libertarian party has never been able to mount an effective national political campaign.

Back to the point, despite the government's meddling, financial freedom is imminently attainable for individuals who focus on their work and who put in steady efforts at increasing their personal knowledge (including learning how to handle your money, once you have some). Of course, succeeding may not be easy... it rarely is, though it can be.

While I'm sure there are additional nuances to my personal definition of liberty that I could mention, the big point is that as long as I am free to come and go as I please and have the capability to build the wealth I need to do so, then I have pretty much all the liberty I need to enjoy my limited lifetime on this planet. After all, with those two conditions in place, if one place becomes too unfree for my taste, I can move on.

"Wait a second!" some of you may find yourselves thinking indignantly.

What about the wholesale trampling of the US Constitution in recent decades? What about the militarization of the domestic police force here in the US? What about the loss of freedom in the Land of the Free?

I might respond with a sad shake of the head and by mouthing words such as "tragic," or "damn shame," or even "it's outrageous, criminal even." And there's no question it's all of those things and more. The idea of America in its youth was amazing, especially considering the era in which it was birthed. But that idea has been so diluted at this point to be almost meaningless… here in the United States.

And therein lies the importance of being able to travel freely. You see, unlike many, I refuse to define myself by the artificial borders that were determined solely by an accident of birth. Why should I?

Do I relate to the idea of America? Of course; what thinking person wouldn't? But during these philosophical Dark Ages for freedom in the United States, what practical purpose does clinging onto that idea serve?

To use an overused comparison, what practical purpose would it have served for the head of a Jewish family during Hitler's Germany to stand on a street corner handing out anti-Nazi pamphlets? The obvious answer is "none." It would have just resulted in the ultimate loss of liberty – his death and likely that of everyone he loved.

Personally, I look at the Americans and I see a people who have been very effectively brainwashed, or who simply have given in to the entirely human tendency to shuffle unquestioningly onto the path of least resistance and let themselves go.

I see a people who, on a wholesale basis, have consciously or unconsciously decided to trade the idea of America for the false security of a totalitarian state.

While there are voices in the woods, such as Ron Paul, that warn of the consequences, I'm trying to focus today on hard realities. And the hard reality is that if you were to assemble all 300 million US citizens in an auditorium to listen to well-presented arguments for less vs. more government and then ask for a show of hands, the vast majority would raise their hands in favor of the current system that has the state deeply involved in pretty much every aspect of the economy and society at large.

Skeptical? Then ask yourself what percentage of the audience would raise their hands in favor if asked the following:

"How many of you want Social Security to remain intact?"

"How many think the government should subsidize health care?"

"How many think the rich should pay more taxes?"

Or ask your questions in the negative, and watch how few hands stick in the air.

"How many of you think the Food and Drug Administration should be abolished?"

"How many of you think recreational drugs, including cocaine and heroin, should be legalized?"

"How many of you think the Department of Education should be shuttered?"

"How many of you think that the tax credit for mortgages should be canceled?"

At the end of the exercise, the level of support for the very same tangled body of state-controlled handouts, regulations and central economic planning now choking the last gasps of life out of the body politic would be obvious and overwhelming.

The practical point I am trying to make here is that the COL are fighting against a very entrenched and increasingly dangerous public mindset. Some like to hearken back to the days of the revolution when prominent men in the community risked it all to overthrow the British. I would contend that the situation today is totally different. Then it was a foreign enemy daily adding salt to the open wound of what was essentially an occupation by marching troops around and passing highly unpopular and often arbitrarily punitive laws. Today the enemy (of true freedom) is within. In fact, the nation is overrun by them… they dominate in most every community, in most businesses and even in most families.

And your fellow citizens don't want what the COL are selling. Sure, there are a fair number – for instance, members of the Tea Party – who might be sympathetic on a largely abstract level, but drill down into the specifics by asking questions such as those above and you'll quickly find just how far off the grid you are.

So what's the point?

  1. Face the facts – free no more. Contrary to popular delusions, the United States is no longer the Land of the Free – either in terms of its judicial system or its market structure.

    Rather, it is the land of the paranoid, the state-dependent, supporters of Guantanamo and permawar… with the highest incarceration rates in the world, militarized police and… and… and…

    That said, it's also the land of the convenient shopping, relatively inexpensive food and housing and trains that run on time. Provided you pay attention not to trip over the big legal no-nos, you can enjoy a very high standard of living (though, in fairness, that's true of most of the world).

