Author: Manuel Martin

Libertarianism: A Social Philosophy of Persuasion

Manuel Martin | United States

If you think Libertarianism is about politics, you’re wrong. However, I do nonetheless want to address the Gary Johnson version of libertarianism; libertarianism is not fiscally conservative and socially liberal. That would imply we want liberals to change their values and be 50% conservative and vice versa. Libertarians, though, don’t want to change the values of Democrats or Republicans. Instead, we want them to extend their daily values of persuasion and voluntary trade into their political decisions. In short, we want them to be consistent in the application of their daily values.

Secondly, I’d like to point out that libertarianism is not a political philosophy: it’s a social philosophy that has political ramifications. As a social philosophy, libertarianism seeks to identify consistent human relational social principles that individuals should use to maximize peace and prosperity for themselves and everyone else.

Libertarianism: 2 Social Principles

Some examples of principles are fire always needing oxygen and water boiling at 212 degrees. These are nature’s principles, which nobody can break or change. Libertarianism examines human interactions to identify social principles that consistently drive peace and prosperity and have destabilizing consequences if broken. Libertarianism identifies two social principles that are consistent and apply to everyone.

  1. Most people, most of the time, strive to be happy.
  2. Anytime someone uses coercion (violence and force) to hurt another person or steal their property, happiness decreases.

These principles are universal and consistent to everyone. Individuals strive to be happy, and when someone physically or coercively harms another, human happiness and prosperity diminish. Libertarian principles teach that in order to maximize peace, prosperity, and harmony for all, individuals should avoid using all forms of coercion. If a person or group does so, they destabilize the foundation for peace and prosperity and social acrimony ensues.

Libertarian social principles not only teach that we should refrain from using coercion in our daily life, but that we should actively try to eliminate coercive structures in our culture, as they are inherent threats to peace and prosperity.

A Culture of Violence

A culture that has abandoned libertarian principles and established organizations of systematic coercion will have low trust, division, revenge, and ultimately, mass war. In short, this describes a culture where the few benefit from the systematized plunder of the many.

I make these claims with certainty because we live in that very culture. As it stands, the battle to control the government’s coercive abilities divides people. Politicians use coercion to exact revenge on political enemies, plunder resources from peaceful individuals, and use them to fund mass wars. Ironically, the coercive social principles that state agents use to plunder directly contradict the voluntary social principles that create resources for government agents to plunder in the first place.

What if you decided you were going to adopt the coercive principles of government functionaries? The individual and universal application of coercion would destroy your life. If widely adopted, it would end modern civilization.

Coercion in Private Life

If you or I used coercion to moderate our social interactions, we would quickly find ourselves without a job, friends, or family. Simply put, almost nobody wants to associate with a person that resorts to violence. Free markets and free people govern themselves in voluntary manners. Of course, they must, if they are to trade and be successful.

If coercion became the common social principle regulating private interaction, our economy would halt and quickly regress. Without a doubt, our modern economy requires voluntary interactions.

Free people engaged in commerce are united by the individual and common benefits that stem from adhering to principles of voluntary social interactions. The government, however, cannot say the same. It must instead maintain the façade that free and prosperous people require plunder for protection. Commerce can live without the government, but the government cannot live without commerce.  Free people engaging in commerce creates progress (otherwise, why would they trade?), while agents with guns interrupting free people engaged in commerce are regressive.

The Path to Freedom: Persuasion

We need to move past the idea that we need self-serving politicians and their gun violence to organize and regulate our human interactions. Most individuals and cultures have evolved past kings and queens, feudalism, colonialism, mercantilism, communism, fascism, and more authoritarian governments. However, there is one human trait which all cultures have yet to overcome. We still obey men and women in artificially manufactured authoritative positions. This simple fact is holding us back greatly.

Political elections and representative governments are outdated 18th-century technologies. In the age of airplanes and self-driving cars, men and women holding coercion (and guns) to our heads enforce 300-year-old ideas.

