Welcome to Liberty Set Square: thanks for visiting. My name is Jack and I’ve decided to propagate the philosophy of individual Liberty as much as possible. I had done some work writing copy towards the end of college, and I thought, “why not try writing for the cause of Liberty?” So, after a not-so-brief period…here it is!
I’ve come to realize that individual Liberty is what empowers humankind and drives progress, and that the denial of, or assault upon, the principles of Liberty produces stagnation, strife, societal breakdown and cultural decay.
Like many people, I began my quest trying to find answers to some of the most troubling (and seemingly inexplicable) aspects of my society:
why is there such a growing gap between “haves and have-nots” ?
why do the morally bankrupt seem to “get ahead” ?
how is it that we elect new politicians every 2-6 years but fundamentally, nothing seems to change ?
why does the U.S. Constitution seem unable to keep politicians from disagreeing about the scope and purpose of our government ?
In the course of this quest, I sought out the works of many great thinkers, particularly those addressing issues of social organization, social conflict, and economics. This initially consisted of the more well known, such as Marx, Smith, Chomksy, Paine and Rousseau, and led to relatively obscure authors like Boetie, Kropotkin, Bastiat and Molinari. Among all of them, the idea of “rights” was touched on frequently. Although different thinkers took different approaches and held opposing positions, “human rights” was always a central topic.
As so many other Americans, I had been raised to understand from an early age that I had rights. The idea of “Inalienable Rights” that is, rights that precede and exist independent of all political or legalistic determinations, resonated with me. I was taught to stand up for myself and fight for my rights if they were infringed upon.
The problem was that I didn’t understand why there had to be a fight over my rights to begin with.
In the United States, with a supreme Bill of Rights, how could anyone curtail my rights? If these rights were “inalienable,” how could anyone strip me of my rights, even if they wanted to? Yet, this seemed to be happening all of the time.
“Papers Please!” for trying to buy a Ding Dong!?
As a kid, teachers told me what I could and could not have printed on my tee-shirt. I had to show a student I.D. card to purchase food in the school lunch line, even when paying cash. I had to attend “spirit assemblies” even if we, as a class, asked the teacher if we could stay in the classroom and do our homework instead. As I grew older, I was told that we would “become adults” at 18…BUT:
- you cannot smoke until you are 19
- you cannot drink till 21
- you cannot rent a car till 25 (but you can usually rent an economy class vehicle at 21…huh?)
- you cannot rent a room in most hotels till you are anywhere from 21-25
When all of us young citizens of the U.S. took our first jobs, we realized that without signing forms that deducted money for Social Security and income tax, that we would not be allowed to work. Depending on what city or state we lived in, we may have not been allowed to own a gun, eat/drink what we wanted (evil large soft drinks), or throw a Frisbee.
We have the “legal right” to peaceably assemble, yet there are “Free Speech Zones“. We are told that we have the 4th and 5th Amendment, but the National Security Agency tramples over these “protections” with carte blanche, even as I write this. And of course, this small sampling does not begin to cover it.
John Locke demonstrated that your first property is your own life and body. By extension, the right to Life is also the right to the products from the labors of your body, or what we may call your Private Property.
What does Private Property have to do with it?
After many years of reading and research, I began to discover that Private Property Rights are more-or-less absent from typical discussions concerning human rights.
To the contrary, many have claimed that an eradication of property rights is necessary to achieve “equality,” “freedom” or “social justice.” Our modern society demonstrates this mentality ever frequently. The problem is that once permission has been granted to infringe on private property rights, no other rights are off-limits.
If a governing body of people can presume to tell an individual how much property they are and are not entitled to, then a precedent has been set. It will have been established that this person does not, in fact, own the product of their labor: they are only granted the privilege of keeping a subjectively determined portion of it. If this is accepted, that would mean that the idea of an “inalienable right” to ownership of one’s life and body is actually not inalienable or absolute, because the right to the products of that life and body are not absolute.
So, if someone holds this to be true, why would they not also presume to dictate what a person can and cannot put into their body? Why not dictate where a person may or may not travel? Why not see it as acceptable to force that person to lend their body to some kind of effort, such as participating in war (conscription), if it is established as “necessary” or “good” by the governing authority?
Property Rights must be held paramount if Individual Liberty is desired. This is what I mean by “Absolute Liberty.” That is, Liberty that includes the absolute right to private property.
Without the right to private property, there can be no true individual Liberty. It does not matter how many privileges you may be granted: they are ultimately meaningless if you do not have the freedom to acquire property, retain possession of it and to use it how you see fit.
This is because your right to private property is simply a logical extension of the ownership you have of your own body and of your right to self determination.
With absolute Liberty, the only limitation is that you do not infringe on others’ right to exercise absolute Liberty.By Jack
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