Brad Miller

Do you have faith in Free Men?

In True nature of the State on August 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Do you have Faith In Free Men to act harmoniously within Society?

Each individual’s answer to that question determines the size and scope of the State we live under.

Today in America it is obvious the majority of folks have lost their Faith in Free Men. Most people don’t think that others if left unhampered to pursue their self-interest within a Free Market Society would choose not to violate the Natural Right of others to their Life, Liberty and Property. So these individuals instead of putting their Faith in Free Men put their Faith in the Force of the State.

 But those who put their faith in the State must realize that when they do that they are giving permission to the State to violate not only other individual’s Natural Rights but also their own. Most people accept this violation of their rights in order to gain security because they believe that they would not be secure  if they were truly Free. Maybe the question could be posed to those who support the State. “Do you have enough faith enough in yourself to live Free?”

I myself  look forward to the day when I can keep 100% of my earnings and do with them what I see fit. I look forward to the day when I don’t have to ever think about or fear The State again. Under such conditions would I govern myself any differently than I do today? Would I all of a sudden go out killing, defrauding and stealing from others? Would you if there were no State officers or law makers telling you not to steal, defraud, and murder would go out and commit crimes against others?

Those who Love Liberty who have no doubt that they would govern themselves without the State  must ask themselves if they believe others would do the same?

Frederic Bastiat  asked a similar question back in 1848 when he asked rhetorically “Do you believe Human interactions by their nature are harmonious?”

Those who want to live in a Free society must believe that they are on a fundamental level human actions with other humans are fundamentally peaceful and mutually beneficial. It is ony with Faith that Free Men will act harmonious can a Free Society exist.

Bastiat asked:

 “Is society anything else than a multitude of individuals placed in juxtaposition, acting, without concert, and given up to the movements of an anarchical liberty?   (Is this an early endorsement of Anarcho-Capitalism?)

“They say (economists-free market guys of the time) that even in the absence of all laws society would resist such acts (as killing, sacking, burning); and that consequently such resistance is a general law of humanity.”

Frederick Bastiat’s take is that society is just a collection of individuals who behave toward others in a peaceful and harmonious way because it benefits them all to do so.  It is not because of the external laws of man that Free Men act harmoniously but because of the innate internal laws of their very  humanity.

When Individuals exercise their God-given right to Defend their Life, Liberty and Property a harmonious, free, and peaceful society results. In this sense society and the economy(which is really society) is not planned as most people understand the concept. As Mises wrote a Free Economy/Free Society is planned and directed by millions of individuals who act according to their own plans to satisfy their desires. And they can only do this if their Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property are secured. And the only way to secure their Natural Rights within Society is to demand that the Natural Right’s of all individuals in Society are secure . It is the result of each individuals plan’s expressed through the Free Market that produce the abundance and prosperity we enjoy today. No “benevolent despot” or “enlightened central planner” is needed to force individuals to act peacefully within society.

I envision a Free Market Society where there is no State coercion because of this fact.  For this to come about individuals will as Thoreau said ” need to be ready for it”. The First step in the quest to be ready for a truly Free Society is to have faith in one’s ability to live Free. And by extension have the Faith in other Free Men to do the same. This is easer said than done. Otherwise throughout the millenia so many individuals would not have yoked themselves so willing to the State.

You look around everyday and think how in the world could some of these people who you see possibly live in a Free Market Society with no Government to keep them in line? My answer to this is that Free Men behave differently than Shackled Men. No one today who has grown up in the last 100 years understands what it means to be Free. So it is hard for us to imagine the Shackled Men of today living Freely.

My question is if it weren’t for government schools, the welfare and entitlement programs, the income tax, the military industrial complex, the myriad of wars, the TSA gropings, inflation and currency destruction, state-run lotteries,  excise taxes and the myriad other government interventions into peaceful society would The Shackled Men of today act in the same manner ? If there was no social safety net would individuals not seek the economic means to survive and even thrive? Without a minimum wage dictate from the State wouldn’t all individuals who wanted to be employed find work? And once employed have a chance to earn the skills needed to be of more value and thus earn a higher income? Without the war on drugs would individuals spend less time in prison?

The atrophy of virtues needed to succeed in a Free Market society are the direct result of growth of the State. When we look around at all of those who couldn’t cut it in the Free Future we imagine, remember that individuals are highly adaptable and capable of incredible creative accomplishments if left Free. How can the thoughts, actions and attitudes of a Shackled Man be the same ideas, actions and attitudes  as those of a Free Man? They can not.  