Obedience to politicians and their frequent sick desire for war has resulted in tragedy. In fact, since 1900, governments have killed 200 million of their own citizens. Isn’t that proof enough that coercive principles are ruining our ability to live in peace? Is theft (yes, taxation is theft) funding war a form of progress? How many wars and corresponding deaths have the cultures and voluntary values of Target, WalMart, Amazon, Ford, or Apple started in the last 100 years? The answer, of course, is zero.

Cultural Evolution

Our culture is ready to evolve past regressive politicians and their archaic way of organizing human interaction, into a culture that voluntarism organizes. In this culture, free choice guides all social and economic interactions. Freedom will not only lead to more peace and prosperity, but a culture that evolves past politicians and embraces libertarian values will also be safer.

For the most part, what prevents another person from being violent stems from the values he or she holds. The best defense you have against another violent human being is his or her ethics. If that person rejects violence wholly, then they are guaranteed not to aggress against you.

The Myth of Rights

The hard truth that many don’t want to accept is that you don’t have rights. All the “rights” in the world won’t stop a random person from punching you in the face. Your “rights”, thus, are subject to the values of others around you.

Rights are a political construct, an idea created by politicians to make you think you need their coercive institutions to maintain your life, liberty, and property. In reality, the values of the people around you maintain cultural civility. Police, for the most part, do not prevent the actions of violent individuals. This is simply because the police are reactionary: they come after the crimes occur. It is up to culture to raise young adults who realize their family, friends, associates, and selves will all be better off when they resolve disputes with persuasion instead of coercion. Culture, not a group of bureaucrats with guns, maintains peace.

Libertarianism in the Modern Era

Libertarianism strives to embed in all people a social values system centered on respecting the humanity of others and resolving to never use coercion against others. It’s time we end our obedience to politicians and continue our cultural evolution. The best, long-term, sustainable way to maximize human happiness, peace, and prosperity is to raise the cultural ethics of society until everyone recognizes the individual and common benefits of using persuasion instead of coercion and trade instead of theft.

Understanding that people seek to be happy and that coercion decreases happiness, we all would be better off moving towards eliminating government and embracing libertarian cultural values.

So…What is Libertarianism?

Libertarianism as a social philosophy seeks to promote a culture where individuals reject all forms of coercion and hold voluntary interactions as the primary ethic which guides their relations with others. And libertarians, as people, want to progress our culture to that ethical standard.

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How Education Could Work in a Libertarian Culture

By Manuel Martin | United States

Politicians and the government currently have a monopoly on education. This allows them to change the past, control the present, and design the future. We are failing our youth by giving politicians (of all people) a monopoly on our children’s evolving minds. To submit the youth to political education is to ignore the reality that politicians have zero interest in teaching a social values system based on human respect and peaceful persuasion. Rather, the basis of their influence is founded upon controlling citizens through the social values of coercion reinforced with gun violence. After all, politicians ultimately reinforce all directives with violence. Education, without a doubt, works no differently.

If there was ever a sector of the economy that should be subject to the customer satisfaction free enterprise system (and liberated from political coercion), it’s education. Our youth deserve teachers, administrators, and business professionals focused on customer satisfaction instead of bureaucrats following political directives.

Libertarians want to end the government’s involvement in education. First and foremost, this is because our youth deserve better than teachers giving them (even if subliminally) a social values system of coercion over persuasion and collectivism over individual human respect.

Freedom of Education

Educational freedom will liberate entrepreneurs from political restrictions. This will indubitably result in a diversity of educational options. Moreover, parents will be free to choose a school that fits their child’s personality.

If your child is rowdy, bursting with energy and loves to play, there will be a school for your child. The school may offer two or three hours of recess, or other activities to suit your child’s needs. Is your child a baseball or soccer protégé? Well, there may also evolve schools designed to cultivate your child’s athletic potential. If your child is inclined to entrepreneurship, there may evolve schools designed to help your child become a business tycoon. If your child has artistic inclinations, schools will evolve to help your child become a professional artist. Freedom in education will give parents the ability to shop for a school tailored to their child’s personality, instead of shopping by zip code.

