Liberty: Both Radical & Traditional
At times libertarian or classical liberal – or, in yet other words, pure laissez faire capitalist – ideas are dismissed as part of a misguided modernity that's lacking proper pedigree. But this is all wrong. Already back in circa 600 B.C.E. the Chinese sage Lao Tzu had weighed in with libertarian ideas, writing:
Why are people starving?
Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
Therefore the people are starving.
Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious....
And in ancient Greece, Xenophon records an exchange between Pericles and Alcibiades in which the latter dismisses all government edicts that are coercive as plainly unlawful. As he put it, "It would seem to follow that if a tyrant, without persuading the citizens, drives them by enactment to do certain things – that is lawlessness."
Of course, merely because a good idea has seen the light of day at some point in time doesn't mean it actually carried the day. Ideas of individual liberty did not begin to animate actual political affairs until rather late in the day, starting around the 11th Century A.D. A good example of some such ideas beginning to make an impact is the Magna Carta. And then, in time, came the American Founding Fathers, with the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. They managed, finally, to use the libertarian position, which they absorbed through their reading of history and philosophers such as John Locke, for practical, legal purposes. Why so late with the emergence of practical legal measures that support individual liberty?
One reason is that in much of human history what carried the day was unmitigated, unabashed physical coercion, the powerful and well armed running roughshod over the rest. Conquering thugs, armed to the teeth by monarchs and tribal chiefs, would not let up on their brutal subjugation of the population so they could extort from them their labor and whatever meager resources they had accumulated. There had been slave and peasant revolts but not until a substantial middle class emerged, with the capacity to create wealth, did those not in the ruling class manage to be able to mount a resistance to the rulers. And while some knew about the ideas that supported individualism and libertarianism, many were hoodwinked by stories of the divine rights of monarchs and the widely promulgated myth of class privilege.
In the modern era what stood in the way of the liberation of individuals, the overturning of class rule, is the idea that individualism had been invented to serve the economically lucky and powerful. This was a ruse, of course, perpetrated by the cheerleaders of modern rulers, the likes of Auguste Comte and Karl Marx, who had no patience for individual rights and liberation but believed in a collectivism that included the entire globe! They appealed to the myth of tribalism which they managed to sell to millions of people who, in turn, signed up for a unity of the workers but, of course, under the leadership – read: brutal rule – of the likes of Lenin and Stalin. Or they gave up their chance for freedom to national socialists or fascists like Hitler and Mussolini.
Even today the ideas and ideals of individual liberty fare badly because of the many excuses people use to keep others oppressed. The idea of class warfare that even American politicians deploy, for example, undercuts individualism. Ethnicity, racism, gender politics and the like are all obstacles to making headway for bona fide individualism, with its politics of everyone's equal unalienable natural rights as the foundation of the legal system, even as their proponents sometimes invoke individualist ideas to excuse the special political privileges they seek.
The Marxists dismissed individualism as an ideology that supposedly served the capitalist, thereby aiming to destroy the most efficient social engine of productivity, the one that unleashed the enormous energy of individual initiative and entrepreneurship. We are, sadly, still in the grips of the big lie that individualism is some kind of insidious ideology.
What's the remedy? Relentless, vigilant education in the history and philosophy of individualism and libertarianism. That's the greatest hope for human liberation.
Posted by Agent Weebley on 09/12/11 07:32 AM
Hi John Danforth,
I have you in my site. I have a preposition for you.
Click to view link
Posted by amanfromMars on 09/12/11 05:41 AM
"As it is, they probably don't care that a few of us know what's going on and can sidestep their grandiose plans. They can always send in a clean-up crew to round up stragglers after the main stampede has passed." ... .. Posted by John Danforth on 09/12/11 01:38 AM
Yes, that is probably how really stupid they are, that they think so few know and can do nothing, whenever the reality is that many know and they can now do practically anything, and whenever done virtually is the matter way beyond any input control from the really stupid.
They just haven't quite grasped hold of the fact that they do not have necessary networking intelligence to share with leading future smart players and thus are they condemned to be re-classified as expendable fodder and surplus to requirements.
As you say, John, it is said that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, and some of those dudes are real slow donkeys/myopic mules.
Posted by John Danforth on 09/12/11 01:38 AM
Well, yes, but it is said that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.
Those who make their billions by manipulating people have had a thousand more years' experience in making the horses think they are thirsty, and we are just getting started. As it is, they probably don't care that a few of us know what's going on and can sidestep their grandiose plans. They can always send in a clean-up crew to round up stragglers after the main stampede has passed.
Posted by amanfromMars on 09/12/11 12:55 AM
"The premise of this website is the fear-based dominant social theme. The brilliance of this premise is that this is the basic method by which numerically superior groups have been intellectually disarmed into accepting subjugation since the dawn of man." ... .. Posted by John Danforth on 09/10/11 11:25 AM
I had thought that we had moved on, and moved on more than quite considerably, for is not the premise of websites such as this one pumping out Daily Bell news, [and which can be both conflicted and can conflict with that thought by itself to be solid and traditional and irreplaceable, the Established Self Preservationist/Compromised Elitist/Rumbled Royalist/Current Status Quo, mainstream capitalistic promotional view,] that the brilliance of the basic premise is faded to destructive black because the perverse and corrupting methodology is now is fully known and being widely/universally shared, and is easily to be countered with novel and anonymous zeroday trades of information and/or intelligence which render fatuous and gratuitous fear promotions, rapidly self-defeating?