    If, on the other hand, you don't think you can stay out of trouble here or in any country whose government is becoming a danger to residents, then go somewhere else. Or, to quote my friend and partner Doug Casey, "Stop thinking like a serf."

  2. Define what it is you want from your life. And I am speaking about this life, not some promised afterlife. Do you really want to put yourself on the front line of a battle that the vast majority of the populace wouldn't support you in?

    If the answer is "yes," that you are willing to lose your liberty – the ability to travel freely – in support of the cause, then I can only wish you well. I hope at the end of your life, which in the US could come quicker than you'd like, you'll have found satisfaction and purpose in the struggle. Just be sure you are clear on your objectives and are willing to accept the consequences.

Of course, I'll continue to support the champions of liberty here in the US, even though I think they are tilting against windmills for the most part. And I will almost certainly find occasion to speak against the totalitarian tide myself, albeit in terms sufficiently tame to avoid leading to a loss of my liberty.

Far more important, as it relates to my personal liberty, I'll continue the process of diversifying my life between political jurisdictions so that if and when things in my native country become unbearably oppressive – and therefore an active risk to my ability to freely go about my business – I can bid it goodbye.

Call me a coward, but in my view it's far better to switch than to fight, especially when the vast majority of my fellow citizens wouldn't know the true meaning of freedom if you served it to them on a silver plate.

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lolmao500's picture

Liberty means you have the liberty to lick the boots of the banksters or go to prison or die.

Michael's picture

I was thinking about this subject the other day. Truly know what liberty means in your mind, and it will set you completely free.

clymer's picture

MDB in 3...2....1....

(and make it a good one MDB)

AldousHuxley's picture

between happiness and freedom which would you choose?

 

you can always condition people into believing delusions of faux happiness (consumer culture paid with shitty jobs) by glorifying their shitty situation as if it is any good.....example: rappers and ghetto culture, or recently redneck reality shows

 

freedom isn't free. sometimes it may even cost your happiness. but truth shall set you free!

forexskin's picture

sure he paints a well covered canvas, but its far from a complete picture. we all have the option to shrug (since he mentioned ayn rand), or bitch about things, or prep, or scream, but ultimately, this whole thing is on an arc leading to some outcome, probably unexpected.

i like having foresight as much as anybody, and spend probably too much time reading stuff like this, looking for patterns in the tea leaves. but i grew up with asimov, and while it may appear that the state is an all powerful monolith, there are always inflection points where a simple idea can change things.

sure we're going broke, and the economic system will work until it doesn't (and will likely fail slowly until it fails fast), but i'd prefer to see the rotten tooth out sooner rather than later - i'd rather my kids not have to fight the brave new world / 1984 battle.

so i'll go on reading, trying to keep it all in perspective, live an honorable life, and try to keep my wits regardless of how insane this gets. someday this country might wake up, but i'm convinced it won't happen until many are hungry and get to look into the abyss and see what they're really made of. hope i'm not found lacking when (not if) the time comes.

i see i'm mostly in fellow company here.

bunnyswanson's picture

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/are-the-government-and-the-big-banks-quietly-preparing-for-an-imminent-financial-collapse

 

Richard Duncan, formerly of the World Bank and chief economist at Blackhorse Asset Mgmt., says America's $16 trillion federal debt has escalated into a "death spiral," as he told CNBC.

And it could result in a depression so severe that he doesn't "think our civilization could survive it."

 

Today MEP (Member European Parliament) Nigel Farage spoke with King World News about what he described as the possibility of, “a really dramatic banking collapse.” Farage also warned that central planners want to enslave and imprison people inside of a ‘New Order,’ and he described the situation as “horrifying.”

 

Paul B. Farrell on Marketwatch.com....

Fasten your seat belts, soon we’ll all be shocked out of denial. Some unpredictable black swan. A global wake-up call will trigger the Pentagon’s prediction in Fortune a decade ago at the launch of the Iraq War: “By 2020 ... an ancient pattern of desperate, all-out wars over food, water, and energy supplies is emerging ... warfare defining human life.”

 

Recently, a "team of scientists, economists, and geopolitical analysts" examined the current state of the global economic system and the conclusions they reached were absolutely staggering....

One member of this team, Chris Martenson, a pathologist and former VP of a Fortune 300 company, explains their findings:

"We found an identical pattern in our debt, total credit market, and money supply that guarantees they're going to fail. This pattern is nearly the same as in any pyramid scheme, one that escalates exponentially fast before it collapses. Governments around the globe are chiefly responsible.

