An Uncommon Courage
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An Uncommon Courage

It takes a certain uncommon kind of courage to be a libertarian. I see its lack in almost every political discussion I get into. I don't know why it's so rare, but I suspect that State schooling destroys both it and its foundation, either by accident or design.

I speak of a courage of egalitarianism, a willingness to trust your fellow-citizens to take care of themselves, even when they are making choices that you cannot help but regard as stupid. It is respecting their liberty, even when it leads them to harship, want, immorality, or foolishness. It is letting them do what they want, make their own mistakes and learn from them.

Nearly everyone with whom I discuss politics, law, philosophy or ethics finds it hard to keep this attitude at some point. There's hardly anybody who never feels the need to use the heavy foot of government to shape, mold, alter, or control other people's lives. It's often coupled with a desire to do good for others, to help them do what they won't or can't do for themselves.

Nearly all government programs arise from the desire to control others who are too stupid or irresponsible to take proper care of themselves. The only exceptions are those programs that fulfill proper government functions and those that fill the pork barrel.

But when you couple the good intention of helping the helpless with the bad means of government force, you end up paving the road to Hell and driving your society down it.

Look at Prohibition, for example. The Temperance Leagues gained enough political power to outlaw the white man's recreational drug of choice--alcohol. The basic premise of Prohibition was that humanity was not capable of handling alcohol, and that anyone who drank would be enslaved by it and become a monster under its influence.

The consequences of Prohibition were immediate: illegal production; smuggling; and powerful gangs that corrupted the police, menaced the innocent, and battled in the streets to control the trade. And anyone who wanted alcohol had little trouble getting it.

During Prohibition, some people turned from alcohol to marijuana, cocaine, or opium. Once the white man's favorite drug was legalized, Prohibition was applied to the favorite drugs of Blacks, Mexicans, and Chinese. We've been told ever since that humanity is not capable of handling these drugs, and that anyone who tries them will be enslaved to them and become a monster under their influence.

And the consequences have come home to roost: illegal production; smuggling; and powerful gangs that corrupt the police, menace the innocent, and battle in the streets to control the trade. And people who want these drugs have little trouble getting them.

The premise of public schooling is that enough people are too stupid, poor, or irresponsible to see properly to their children's education, unless they are forced to. Now you know that you would see to your children's education, and so would everyone else you know. But we must all submit our children to the policies of the educrats, just to make sure that those few foolish others you've heard of but never met are forced to take care of their children.

So as a result, none of us can be allowed to choose our own children's education, to make sure none of us choose wrong. Our children are all forced into the same educational methods in spite of the fact that they're obviously all different, and we know our children and what works for them better than any educrat ever could.

Then there's food stamps, to control the food purchases of those of us too poor and foolish to feed themselves; Medicare and Medicaid, for those of us too poor and foolish to see to their healthcare; Social Security, to see to our retirement; farm subsidies, to help our farmers who are too incompetent to make a profit; steel tariffs, to help the steelworkers who can't handle foreign competition; and licensing of hundreds of professions and trades, to make sure we can't choose the wrong doctor, lawyer, hairdresser, plumber, accountant, nurse, dentist, electrician, teacher, or chiropractor. In every case, you see the same mindset: Unless the government limits your choices (and charges for the "service"), you and I are too stupid to choose for ourselves.

But we are not too stupid. There is nobody better able to make a choice for you, than you. Nobody else knows as much about your situation as you do. In fact, nobody else can. It doesn't matter if they're smarter than you, they don't know you as well as you do. You are better off if you make your own choices and nobody else limits them. Unfortunately, when you try to limit other people's choices, it is only human nature that still others come along and limit yours.

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