Alexis de Tocqueville documented  for himself how different the ideas, actions and attitudes of Free Men in America differed from those of the Shackled Men of Europe  in his Opus “Democracy In America” published in 1835 . He visited the young republic to find out for himself  “Why do Americans have Faith in Free Men when all of the rest of the world did not?”

His answer was really two-fold.

1. He believed that Faith in God was a big reason why American’s had Faith In Free Men.  In this regard what does Faith in a Creator dictate?  On the simplest terms it demands that individuals do not  Steal, Kill, Covet, and Lie. That is a good start but it goes one further and admonishes that individuals   “should do to others what you would have them do unto you”. These simple cocepts are the cornerstones of a Free Society.  And if certain individuals disregard these admonishiions then the early Americans believe it was their God-given right to defend their Life, Liberty and Property against aggression.

Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot. How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity?” Alexis de Tocqueville

 If you do not believe in a Creator or that He endowed you with Natural Rights than you don’t believe He has done the same for anyone else.

2. Alexis de Tocqueville also found that men when engaged in trade for profit benefited not only by the material wealth that brought  but also by the  intangible virtues needed to reach obtain it. He observed that America was full of Hard Working, Frugal, Ambitious, Self-Respecting, Self-Confident, Self-Determining, Self- Governing individuals. It is not hard to see that in a society filled with such individuals exhibiting these virtues that most Americans had a tremendous faith in not only the Creator but also in themselves and as well as other Free Men.

“Commerce is naturally averse to all the violent passions; it loves to temporize, takes delight in compromise, and studiously avoids irritation. It is patient, insinuating, flexible, and never has recourse to extreme measures until obliged by the most absolute necessity. Commerce renders men independent of each other, gives them a lofty notion of their personal importance, leads them to seek to conduct their own affairs, and teaches how to conduct them well; it therefore prepares men for freedom, but preserves them from revolutions.” Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville understood well that Individual Liberty and Economic Liberty are inseparable.  Through the voluntary exchanges of  buying and selling of goods and services on a Free Market,  individuals develop all he necessary virtues to live peaceably in a  Free Society. ” Peace through Free trade not only prevents wars with neighboring  nations it  also promotes peace within a society and works  “to  preserves us from revolutions.”

Bastiat wrote that ”

 “The social mechanism (voluntary exchanges between individuals -) must be very ingenious and very powerful since it leads to this singular result, that each man, even he whose lot is cast in the humblest condition has more enjoyment in one day then he could himself produce in ten centuries.”

When the State grows as a result of the  decreasing  Faith that  the majority of people have  in Free Men,  it gladly substitutes its own plans for the individual plans of the members of society. As it does this “central planning” the State,  distorts the market, kills competition,  limits the number of products and services available on the Free Market, and forces production to become more expensive. These  results of State intervention into the voluntary transactions of individuals lowers the standard of living of  everyone. When the State expands and  limits individual’s choices of individuals to dispose of their life and property, it affects the very character of the individual too.

“(The State) After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the government then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd” Alexis de Tocqueville

The less faith we have in ourselves and others to  LIVE FREE the more the State grows. We become more and more Shackled to the State.  The State is anti-freedom. When you sign your freedom away to the State you are resigning your life to the plans of someone else and forfeiting the life you could have lived according to your desires.

“The man who asks of freedom anything other than itself is born to be a slave.”  Alexis  de Tocqueville

Faith in a Creator and Faith in themselves gave early Americans the confidence to venture forth into the world and make their own way. This Liberty unfortunately wasn’t extended to slaves and most Indians of that time. That is why I don’t believe idealizing or worshipping the past is best way to advance Freedom in the future. That doesn’t mean we can ignore the lessons of the past. Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the result of Free Men in America. And to ignore why the Free Men were free in the past and what they did with that freedom is to lose a key insight into how to live more free today and in the Future. When we stray from the core ideas of Liberty and Natural Rights and begin idealizing the Founders or Early America we are forced to defend the men and the times instead of having the opportunity to advance the  ideas of Natural Rights, Free Markets and self-determination. Men will always fail you, ideas will not.

But why would men in a free society act in harmony with the rest of the individuals in society?

Do you think that when you drive down the road it is the threat of force from the State that keeps other drivers driving in their lane?Is it the State that sends customers to walk into your place of business to buy the goods your are selling.?Is it the State that forces Intel to make the revolutionary microprocessors that power your laptop or tablet that you voluntarily buy? Or are these actions merely the result of individuals pursuing their own self-interest to improve their lot in life? 

“I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it

Alexis de Tocqueville saw  the results first hand of what happens when men have faith in themselves and other Free Men.

We take for granted the freedom that we all enjoy today but we also lose sight of not only the Freedoms are ancestors enjoyed but also of the Freedom that is possible without Our Enemy the State.