The great paradox in our current educational system is that politicians believe their educational mandates promote fairness. However, there is nothing fair about forcing youth into a one-size-fits-all monopolistic system. In fact, this system which promotes inequality, as the students who do well in the government method will outperform other students who may perform well using other methods. Students who aren’t receptive to the sit down for 7 hours and listen to a lecturer method have no choice but to underperform. After all, the government forces them into this system that does not cater to their personality.

Multiple Learning Methods

Let’s assume there are five different learning methods teachers can use to teach children. In reality, there are infinitely many more. Regardless, America’s “Prussian lecture system” is just one, but students who may do well with other method are often labeled as dumb, lazy, ADHD, or other insults by the system. These same children may excel in an interactive, seminar-based, or outdoor system, instead.

Our young are caged into a one-size-fits-all system where they are denied the opportunity to learn according to their personality. How receptive to learning would you be if your instruction did not align with your learning style?

What if politicians regulated the automobile industry in the same way they standardize education? They could, for example, mandate that companies can only sell vehicles with two doors and a four-cylinder engine. Would you be okay with this limitation on your freedom to choose products that entrepreneurs made to meet your needs? I’m guessing not, as you may want the option of a V6, V8, SUV, four doors, or perhaps a truck. Most recognize the benefits of competition for their automobile needs, yet most don’t make the connection that students are being denied the benefit of market competition.

Politicians are stripping entrepreneurs of the ability to provide parents the freedom to choose an educational model that suits their child’s personality. This is a disgrace that history will look back on as barbaric.

Ending government’s involvement in education will not only free parents and children from monopoly control, but also free young adults wishing to start their professional careers.

Career Jumpstarts

Want to be a lawyer? Have you ever asked yourself why can’t you just start law school at 14, 15 or 16 years old? Or, why do you have to go to law school in the first place? Why do you have to pass a coercively mandated state bar exam? Why can’t you just study law, start a law practice, and allow your customer results to publically prove your industry knowledge?  Your customer results, not a government certificate, are proof of the value which you generate for others.

Want to be a chiropractor? Political mandates dictate that you must sacrifice four years of your life earning a bachelor’s degree before you are “free” to learn from doctors wishing to teach you chiropractic medicine. Think about that for a second; we live in a time when a group of individuals is forcing those who wish to learn medicine (and help others), to sacrifice four years of their life earning an unnecessary degree. Are those your values? Do you honestly believe one person should have the ability to control four years of another?

Libertarianism is true compassion, compassion to give people human respect to design their own lives.  In a libertarian culture, you could apprentice under your local chiropractor for a year or two. Once the local chiropractor thinks you’re ready to go on your own, he will certify your abilities. In his community, his reputation will be enough to certify your abilities and gain you customers. If you try to go outside his local community, then his certification may not carry much weight. As a result, you may need to go to a traditional chiropractic school. Or, you may have to develop a positive reputation and customer reviews through regulating channels (like Yelp), which allow you to move outside his community.

Traditional Chiropractic schools will, of course, still exist. But, there is no reason to think it would take ten years to become proficient in chiropractic medicine (or regular medicine). The curriculum may take two, three, or four years.

A World of Possibility

The vibrancy of free markets will lead to an unlimited amount of educational models meeting the varying needs of educational consumers. True progress is lifting political chains and freeing people to meet the educational needs of our next generation. Progress is not forcing individuals into a uniform system denying entrepreneurs the freedom to teach according to a student’s dynamic personality.  Our youth and young professionals deserve the human respect to be free of the educational monopoly.

Here is a plan that can act as a blueprint for how to dismantle the governmental educational complex. An assumption here is that we have evolved our culture to the progressive libertarian ethical standard and are working to efficiently and virtuously dismantle federal and state governments. Moreover, I assume that first, society has eliminated the income tax and replaced it with a sales tax. Lastly, I assume that educational spending does not have a sales tax on it.

