Give Me Liberty or Give Me … What We Have Today

THE central political issue is liberty. Liberty refers to the right to exercise your own mind and use your own judgment, and to be responsible for that judgment. If you make a judgment that’s mistaken, you don’t have the liberty to force somebody else to clean up the mess. Likewise, you’re not responsible for cleaning up the consequences of someone else’s bad judgment. If something happens to somebody else outside of his or her control, you enjoy the liberty to help that person. In fact, you can give that person everything you own, if you want. Nobody can or should stop you. At the same time, the fact that this other person experienced misfortune in no way implies an obligation for you to help them. Imposing such an obligation on you would be like imposing religion on you. A third party might say, “According to my religion, you must give up what you own for the sake of this other person who experienced this misfortune.” And if you don’t: The police will come and get you, for breaking the law.

No, liberty does not permit this. Liberty permits you to decide for yourself what your own attitudes, ideas and beliefs are to be, including in the realm of charity. If you’re a modern-day “liberal” and you insist, correctly, that you have a right to do what you want sexually with other consenting adults, and that you have a right to practice your chosen religion, or to practice no religion at all, then you likewise have to respect the liberty of everyone to draw, and act upon, his or her own conclusions with respect to charity. You cannot say, “Everybody has liberty until I say they don’t.” This is what modern “liberals” do, and their “conservative” handmaidens are little better. The political wreckage of America 2010 stems from an ignorance about, or an evasion of, everything I just wrote. You can call it “extreme” but you have to prove it’s wrong by offering the alternative that is fair to everybody, and that everybody can live with. America was a historically unique and great place until it started to drift from these principles. Now that we’re less a nation of liberty and more a nation of legally enforced, government-dictated “compassion,” most agree that America is becoming a much less desirable place to live than it was even a few years ago. If we continue to lose our liberty, we’ll continue to lose the wealth and personal esteem we once had. If we gain it back, the reverse will be true. Merely fighting for liberty brings it back, in one sense, and for that reason alone the fight is worth it.