"And what's really disturbing about these findings is that the pattern isn't limited to our economy. We found the same catastrophic pattern in our energy, food, and water systems as well."

According to Martenson: "These systems could all implode at the same time. Food, water, energy, money. Everything."

Sparkey's picture

"but truth shall set you free!" says AldousHuxley

The bitter truth about the coming future is; If you are given the opportunity to play the role of a Cheerful Conformer, you should take it and try and perform the role, It seems everyone will not have equal access to those parts, some can only choose between more overtly victim roles, they having some tendency placing them on the casting director's "Enemies" list.

I think the future is very close, in all the great public concern about people's money I have not heard one word of concern for the children and the elderly, I feel a Society which makes no effort to care for it's most vunerable is displaying a symptom of an oft fatal societal disease.

Sparkey's picture

"between happiness and freedom which would you choose?"

There is no Freedom without happiness, what freedom is it to inhabit an unhappy body? Yet we must always inhabit our bodies nomatter what conditions the body lives under, so be Happy and be Free in the only World which really matters, that  is the one between your ears! If you are free in there that is all you can hope for!

The Big Ching-aso's picture

 

 

I'm feeling sort of philosophical tonite...............

"There are those that have always hungered under oppression who will fight for any untasted freedom, whereas there are those that have never hungered under freedom who will not fight for it until it is no longer tasted at all."   -  The Big Ching-aso

RECISION's picture

 

 

"Personally, I see a people who have been very effectively brainwashed, I see a people who, consciously or unconsciously, have decided to accept the false security of a totalitarian state."

Adolf Galland

 

Lucius Cornelius Sulla's picture

Agent Smith: Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this: the peak of your civilization.

The Navigator's picture

freedom isn't free. sometimes it may even cost your happiness. but truth shall set you free!

Alex, I'll take truth and freedom, door number 3, at any cost.

Anything after that is Bull Shit, and I'm not interested.

Paul Atreides's picture

To know the definition of liberty in your mind does not set you free, thats like saying knowing the definition of washing up in your mind cleans your dishes.

You need to fight and stand up for every inch of liberty and freedom, especally right now. Get active, join protests, practice civil disobedience and most of all boycott the system (taxes, fines, cable TV, wal mart, the stock market).

AldousHuxley's picture

most people can't handle the truth

most people aren't even ready to be unplugged from the consumerism matrix

most people will actually opt for forced fake smiles rather than freedom of expression.

most people don't want liberty or freedom, because they don't want the responsibility.

 

founding fathers had high expectations with liberty. but with technological advances, people have become irresponsible thus deserving less and less of liberty. give stupid people right to vote and they vote for whomever gave them $10 gift certificate at the grocery market (true story in Mexico).

 

If you want to see TRUE liberty, go see people live in jungles of Amazon. They don't give a shit about  status symbols, unemployment, laws, fulfillment, etc.

 

Just eat, sleep, fuck, shit then die when done with their part of genetic evolution.

Ghordius's picture

+1 "most people can't handle the truth" and most people don't want the truth. begin rant:

one example: the founding fathers. first, we are talking about an elite. benevolent, mayby/yes, but an elite nevertheless. second, this elite had a completely different mindset and education from the modern American. This is evident in many things, particularly in the constitution. They were people who's imagination and wisdom was grounded in the classical history of democracy. They were people that debated extensively about issues like constitutional frameworks, division of powers, constitutional balances of power and so on.

My point/opinion is that if you would take them with a time machine and bring them here, the very first thing they would notice is that the spending and legislative power of the US States has shifted to the Federal "Center". Then, they would immediately notice that the US Senate is elected. And this was exactly what they did not want. Because the US Senate was designed, in their view, to be the State's watchdog over the Federal Government. Their framework, that worked - until 1913 the 17th was repealed - was of having the State's elected legislatures appointing two (if necessary recallable) Senators to go to Washington and brake excesses. To balance. Because it was in their entrenched political interest as a local power group. A cynical view, yes, like a whole group of elected thieves appointing two thieves to oversee and catch other thieves's excesses. Call it a sane opinion on how humans function.

But no, nowadays Americans believe that constitutional frameworks matter only in the realm of personal rights. "What's in for me?"

And that directly elected is always better than appointed. (Duh, of course, eh?)

