LP03: Suprynowicz Inspires 'True Faith of Liberty'
by Ari Armstrong, May 7, 2003
"Why do we do this?"
That's the question Vin Suprynowicz asked to begin his talk Saturday evening at the April 5 Libertarian banquet. After all, most people want entitlements; they willingly give up their liberty to be wards of the state. Libertarians are "a tiny minority who cling to the true faith of liberty."
It is "so tempting to get caught up in these compromise schemes." Libertarians often find themselves arguing for lower taxes, rather than standing against taxation on principle. Sometimes they promote drug treatment rather than the legalization of all drugs.
Yet libertarians "were made to understand that individuals prosper best when left in liberty" and "socialism doesn't work." "You are freedom fighters," he said. Many libertarians homeschool or donate to private scholarships. They work to defend the "Second Amendment tradition" or to educate juries about their rights.
Suprynowicz reviewed some of the cases of government abuse. Donald Scott and Peter McWilliams were killed over the war on drugs. Scott "got killed because they wanted his land," so law enforcement agents falsely claimed they saw marijuana growing there.
Even less sympathetic cases contain an important lesson. "I don't think anybody should do what Carl Drega did," which is to kill government agents who had been harassing him. Most of us are better-educated and we have enough money to hire a good lawyer. Drega was the kind of guy who, "if you leave him alone, he'll leave you alone. [But] the great imperial state won't leave people alone."
"We are a very small remnant of the America that once cherished liberty," Suprynowicz said. And "our enemies today are more clever." Statists regularly call for "reasonable" infringements of our liberty. In government schools, "they breed critical skills out of our children."
Suprynowicz described the new American "language of slavery." The key words in this language are "but," "allow," and "comfortable." To generalize, "Sure I support Right X. But we cannot allow people to exercise their rights in Context Y; I'm just not comfortable with that."
What, then, are libertarians to do? Suprynowicz believes libertarians should support liberties like homeschooling and Second Amendment rights and should show people "the true paradigm of liberty." "We can do that much," he said, "we can teach our children about the liberty tree."
The problem with replacing the Liberty Tree with "lovely liberty shrubberies" is that they're no good when people finally want real liberty, Suprynowicz said. Libertarians should stop worrying about being popular, he said: "If they at least grasp it enough to ridicule you, that's how you know they understood you."
"Our lives do not belong to the government." If libertarians keep preaching that message, Suprynowicz said, "eventually freedom will win."