The Libertarian Educational Plan

Step One: Eliminate compulsory education laws. If a young adult feels they would rather spend their time working than sitting in class, they should have the human respect to make that decision.

Step Two: Eliminate all federal and state laws and regulations that limit the creation of new schools. Entrepreneurs should be free to build as many schools as they need to meet market demands.

Step Three: Eliminate curriculum standards. How much English, math, Spanish, or geometry is necessary should be up to parents, entrepreneurs, and market competition to decide. The State should have no say in the matter.

Step Four: Transition all federal government spending on education to a voucher system. Parents, in this system, choose the school, and the school cashes the voucher. Vouchers will be in place for two years, after which they go away and schools will (like every other private sector business) stay afloat by attracting voluntarily paying customers.

Step Five: Eliminate all mandates on professional certifications. To clarify, colleges that teach professions such as law, medicine, and engineering will still exist. Without a doubt, there is clear market demand. On the other hand, we are simply getting rid of government involvement. For example, if someone is 17 years of age wanting to study medicine and there is a medical school willing to teach him, he can go to that school, regardless if he has a bachelor’s degree or not. Schools will be free to design the length of their curriculum. Does med school really need to be ten years in length, or can one complete it in five? Who knows? After all, there isn’t a free market competing to meet the needs of educational customers.

Also, aspiring professionals can apprentice under other professionals, either to gain experience and increase one’s chances of getting into professional schools or to start their own profession.

These reforms will result is an educational system that meets the needs of all educational consumers for all income levels. With the market free to build schools, the income tax eliminated, colleges free to educate as they see fit and with the two-year voucher system directing money to the schools which are most efficient, the market will be ready to meet the needs of educational consumers without political influence.

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How to Craft a Winning Speech: 7 Steps

By Manuel Martin | United States

It was 10 AM, and I had just finished my coaching session for the upcoming Great Communicators Tournament at the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) National Convention. Over 120 students applied for this tournament, and I was one of three who made it to the finals.

I was optimistic about my speech until the coaches told me to start over, as my speech was too data-driven. If I didn’t change my speech in a drastic way, they said, I would have no chance of winning. I had one day to come up with a new speech and win the YAL tournament for a shot to head to the Great Communicators Tournament finale and compete for $10,000.

I abandoned the YAL convention activities (even skipping Ron Paul’s remarks at the convention) and focused all of my attention on creating a killer 3-minute speech. The Great Communicator’s Tournament is organized by Think Freely Media. They believe “that until we begin to seize the moral high ground and make the moral arguments in favor of free enterprise and liberty, we will continue to lose the fights that matter the most.” Let’s be honest: the last things libertarians need are more data-driven and logically reinforced arguments. After all, we’ve been doing that for decades with little success.

After absorbing the coach’s advice and starting from scratch, I created a speech that earned me first place and a shot at the finals.

At the finals, the judges allotted us four minutes for our speech with these criteria.

You work as a policy analyst for a national think tank that focuses on free-market solutions for third-world countries. And you have been invited to be one of a half-dozen or so speakers at a prestigious conference whose attendees are several dozen of the world’s wealthiest and most influential philanthropists investing in developing nations. Collectively, you will be speaking to individuals and corporations with many hundreds of millions of dollars in giving capacity. The purpose of the conference is for the attendees to hear a variety of perspectives on the best and most impactful strategies for philanthropic giving in developing nations. You’ve been asked to explain why your principles are most effective at lifting people out of poverty.”

The Speech

Below is the speech that earned me second place and a pleasant purse:

After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, NGO’s were inspired to provide relief in many ways, including giving away solar powered lights. However, the free lights resulted in Haiti’s own solar light manufacturer, Enersa, having to lay off most of their staff, as Enersa went from producing 50 lights a month to less than one.