The Founding Fathers would disagree vehemently. They believed in constitutional design being important for how government functions.

-----

I notice this here on ZH every time I try to correct certain ideas of how we europeans see and handle certain things in the EU, including the framework between the Commission (note the word! dammit!) and it's boss, the Council.

rant end

Raymond K Hessel's picture

What pisses me off the most is that very few of us probably know what you're talking about.  

You're 100% correct.  Bravo.

forexskin's picture

maybe you'd be surprised, at least among the ZH readership.

i take issue with the characterization of this republic as a democracy (if it was that), which is of course two wolves and a sheep voting on the dinner menu. but the points were thoughtful, so i'll cut slack.

but ultimately, the structure of government is to keep the tyrrants away from the innocents; the point about power devolving in structure by intent is ultimately about respecting sacred individual liberty.

AnAnonymous's picture

'Americanism' includes elitism.

The founding fathers perceived themselves as the finest of the finest, the elite of humanity, a new breed of aristocracy...

akak's picture

Chinese Citizenism includes death worship.

The Chinese founding fathers of Chin Shi Huang Di and Mao perceived themselves as the finest of the finest, the elite of sub-humanity, a new breed of aristocracy ... and went on to prove it by killing millions of their OWN subjects in the pursuit of their vainglorious schemes to immortalize themselves at the expense of the average Chinese citizen (whose servile, obedient, bootlicking nature is eternal).

CH1's picture

Not to quibble, but being "free in your mind" includes removing the fear of acting, which plagues the world.

There is NO substitute for action.

Talk is cheap - action is precious.

If you ain't acting, you ain't helping.

AldousHuxley's picture

Fear is how they keep you under their control.

 

But for those who have nothing to lose, have nothing to fear.

Paul Atreides's picture

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

RECISION's picture

Fear is the little destroyer - it destroys you little by little.

(may also be a quote from Dune...)

A Nanny Moose's picture

Forget going Galt. Work within the system to bankrupt tyranny.

Raymond K Hessel's picture

I always thought that was Greenspan's intention all along.  People talk about how he betrayed the principles he held when he was part of Ayn Rand's collective, but they talk about it like they never read Atlas Shrugged.... think about it.

HardAssets's picture

"Call me a coward, but in my view it's far better to switch than to fight,"

WTF is the article writer trying to say, anyway ?   If its a complete lost cause, why bother writing the article ?  He'd rather 'switch' ?  To what ?

I kept waiting to read a pitch to move to some resort they sponsor in South America or something.  Unfortunately, in the New World Order there is no place to hide.

A coward is under the illusion that he'll live forever.

JOYFUL's picture

...WTF is the article writer trying to say, anyway ?   If its a complete lost cause, why bother writing the article ?  He'd rather 'switch' ?  To what ?...

I shall assume from yur use of caps that yu are sincerely seeking an answer to the question yu pose...not just taking a veiled swipe at the author.

Slowly but surely, Merikans have lost the capacity to even judge the degree to which their liberties have disappeared, replaced by similucrum of same...hollowed out, ghost-like images and word memes of what, in their conditioned minds, represent dimly remembered freedoms that were part of a childhood now long departed.,.a childhood not even available now to those growing up in a land of faux food, mandated sickness-inducing vaccines, toxic water, chemtrailed air, a poisoned hollow-wood media world of a sad, desacralized society stripped of every value and pretence of morality...

Switch....means choosing conciously to leave the fallen lands of the west in search of some place to take a stand...to encounter others of similar mind, recover one's wit's and strength of purpose, remember that we were placed upon this earth to preserve and enjoy the paradise which was our legacy, and finally, resolve to defend that birthright for the sake of those who follow us, no matter how hopeless the odds of success. That's what liberty really means.

The walls are closing in. Soon nuff, there will be no more 'unauthorised' departures from the Euromerikan prison zone.

 

HardAssets's picture

And where is this paradise of liberty ?

Will any place be ignored if the New World Order is established ?

AldousHuxley's picture

in your head.

your mind is free to imagine and dream of a better world.

 

but don't spew that shit outside otherwise you will get in to trouble. elites don't like freedom for you.

JOYFUL's picture

Aldous started out strong, then sputtered to a halt...fear of freedom syndrome?

Liberty...it's in yur imagination...that's something what gets beat outta slaves...Paradise? We were all born into it...but lost sight of it somewhere's along the way...seeking our way back may be fruitless, but it's the only road a freeman takes the trouble to look for.

