Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Five effective ways to advance the cause of liberty

1. Entrepreneurship, which is the fullest expression of liberty, is based on shrewdness, ingenuity, and tactical perspicacity. Political power, which is the diametric opposite of liberty, is ponderous, anachronistic, and perpetually behind the curve. Hence, a great window of opportunity to prove themselves opens up for all those who possess entrepreneurial talent – especially if it is coupled with technological talent – a window of opportunity to create solutions that allow for circumventing political power’s sphere of influence, and thus for undermining the belief in its indispensability. This is precisely how Bitcoin slowly sterilizes the power of central banks, the Internet erodes political control over the flow of information and the enforceability of “intellectual property rights”, and arbitration agencies reduce the role of legislation. In addition, the emergence of such solutions offers a clear illustration of the fact that effective entrepreneurship not only does not need political protection, but actually thrives to the extent that it is free from its influence.

2. One should use every possible opportunity to promote sound economic knowledge, which describes the process whereby individuals and their voluntary associations build their well-being on the basis of free exchange of goods and services in an environment of respect for property rights, unhampered competition, and spontaneously emerging price system. In other words, there is never too much of Bastiat and Hazlitt, be it among family members, friends, or colleagues. The more widespread this knowledge gets, and the more obvious its message becomes, the greater will be the social pressure to regain ever more areas of freedom of action understood as a precondition of personal well-being.

3. It is worthwhile to use every possible opportunity to promote the feeling of self-reliance, self-governance, and entrepreneurial initiative at the most local level possible. The goal of this activity is to bring about the greatest possible fragmentation and decentralization of all kinds of political structures, which is likely to lead to much greater economic integration of the territories under their control. This is a logical conclusion stemming from the fact that the smaller a given political organism is, the less capable it is of draining the vital forces of the local economy and hampering its spontaneous development, and the less resources it can devote to that purpose. In the most optimistic case, the ultimate culmination of such a decentralization process would be the emergence of a genuinely free and genuinely global economy composed of hundreds of thousands or even millions of independent economic zones, neighborhood associations, charter cities, and other forms of contractual, propertarian arrangements integrated through free trade and the global division of labor.

4. It is worthwhile to build in our social circles the most cosmopolitan atmosphere possible, an atmosphere that underscores the moral irrelevance of all affiliations that are not the result of a voluntary choice (including, for instance, ethnic affiliations), the moral universality of the principles of peaceful human coexistence, and the economic benefits stemming from it. It is important to bear in mind that in all likelihood it is precisely the instinctive attribution of moral meaning to ethnic affiliations that is the main driving force of oppressive political entities known as nation-states, together will all the armed conflicts that take place between them. Relegating all sentiments associated with such affiliations to purely aesthetic categories would be a very significant step on the road to initiating the decentralization processes described in the previous point, together with all their positive consequences.

5. Finally, as time and opportunities permit, it is worthwhile to engage in all kinds of charitable and philanthropic activities, especially if one can make one’s efforts in this context truly effective thanks to one’s entrepreneurial talent. The existence of such enterprises is always a clear sign for the broader community that effective help for the needy has its origin not in the will of “political authorities”, but in the grassroots efforts of free individuals and their voluntary associations, whose philanthropic initiative does not die even when the bulk of their resources is confiscated by the “authorities” in question. In other words, it is a signal showing that a consistent diminution of the influence of political power not only increases the scope of freedom of action, but also the scope of the most morally beneficial, natural consequence of this freedom, which is authentic charity.

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