Tom’s Shoes has famously donated over 35 million pairs of shoes, but that’s what’s seen. What’s not seen is the local cobbler losing customers and going out of business, the local cotton farmer and leather curator losing the cobbler’s business. And what happens when the free shoes wear out with the cobbler gone: where are the locals to get new shoes?

International aid can relieve human suffering, but we must help wisely.  As philanthropists, we are so busy giving with our hearts, sometimes we forget to give with our mind. I fear that for every good or service gratuitously given to those in need, we conscript them to a life of never experiencing the growth and pride of finding employment, accumulating wealth and sustainably providing for themselves and their family.

Entrepreneurs within market economies have lifted billions of souls out of poverty, but markets have limits; entrepreneurs can’t compete with free, and markets must generate wealth from the bottom up.  Economies don’t just magically grow from farmer John to farmer John Deere.

Private enterprise and bottom-up wealth creation are why I stand here today. My great-grandfather was a subsistence farmer on the small Atlantic island of Terceira. At the age of 20, he got a small loan to buy a half-acre, one cow, and build a dirt floor cinderblock house. Every day he walked a mile to the local market to sell his cows’ milk and buy flour, eggs, and spices. Life was hard, but if he were here today, he’d remind you the last thing his small milk farm needed was for an NGO to sell his customers free milk. Through hard work, incremental saving, and an unhindered market he labored his way to 8 cows and a flock of chickens, assets he liquidated to fund his move to America.  

His struggle was once the American struggle. In 1790, 90% of Americans were subsistence farmers, and despite the pompous British, American entrepreneurs built a strong economy one step at a time. Kerosene lamp before electricity, electricity before the incandescent light bulb, fluorescent light, LED light… lightsaber.

My friends, we can end poverty, not by creating dependency but by opening up opportunity. Here are some ways you can sustainably help elevate the third world poor.

Use your influence and push Congress to eliminate agricultural tariffs and subsidies, unfair advantages that drive global inequality and which our technologically superior farmers don’t need.

Influence foreign leaders to establish reliable and defendable land ownership systems; land ownership may just spark a cultural shift towards free markets and honest governance.

Reduce donations to NGO’s attempting to design foreign economies from the top down; instead invest in foreign financial institutions which specialize in helping small to medium size businesses grow. Struggling foreign entrepreneurs are desperate for the opportunity to turn your loan into sustainable profits for themselves and you. Imagine the lives and generations you’ll help change when both sides of the Atlantic are engaged in market-based value creation.

Lastly, remember the third world working poor are beautiful vibrant human beings, endowed with all the intelligence, creativity, and desire to be self-sufficient as every person in this room. They don’t need a fish or to be taught how to fish; maybe, just maybe what they need is for the world to stop disturbing their pond.

7 Important Steps in Writing a Speech

Here are the tactics I used to create my speech, which you can apply to yours.

  1. Study everything. In preparing for giving a speech on foreign aid, I watched every documentary I could get my hands on and read more articles that I can even count. I wanted to be the expert’s expert in the room. I had to understand the traditional foreign aid story and how it has worked and failed, then learn the liberty alternatives.
  2. Use emotions and storytelling. When preaching about the virtues of free markets and the vices of NGO’s disrupting local markets, it’s important to give the reader something real to feel. The Story of Enersa laying off most of their staff is very real and lives were severely threatened by NGO “help.” My great grandfather’s story is very real. Towards the end, I asked them to picture the lives and generations they will help change, getting their feelings on the table.
  3. Use humor. I incorporated what I thought would be four laughs in the speech. Turns out two earned laughs, one got a couple chuckles, and the other bombed. If the points in your speech you thought would get you laughs don’t, just keep going but always try.
  4. No Limits. It doesn’t matter if you have a 4 minute limit on your speech or a 300-word limit. For your first draft, write whatever you think is pertinent.
  5. Trim the fat. There is no such thing as a good writer: there is only a good re-writer. Don’t say in twenty-five words what you can say in seven. My first draft was 850 words, I trimmed the fat to 507 words, then added new ideas to bring the speech back up to around 610 words.
  6. Write two speeches. After writing the above speech, I wrote a separate one from a different angle to see if I could get anything out of my mind and the line, “Economies don’t just magically grow from farmer John to farmer John Deer,” resulted from that spare speech.
  7. Memorize your speech. If you are focused on reading your speech while your opponent is focused on performing theirs, you will lose. Memorize your speech so you can perform your speech. Both I and the first place winner had our speeches memorized.