I personally live on a small micro-nation of my own design...loosely associated with an Aegean nation which has the same issues as any other repository of human beans....but being outside of the Euromerikan prison zone, affords it's denizens the luxuries now denied to the inmates of the formerly free world...

on an adjoining island lie the ruins of chuch or monastery, probably Orthodox, it's former inhabitants long forgotten and unknown...only one furry rodent occupies that space now, scurrying amongst the stones and tall grass. It too, enjoys a freedom now lost to the folk of the fallen lands. Like myself, whatever he creates, there's no one to tell him -yu didn't build that!

monad's picture

He's free to come and go, you're free to fight for what you belive. But he's not free to trouble you with securing his capability to play, run & hide, and you're not free to compel him into service or compliance.

You will attract alot more bears with honey than with shit.

HardAssets's picture

I don't believe in compelling anyone because the use or threat of use of aggression against another's person and property is morally wrong IMO.

If a rather small percentage of the population didn't believe that over 200 years ago, Americans wouldnt have had their experience (though brief) of Liberty at all.

monad's picture

I was talking to Muadib.

Your history, who taught it to you? The people who manipulate you in every other way? You should check it for accuracy and completeness; or start fresh. True history is valuable, most 'history' is bullshit. If you want to know what really happened, study the economic history of the United States. Names, dates, places, amounts, encyclopedic continuity with an accountant's fiduciary obligation to detail. Its quite a different story from what you think.

People who make bad choices pay for it. And they make as many other people pay for it as possible. You are free to get out of their way, and to give them a push if they are particularly heinous, and you have a clear shot.

Liberty is the freedom to choose. Compulsion is the use of deception, threat or force to deny a person their liberty. You can't protect a thing by taking it away. You can't have it both ways. 

HardAssets's picture

Who's talking compulsion ?  We're discussing a topic on ZH. All that's being tossed is words - which, just like the article, can be accepted or rejected.

monad's picture

“One more word about giving instruction as to what the world ought to be. Philosophy in any case always comes on the scene too late to give it... When philosophy paints its gloomy picture then a form of life has grown old. It cannot be rejuvenated by the gloomy picture, but only understood. Only when the dusk starts to fall does the owl of Minerva spread its wings and fly." - Hegel

emersonreturn's picture

do not use banks.  stop using cell phones.  stop buying anything from costco, safeway, walmart, apple, ebay, gap, all of them, stop working for them.  stop using credit.  trade or buy from your local grower, if you can't grow your own, buy or trade from your local tailor if you can't or won't learn to sew.  stop driving, stop buying insurance, fuel, stop borrowing---start lending to friends and neighbours.  support your local food bank, support ideas and people and business that encourage your neighbours to flourish and grow, stop supporting chains of all kinds.  stop allowing banks and governments to control your world, your friends, neighbours and you. 

AU5K's picture

As the bullet went through his head, he finally realized... he loved Big Brother.

Kreditanstalt's picture

"Banksters"?  They can be avoided.  You don't have to buy their products.

What about the GOVERNMENTS?  They have GUNS... 

AldousHuxley's picture

governments run on bonds....governments need money too....banks have all of our money.....they control civilian government who control military and police.

jeff montanye's picture

beware today's government bonds.  the last time that coupons in the 2's, 3's and 4's were issued (30 year), they sold for such deep discounts before they matured the rich (who have always run things) got a(nother) special law passed that said they could be turned in at par value to pay estate taxes.  called them flower bonds:  http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Are_flower_bonds_still_available

AldousHuxley's picture

with expiration of lower taxes on dividend next year, rich most likely will shift safety assets into state bonds which get fed and state tax exemptions.

CH1's picture

What about the GOVERNMENTS?  They have GUNS...

Shit, millions of immigrants avoid them every day.

illyia's picture

Finally. A response with some hope in it.

(I know, I know...)

HardAssets's picture

Hmmm - - lets see. How did having all those guns work out in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Vietnam for that matter ?

There's nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.  Maybe that's Liberty this time ?

monad's picture

Steel isn't strong. Flesh is stronger. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it? The mind is stronger still, but will is strongest. The first thing you learn traversing dire straits is not to hurry.

kliguy38's picture

Liberty means after you lick the boots you politely ask them not to kick you in the ear

CH1's picture

Sayeth Thomas Jefferson:

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.