This fight for Freedom is not about the past but about the future. Your future, my future, your grandchildren’s future. Freedom allows each of us to become who we want to be. Is there anything more powerful on Earth than individuals striving for perfection in whatever endeavor they are passionate about? And now think about how the State limits, discourages and prevents individuals from doing that?

I believe the man way the State creates Shackled Men and prevents them from having Faith in Free Men is in government schools, which look like and smell like prisons. Children are forced to attend, they are forced to obey the teacher who symbolizes the State, and regurgitate State sponsored lesson plans.  They are taught to submit, to be quiet, to not make fun of the teacher, to conform, to not pursue what they are interested in, to basically not to be an individual. Maybe the reason why so many have little faith in the idea of a totally Free Society? Because a Free Society is based upon the individual acting upon no other direction then his conscience and his imagination?

Kids have an innate ability to concentrate on a subject they are passionate about for hours. The earlier they are exposed to something that they  love to do the better off everyone will be. I’m not saying that a “committee” should determine what course a child  should pursue for the rest of his life at the age of five.  What I am saying is that in a Free Society parents would have the choice of sending their kids to the  private schools of their choice, taking them to work  them, or homeschooling them.In this way the child would be exposed to the most varied ideas and find the one’s that are most in tune with who they are.  

The choices of the different kinds of schools would be mind-boggling. The shoe market is still not very regulated and think about the endless variety we have to choose from. No matter what you are into there are a hundreds of brands selling thousands of varieties of shoes to fit your needs.  Why wouldn’t there be as many varieties as schools as there are shoes today if the education Market was truly free? Schools would be set up to function along the same lines as any other business selling a product or service. If the schools didnt teach what the parent wanted they would cancel the contract and take them to another school.

 With the near limitless variety of schools that would develop on the Free Market children would be able to pursue their passions from an early age. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. If a child spent three hours a day “playing” and learning about a subject they were interested in a day it by the time they were 15 they would be an expert in that subject!!

“Genius is Focus

In this way by the time children reach the age of  18 they would be ready to make their mark on the world even before thinking about going to college.In a Stateless Society colleges would look totally different from they do today. With no State funding they would have to compete with each other and other Educational concepts that haven’t even been invented yet.  Some Traditional schools would eliminate core classes all together, others might just focus on a single subject and others might be like the ancient Greek style of schools, which would allow students to drop in and out at will, according to how they liked what was being taught. Education would become once again a private voluntary transaction which would aim to serve the desires of the consumer and in doing so produce a myriad of different types of educational products.

Just think if you were exposed to the ideas of Natural Rights and the “Anything Peaceful” philosophy  at the age of Five in a School selling a Libertarian education? If only a handful of kids were interested in attending these schools their Faith in Free Men would be enough to help spread the Faith to an entire generation and lead to the Stateless Society I hope for.

Until a majority of individuals in this country understand  that liberty is not a means to a higher political end, it is the highest political end in itself we will not see the end of the State.

The State has a vested interested in destroying the faith individuals have in Free Men. They want to demonize the “Free Market” and convince others that man’s interactions are by their nature antagonistic. Those who  accept this premise and support the State believe that if men are free than their rights will be violated.  Their Faith has been transferred from the Creator to the State from Faith in Free Men to Faith in Politicians and Central Planners.
.

My quest is to make Free Men a common site again in the world. To allow individuals to pursue their passions peaceably without restrictions. If you want to have faith in Free Men then you must trust yourself to be Free. That means to as much as possible remove your dependence on anything that shackles you to the State. To do this you would achieve the First Level of Libertarian Leadership as Leonard Read put it” by not supporting any Socialist programs“.

That is increasingly hard to do today but the  more Free each of us are and the more others see that we are not using that freedom to violate the rights of others the more that others will want to be Free and trust themselves to do same.

de Tocqueville gives some encouraging advice to us who seek what to live Free within a Stateless Society when he wrote  “What is not yet done is only what we have not yet attempted to do” 

So attempting a second great experiment in Liberty this time without a State is to me the next logical step. Just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t be. I learned the other day that scientists are now able to make tiny amounts of gold out of mercury!!! The alchemists who sought for millenia the secret to transmute base metals into gold has come true.  If it took science that long to  realize the ambitions of the “crazy dreamers” and  maybe individuals in a thousand years will finally realize the ambitions of those crazy dreamer of today who are attempting to  transmute the unnatural Society we live in to a Stateless Natural Society where each individual with Faith in their Creator and themselves seeks to live the best life they can.

So the question really isn’t do you have Faith in Free Men? The question should be do you have faith in yourself enough to be Free?

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