Above all else, realize that if you’re in a speech competition and don’t put in the work to win, you will not have a chance at winning. But follow the above seven steps, and you will do great.

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Modern-Day Progressives: Regressive Next to Libertarians

By Manuel Martin | United States

Libertarians are true, modern-day progressives seeking to unify and evolve our culture around a common set of voluntary values which the majority of people already hold. Those on the left who consider themselves progressive are not progressing society. Instead, they continue to use an outdated coercive democratic system from 300 years ago.

In fact, modern-day progressives are regressive conservatives. While those on the left who consider themselves progressives wish to change how the political system works, they still wish to conserve the existence of a system which has slaughtered hundreds of millions and continually divides society. Regressing culture to a time when kings and queens had full control over the freedom and self-determination of the average everyday person does not bring progress. It makes no difference if a king or democratically-elected politician strips you of your autonomy.

The truth is, modern-day progressives are not progressive at all. There is nothing progressive about looking to third-party politicians to coercively solve cultural differences. Real progressives seek to free human beings from outdated ideas, old prejudices and the narcissism of those who wish to democratically control individuals within society. Real progressives fight to give everyone human respect to live free from the control of power-hungry politicians. Also, real progressives lift the values and ethics of people in order to unite them and bring about harmony and prosperity.

The Failed Tool of Democracy

The majority of Americans have strong personal values which promote and sustain peace. However, our political values are built upon a regressive democratic system of divisive coercion. Ideas of democracy and coercive government stagnate society in a constant state of actual and social war. The outdated, regressive tool of democracy has led to the slaughter and starvation of hundreds of millions in countless wars. It has democratically caused famines while ensuring power and profits to state benefactors. Democracy is the tool which freed millions from kings and dictators only to simultaneously have them vote for socialist kings and communist dictators.

Democracy was once a promise of a world where people would be free to live the lives they desired, but it has failed. True progressives evaluate the results of their ideas and never double down on failed ones. Democracy or constitutional government may be a good alternative to the unilateral dictates of a king. But by what logic is voting for oppression any better than simply being born into oppression?

It’s time for real progress, a New Frontier if you will; we must progress our culture to one which maximizes human respect, is tolerant of others, values the individual, and respects persuasion and trade over “democratic consensus.”

No Need for Government

Individually and socially, we don’t need government and politicians to live in peace and prosperity.  What society needs is individuals who put character first, value honest relationships, and respect long-held values of responsibility. We need men and women who teach integrity, strong work ethics and respect to their children. In short, everyone must own responsibility for his or her own actions. But moreover, they must take an enlightened position and look out for others, too.

These character traits make someone a valuable and contributing member of society. They are not a result of government, but of culture.

Culture will not flourish if we are naive enough to think voting is anything but an attempt to control the freedoms of others through the use of gun violence disguised as government, law, and democracy.

Your opinion is important, and yes your life matters. However, so does the person who has a different outlook on life. Of course, just because they are different doesn’t mean you should hire a mobster or politician with a gun to force your personal lifestyle on them.

Every action we make in life tilts the world a little bit more towards good or evil. Surely, attempting to control the free will and self-determination of others will always do the latter.

Modern-Day Progressives: Be Consistent

Everything we need to end the ancient idea of coercive government is already out there. Everyone, including you, is already using it. We are all libertarians in our personal dealings with others. Almost no one uses coercion when dealing with others. This, however, is not because governments tell us not to. Rather, we understand that in order for us to be successful human beings, we must rely on voluntary interactions.

