Friends from Slovakia, Romania, Slovenia, and Croatia talk about how in the West they are viewed as “eastern,” but in the East, they are considered western. There is a growing sense in Central and Eastern Europe of people who caught between two different worlds. Today, some migrants who left the region for better opportunities now want to return to what they call “home.” One common variable repeated by ex-expats was that they could not fully identify with the country they migrated to because of differences in historical experience.
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.
- Most people, most of the time, strive to be happy.
- 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.
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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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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By Manuel Martin | United States
Most libertarians agree: society should either lean towards minarchism or anarchism. However, there is much dispute about which of these two is preferable. Before reaching either, though, a broad cultural shift must occur so that people may become progressive enough to sustain either system.
For the most part, politics is downstream of culture. This means that a region’s culture will decide what type of politicians and policies are present. In general, politicians react to the people, as they care about getting elected. Though there are always exceptions, many will morph into whatever chameleon necessary to secure election. Of course, the government also has a reciprocal influence on culture. However, the reverse, more often than not, is true. Politics reacts to culture more than vice versa, and a number of examples suggest this.
The Mexican Homicide Problem
Mexico, first of all, has laws against murder. They also have gun laws that would make a straw banner’s dreams come true. To buy a gun in Mexico, one has to obtain a license, a process which requires a background check. That background check looks at criminal history, mental history, physical health, and any past drug addictions. One must then provide a birth certificate, a letter confirming employment, proof of a clean criminal record from the attorney general’s office in the applicant’s home state, a utility bill with current address, a copy of a government-issued ID and a federal social security number. On top of all of that, Mexico has one legal gun store in the entire country. For every hundred Mexican residents, there are 15 guns. But in the United States, there are at least 88 guns per hundred residents.
Despite Mexico having one-sixth as many guns, more restrictive gun laws, one gun store and identical laws making murder illegal, Mexico as a culture has a homicide rate that is 5 times that of the United States. Same laws, fewer guns, yet five times as many murders. The government doesn’t account for this difference: culture does.
Culture, Not Law, Determines Murder
Here’s another example. Guatemala has just 13.2 guns per 100 residents, yet has an average of 386 murders per million residents. The USA is at 42 murders per million. Same laws, one-sixth the guns, but nine times as many murders. Rather than a corrupt government, murder rates are a result of a corrupt culture. When people vote for and tolerate corrupt governments, an equally bad culture is nearly inevitable.
In many Middle Eastern countries, Sharia law is the guiding philosophy of the law. The people’s adherence and submission to Sharia is simply a part of the culture. Thus, politicians seeking elected office must earn the culture’s approval and campaign on the promise of blending the culture with the law. In many Indian states, it’s illegal to slaughter cows. Why is this? In India, 80% of the population is Hindu, and the religion teaches that cows are sacred. As a result, politicians cater to the people and outlaw the slaughter of cows.
Culture and Law
A people in any given region tend to formalize their customs and values by way of political law. Some cultures are highly obedient to authority figures and willingly tolerate corrupt political behaviors.
America’s culture, for example, has always advocated strict adherence to the “rule of law.” While I believe we should adhere to the “rule of human respect,” as respecting the individual should always come before respecting the law, American values are mostly rooted in equality. American culture believes that adherence to the law will keep everyone equal and accountable. In fact, many believe that the “rule of law” will highlight and expose corrupt individuals. Due to this belief existing, politicians capitalize on it to highlight their opponents’ corrupt behaviors.
The Paradigm Shift to Minarchism
Clearly, politics is downstream of culture. How much, then, would America’s culture have to change for the people to embrace minarchism? For the sake of simplicity, I will define minarchism as follows: The government only provides national defense and local and regional law courts.
For such a system to ever take root and bloom, American morals and values must drastically shift. Today’s people currently depend on the plunder of others for everything from roads to healthcare. Peaceful admiration of minarchism is far from the American norm.
The American people need to learn the injustice of attempting to secure personal gain by voting for a politician to steal the resources of others. Minarchism requires a societal realization that voting for an agent of plunder (politician) or hiring an agent to plunder the resources of others are identical actions. They are equally destructive to a culture trying to maximize human harmony and prosperity.
A minarchist culture would need to progress their understanding of human respect. As such, they would reject the use of coercive power to manage the habits of others. Then, they would transition to one which uses persuasion to influence the habits of others.
