Friday, July 2, 2010

The Natural Libertarians

Perhaps some had read John Locke or John Stuart Mill back in college, but most of them might best be considered natural libertarians. They knew they couldn’t stand the idea of someone else owning them, someone else telling them what to do or how to think, of someone else bossing them around. They all felt competent to manage their own lives and deeply resented any attempt by other people, including the government, to manage their lives for them. Rightly or wrongly, natural libertarians are firmly convinced that no one else can know their best interests more than they do. They insist on remaining in charge of their own destinies and bristle whenever other people seem intent on taking charge of their lives. Because natural libertarians respect their own independence, they respect the independence of others. They do not aspire to control other people’s lives, but when other people aspire to control theirs, they will resist tooth and nail. The natural libertarian will behave this way not because of an ideology, but because of his or her distinctive attitude towards life.


The road from serfdom is far less frequently traveled than the road to serfdom. Forget the ideology by which human beings have been reduced to serfs through the ages, including our own. The ideology only creates a pretext for acquiring and retaining power. It attempts to legitimate the monopoly of power that is the ultimate objective of every ruling class throughout history. The powers that be always seek to convince, first themselves and then others, that they are the powers that should be. Their rule is providential, right, and necessary. They want to make the serfs think to themselves: How lucky we are to be the serfs of such excellent masters!

From The Spirit of Independence: The Social Psychology of Freedom

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