We simply need to be consistent in the application of those ideals which we use to guide our everyday actions. We must start voting for politicians who promise to slowly and ethically dismantle the state so we can continue the evolution of our culture to more voluntary interactions, not fewer.

If you’re truly a modern-day progressive that wants to promote peace, prosperity, freedom for all and want to unleash societies ability to maximize human happiness, then we should all extend our libertarian social values to our political decisions. We should start the process of liberating society from the divisive coercion of governmental gun violence.

The best long-term sustainable way to maximize human happiness, peace and prosperity is to raise the cultural ethics of society until everyone recognizes the individual and common benefits of using persuasion instead of coercion, and trade instead of theft and taxes.

Libertarianism is a social philosophy seeking to promote this culture: one where individuals hold voluntary interactions as the primary ethic guiding their relations with others. As people, libertarians want to progress our culture to that ethical standard. Libertarians, thus, are the true progressives. Liberals: try to keep up.

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Income Inequality? Yes Please

By Manuel Martin | United States

Income inequality is broader today than it has ever been. Moreover, corporate CEO pay exceeds average employee pay by a wider margin than ever before. Owning a home was once the American dream. But, with home prices reaching 2006 record highs, it now appears to be a luxury of the wealthy few.

Income inequality may seem more prevalent than ever, and many believe it needs coercive governmental solving. However, there will always some who make more than most. This is simply because someone is always the best at what they do, which is good for everybody.

Income inequality benefits everyone, especially the poor. Inequality allows those, rich or poor, to work hard, push past the average, and earn huge financial rewards for their risk and hard work.

Advancement and Innovation

People applying their skills and resources to push past the status quo is how society advances. When the public wanted a faster horse, Karl Benz created the first car. When this still was not enough, the path to commercial airplane travel began. In both situations, someone got a lot of money for being the best at something and helping society.

These advances in travel lead to substantial financial rewards for the entrepreneur, and a better quality of life for all. Today, people travel much faster and more comfortably than they did in times of horses. Without the incentive of money, entrepreneurs would not have a reason to invent. The promise of unequal income strives the forward motion of society.

Income Inequality and the Poor

Many may argue that income inequality hurts the poor, but in reality, the opposite is true. In a free market, income inequality greatly benefits the poor.

A place where individuals are free from political rules and regulations, a free market allows low-income workers to find creative forms of earning money. Free markets create opportunities for even the most unskilled to find work and build marketable skills. Sadly, that free market does not exist today. In today’s world of regulation, many of these avenues are illegal, despite being entirely harmless. Trying to prop up society’s lower class by raising the minimum wage makes it harder for low-skilled workers to find employment, build their work history and advance their earnings potential.

Minimum wage laws create artificial barriers for employers who want employees to do simple tasks. These laws make previously cheap labor expensive. Thus, it incentives entrepreneurs to invest in machines to do the work instead. Though automation occurs regardless, minimum wage speeds this process up. As a result, the low-skilled workers have less time to find a new job before a machine takes it.

A Building Block of Society

Income inequality is the foundation of everyone’s career. Almost everyone starts their career by earning much less than when they finish their career. Ultimately, this is a good thing too, as it gives an incentive to continue working and improve work quality.

Should your primary care physician earn as much as a heart surgeon? Should a pre-school janitor earn as much as a civil engineer? I think we can all agree that income inequality, in these situations, is both fair and just.

Humans pick careers for many reasons, one of the most important reasons being monetary compensation. When the state takes from those who earn more, fewer people will choose such careers. Why should they, if their harder work and more expensive schooling doesn’t lead to higher income? These people, such as doctors and professors, provide great services to society and deserve compensation for such. Society doesn’t need more hamburger flippers, and should not encourage this profession with equal pay for it. However, we can always use another doctor; greater monetary reward will send more people down that path.

