I’m anxious, damnit. I’m anxious to regain freedom where it was lost, and gain it wherever it may be found. I’m anxious because life is short and there is so much work to be done.
Liberty, true liberty, is across the Earth suffocated by governments at every level, and of every kind. They are like valves, and depending on how much freedom they ‘allow’ us, that is the amount of energy that will then pour through the valves. Each step toward good governance and a limited state, each salvo against aggressors from the streetcorner to the halls of the legislature pays us back in spades: airline deregulation paid us JetBlue and WestJet, quality-of-life enforcement paid us a safe and prosperous New York City, liberty paid us the American dream.
Too many examples don’t pay us at all; they steal from us. Government education steals our youth, social security steals our retirement, zoning steals our living space. Nanny statists tell us that opposing ‘social’ programs like ‘social’ housing and ‘social’ services makes us greedy. Let us ignore for a moment moral arguments about taxation, and focus on the utilitarian: socialism suffocates societies. A ‘social-market’ economy is like a badly polluted city; communism is a plastic bag over your head. Look around you. By mechanisms best explained through the philosophy of meaning and the reality of human individuality, rights yield rewards. I know I may speak in grand terms, but the empirical evidence abounds. Would you rather spend a night in a private building or a ‘social housing project?’
That said, I want to focus not on bringing you toward true liberalism, but on explaining my anxiousness about getting reform accomplished. Canadians, Americans, Western Europeans, and Australians rest on their laurels that they lead the world in freedom and development. But that’s all relative. I see us as a primitive species, locked in political turmoil, unable to sustain peace for any significant length of time. We impoverish everyone to spite the rich; we destroy civilization to be crowned King of the Rubble. Do you, the most intellectual, truly think that Americans are living in the best of all possible worlds? Have you visited the Deep South? Are people still forgoing their dreams to provide for their families? Do you, the most intellectual, believe that is how life must be?
It’s not true. The truth is that human beings are the most powerful organisms to grow on this Earth. Our manifest destiny is to travel the stars, to farm the oceans, to have lives of plenty, and to self-actualize. Stupid, stupid, trade unions think they’re imporving their members’ lot by staging strikes and winning concessions. All of these squabbles are small potatoes. By my estimation, we have a lot of work to do to achieve a level of sophistication necessary to survive the next great catastrophe. Humanity is stuck on one miniscule planet in a galaxy full of planets, in a universe full of galaxies. Hurricanes still kill thousands in the Carribean every year, even though we know they’re coming. Economics is not a zero-sum game. Africa does not need to be poor. Everyone should be ‘living American’ as a baseline, and then onwards and upwards.
Now, if I was your typical utopian social-engineer, I’d be calling for the G8 to pledge billions in aid to help the Third World. I want the opposite. Cut off aid, end the era of big government. Even if we can realize the libertarian dream the American Forefathers envisioned two centuries ago, there will still be practical constraints to forward progress. Please, please, let those be the only contraints. Stop the war-mongering, at home and abroad. Stop the envy and talk of the ‘increasing gap between the rich and poor.’ The gap doesn’t matter, as long as we are all moving forward. We move forward when the valve of government is opened, and the vital energy of free men and women released. Open the valve; we have work to do.