Find Your Own Freedom
by Tom Preble, October 16, 2003
On Jeff Wright's missive -- and those that would lecture us on how to be free...
A good letter to COFREE. Freedom is indeed "where you find it." Jeff's message that debt is a prison of our own making, cannot be said often and loudly enough. And freedom is certainly not "someplace you move to". Well put.
Freedom is not, however, doing it "Jeff's way" -- and then again it is...
You're not wrong to live as you do vis a vis the government. Problem is, people don't necessarily "find it" (freedom) where and in the same way as you might. Therefore they may not wish to line up behind your barricade.
"You're sheep! You're not real libertarians unless you: Own a high powered rifle, stop paying taxes, live in a cave, smack a bureaucrat -- line up behind me and do things my way!" How tiring. How often we've heard such prattle from those who find freedom as they do because of the lifestyle they've chosen. Have such libertarian Messiahs no sense of irony? To be free we must do and live as they tell us? Really!
Such Messiahs have at least given us an interesting unintended consequence. A real problem is revealed. Those who love freedom tend to be of an independent sort. True freedom lovers might be offended by others telling us how we must live in order to be bona fide. Let the libertarian bickering begin! Problem. Are libertarians positive people? What do you think of when you think "libertarians?" Now, think that people wanna join us?
Can we agree that freedom is created within each of us and as we choose? This is important. I am married. (Grin.) I am therefore less free than single folk, generally. Am I therefore a traitor to the freedom movement because I have willingly chosen less freedom? Debt is generally anti-freedom, but what if I choose to go into debt to buy a motorcycle, say? (I could have said "high powered rifle," but some libertarians are a might cranky and can only take so much goading. And of course then, if said rifle wasn't a bolt action, I still wouldn't be a true libertarian...)
My house is in order, everyone's happy and life is good. Instead of putting, say, an additional $100 in the bank each month, I add $20 to that and make a monthly motorcycle payment. There are no other pressing financial matters and so I go into some debt but get the motorcycle now. Life is short and I'll never be younger than I am this summer. Have I reduced my freedom by taking on this debt? Remember to look at the big picture here.
Point is, the very essence of freedom is individuality. Stop telling me that I don't care if I don't do it your way and join up with your schemes. Stop telling us we're not bona fide freedom lovers if we don't live as you tell us! We've seen this sort of attitude in certain "libertarian" candidates right here in Colorado and such an attitude is counterproductive. We're rare, people! Can we stop running each other off?
Freedom equals options and options are just that. There is no narrow, exclusionary path to freedom! Let's share ideas in a humble, friendly manner on how to be more free. Remember the "marketplace of ideas?" Good ideas will generally do well in free discussion.
All of us are in somewhat different circumstances with regard to our resources and our mindset. There are many valid paths to enhanced lives through freedom. Enough with "litmus tests" for freedom lovers! I'm free enough to not tell you how you should live. How free are you?