Unequal Value

Heart surgeons earn more than primary care physicians because they provide more value. Removing the financial rewards for them will lead to fewer people becoming heart surgeons. As a result, the overall quality of life will drop. If heart surgeons get no reward for saving lives, who will save lives?

These principles apply to all people and all careers. In general, those who earn more provide more value to others; removing their incentive to earn more removes their incentive to provide more value. Of course, this is not universally true, but more often than not is. In a free market, resources tend to go to those who efficiently provide valuable goods and services that consumers want and need.

Wealth Redistribution Hurts the Economy

If almond farmer Jack can afford to bid $3,000 for a plot of land, and almond farmer Bob can only bid $2,000 for the same plot, Jack will win the property. Jack can afford to outbid Bob: he likely produces more almonds per acre for almond consumers. Therefore we can assume he earns more profit per acre than Bob and can afford to outbid him. As a result, Jack will continue to provide a more efficient product for society’s betterment.

What would happen if the State used the law to redistribute money or land from Jack to Bob? Well, Bob, the less efficient farmer, would produce fewer almonds with the new land. Jack, for his efficiency, receives a punishment of not being allowed to fairly buy land. The consumers? Well, they don’t have as many almonds on the market, because Bob did not produce as many as Jack would have. When quantity decreases, price increases. So, because of this policy, the consumer ends up paying more for almonds. Though Bob gets his land, everyone else, Jack included, suffers for Jack’s success. This wealth redistributionist policy is how you regress society.

Free markets lead to the efficient allocation of resources, which advances society and drives up our standard of living. Wealth redistribution simply cannot vouch for this.

Double Inequality of Value

The above average standard of living that Americans have come to rely on is produced by entrepreneurs creating goods and services that people like you value and are willing to pay for. This exchange of value leads to both parties advancing their wellbeing. The company values the money more than keeping the good or service, so it sells. Likewise, the customer values the good or service more than keeping the money, so he or she buys. This double inequality of value is true for every instance of free trade. For any free trade to occur, both parties must benefit.

To advocate for policies that will punish success is punishing people for improving lives. Few policies can as regressive as taking away the incentive for people to create value for customers. Ironically, many modern-day “progressives” actually support such ideas. In effect, they only regress the quality of life. Clearly, wealth redistribution is really what hurts the hard-working many in support of the few.

Wealth inequality is essential to society. Only it can reward the creator of the next lifesaving drug or 200 MPG car for improving lives.

As Unequal as Possible

Inequality drives innovation. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the auto industry to make his company equal to the competition; he wanted to be as unequal as possible. By creating more value for his customers, he earned an unequal amount of profit. Should the government have restrained this inequality to protect the horse and buggy industry? Of course not.

Here is the secret when it comes to inequality: it’s your fault. No, this does not single out anyone in particular. Rather, it merely shows the desires of all consumers.

The fact is, you decide to go to your favorite restaurant because you think it’s the best. The other restaurants simply do not deserve an equal amount of money from you. They may have worked hard, but your favorite gets the reward for best satisfying your desires. You watch a movie because you think it’s the best. By buying one over another, you create income inequality. Do you buy a car at random? No, you buy the best one you can afford, denying other car manufactures of income. Making an informed purchase creates income inequality, but is not bad for anyone. No car dealership is entitled to your money. Individual preferences and income equality cannot exist on the same plane.

Freedom of Interaction

Libertarians are often accused of being naïve and ignorant for believing people should be free to interact without the State. However, advocating for equality policies without fully grasping what drives inequality is the real naïve idea.

You drive inequality by your desire to consume the best music, food, houses, cars, and phones. Every single time you choose one product over another, you reward the company. As a reward for giving you what you see as the best, they receive your money. You cannot get rid of income inequality without also getting rid of the system of financial incentive that drives progress.

On the other hand, using the State’s force will only create a form of inequality that is actually harmful. When the State has a right to take from one to give to another, they have a lot more power than the people. Thus, such a solution only creates new, worse tiers of inequality than what existed before.

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