Americans would have to evolve and embrace persuasion over coercion in all aspects of life. In a minarchist society, the government will be a reactionary force, only touching you when you violate the freedom and property of others. This, of course, is beyond the minimal taxation to fund courts and defense. But the fact is, our culture is not yet there. We need to love and trust humanity with a level of respect that does not exist. Though libertarians are trying to plant this in society, it is a slow process.
We would need to realize that the private sector can indeed make roads, bridges, schools, dams. Moreover, consumer organizations like Yelp are most efficient regulators than Washington bureaucrats. Where coercion used to be the norm, persuasion must fill in. This includes all aspects of life that currently use coercion: police, education, certification, roads, and many more areas.
Minarchism can never occur without a cultural shift towards trade over tariffs, property rights over political borders, common law over political law, customer-driven education over politically monopolized education, persuasion over coercion, consumer regulation over political regulation, and trust over suspicion. People must become self-sufficient and wise. Freedom comes with blessings and responsibilities, where political action breeds traps and division. But, the former can only work when the people are aware of its power.
A Natural Transition to Anarchism
A culture with values strong enough to transition to minarchism will not stop there. A people progressive and principled enough to elect politicians who actually follow through with surrendering their celebrity would never keep those politicians in power. If society is honorable enough to shut down the 7 trillion dollar government scam, it will do so entirely.
A society which trusts the freedom of others will not stop at minarchism. They will, instead, realize that minarchism is a false ideology, and nothing more than a stepping stone. Peace and justice cannot arise from the mass political injustice necessary for minarchism.
So minarchists, welcome to anarchism. Our cultures share the same values. Now let’s work together to make your minarchist state a reality. Once the people and culture are ready for minarchism, we can swiftly abolish what’s left of the state and move to a voluntary society.
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By Addie Mae Villas | USA
As we speak, American culture is going through a massive shift, and in no positive direction. In fact, we are losing societal recognition for one of the most basic liberties: freedom of speech. In modern American culture, there is now a desire to avoid speech that may trigger or offend an individual or group. This shift, the desire for an increase in political correctness, began as a form of common courtesy. However, it has mutated to the point of censorship of both facts and unpopular opinions. The atmosphere created by a politically correct (PC) culture not only spews out misinformation to protect feelings, but twists facts to ensure the happiness of others. This false reality is dangerous on many levels. When left unchecked, it will undoubtedly create a society that blurs the lines between fact and fiction.
Unsurprisingly, PC culture is not exclusive to either economic side of the political spectrum. Although the left shows a number of extreme cases of PC and censorship, the right is no different. In 2017, the Cato Institute, conducted a Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, in which they analyzed Americans’ beliefs on censorship. Simply put, the results were frightening. In it, 53% of Republicans polled favored taking U.S. citizenship from people who burned the American flag. To supplement, 65% of Republicans believed that NFL players should be fired for refusing to stand for the national anthem. Naturally, many individuals simply claim this is national pride. Yet, by supporting restrictions of American freedom, they immediately ruin the very values they claim pride in.
In addition, politically correct Republican culture often leads to blind respect for our law enforcement. While it is true that police officers are valuable members of society, this does not excuse their abuses of power. The shooting of Daniel Shaver is a clear example of said abuse. Though the victim was unarmed and begging for his life, officer Philip Brailsford still shot and killed him. Despite the officer’s murder of Shaver, the Republican party remained silent. Instances like these prove the hypocrisy of the PC right. Though quick to judge the damage caused by the left, many forget that they are guilty of the same faults.
On the contrary, the economic left is equally guilty of a damaging PC culture. Free speech zones on college campuses are a prime example of such damage, with speech restricted beyond certain areas. Moreover, the Cato Institute found that 51% of Democrats support legally forcing Americans to use a transgender’s preferred pronoun. Though doing so is polite, we do not legislate politeness. Such a law is an example of government overreach. If someone wants to misgender someone, that is solely up to the person, not the state, to decide.
After looking at the faults of both sides, which party happens to be the greater offender? The Cato Institute poll found that Democrats are more likely to support banning offensive language. As time passes, the list of offensive terms only increases. In fact, 80% of surveyed Democrats believe that it is hateful or offensive to declare that America should deport illegal immigrants. When so many individuals believe that truths and opinions are derogatory and harmful, civil debate quickly fades away.
In today’s world, discussion is something that needs to happen to prevent a major catastrophe. Currently, Cato reported that 71% of people believe PC has prevented conversations we need in society. One can easily look to oppressive governments to see the damage of restricting free speech. America is rapidly moving in that direction, and a clear change in culture is necessary to protect our liberties.
(Image courtesy of historyofjournalism.onmason.com)