Are not such thoughts oft shared here for universal viewing and global comment?
Posted by John Danforth on 09/11/11 03:36 PM
I won't abuse the gracious generosity of our host here after this, but since you are looking for me I will say this:
1) I wish you well but am unable to assist.
2) I am permanently divorced from PayPal (no, they can't access my accounts).
3) I already paid the artists through the vehicles they voluntarily chose.
4) This man deserves a listen;
Click to view link
Click to view link
Click to view link
Hope you enjoy those.
No more off-topic stuff from me.
Posted by Agent Weebley on 09/11/11 12:08 AM
I've been looking all over the place for you. I hope you're still up.
We're having a chat starting . . . now. Bring the marshmallows . . .
Click to view link
Posted by provolone on 09/10/11 11:34 PM
The Tao Te Ching is constantly relevant. Please check the full text. http://Click to view link Here are some passages relevant to libertarian ideals:
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.
If you don't trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.
The Master doesn't talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, "Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!"
Do you want to improve the world?
I don't think it can be done.
The world is sacred.
It can't be improved.
If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it.
There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.
The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the center of the circle.
Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn't try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence, even well intentioned,
always rebounds upon oneself.
The Master does his job
and then stops.
He understands that the universe
is forever out of control,
and that trying to dominate events
goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself,
he doesn't try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself,
he doesn't need others' approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.
Posted by John Danforth on 09/10/11 05:33 PM
By 'bank of some kind' I suppose you mean paper money and fractional reserve banking?
Posted by John Danforth on 09/10/11 05:30 PM
Posted by Avatar on 09/10/11 04:45 PM
The bottom 50% of Americans hardly pay any income taxes at all.
Posted by Dave Jr on 09/10/11 02:54 PM
The basis of economics is archaic and sophomoric. Does modern society need banking to make it into something more? Why?
Posted by mdk4130 on 09/10/11 02:09 PM
For Dr. Machan's file I offer words of Heinrich Heine written on the eve of the revolutions of 1848 as classical words reflecting human oppression.
"In the darkness there can be heard a soft monotonous dripping.
It is the profits of the Capitalists continually trickling in continuously mounting up.
And on can hear too, in between, the soft low sobs of the destitute
and now and then a harsher sound, like a knife being sharpened."
Permit me to take the opportunity provided by this post to say the Daily Bell -- which I read with great pleasure on many issues --is a worry to me on two points. (1) Please do not look behind doors, there are no "Globalists" hiding to emasculate you and (2) its selected contributors' knowledge of economics is so archaic as to be sophomoric, especially on the meaning and use of money and modern society's need for a bank of some kind.
Reply from The Daily Bell
OK, you don't believe globalists exist, we do. We don't believe DB's knowledge of economics is sophomoric. We've written about the euro crash, Chinese problems, the difficulty of sustaining fiat money etc. Almost everything we've observed (far in advance) is now happening.
Posted by Dave Jr on 09/10/11 01:53 PM
How many people feel of a lack of self-esteem? You are right John, when you say that people have to make something of themselves to have true self-esteem. But I will add that self-esteem doesn't require all that much. It only requires one to be responsible for oneself. This promotes a feeling of self worth. Looking to the group for fulfillment, is to sell oneself short, and is to walk into the psychic trap of worthlessness, and a forfeiture of control.
The group is the sum of individuals. We, the individuals came first.
Posted by R on 09/10/11 12:10 PM
Uhhhh... ... Nothing more to add.
GREAT JOB JOHN!
Posted by John Danforth on 09/10/11 11:25 AM
The key is all down to what people will accept.
The premise of this website is the fear-based dominant social theme. The brilliance of this premise is that this is the basic method by which numerically superior groups have been intellectually disarmed into accepting subjugation since the dawn of man.
Whether through mysticism, collectivism, or simply fear and ignorance of how to fend for themselves without their leaders and the societal structures they grew up with, it is peoples' own though processes that hold them back, and often lead to their early demise.
The most basic goal of any fear-based meme is to destroy the self-esteem of the individual, then offer safety in the group.
The only person immune to these memes is the individual with true self-esteem. And that is scary to most people too, who have spent their entire lives seeking approval from the group that rules them. You have to make something of yourself to have true self-esteem, and you must have the strength of character to not care what the group thinks when you know you are right, not basing your self-worth on the approval of others until they themselves have earned that status.
It's much easier to go along with the group and get comfort from routine.
That probably explains why our earliest recorded history shows that a few knew the truth about libertarian ideals, yet even today only a few are aware of the same timeless truths. It takes a brave person to break the mold.
Posted by Dave Jr on 09/10/11 08:35 AM
I will answer the collecivist arguement by saying there is nothing superior about the individual. It is just a natural condition. It is the way we are born, and we flourish best as free associating individuals.
Collectivism is the attempt to tie individuals together or capture under a net or corral. It is for the purpose of control, but restricts movement. It restricts and eventually kills productivity.
Collectivism is born out of a sense of superiority and often needs violence to demonstrate it. The collectivist can not lead by example. His rules generally apply to others.
Posted by Merridth80 on 09/10/11 06:54 AM
"What;s the remedy?" "Education" Not the "State" sponsored Type!
Not the History we get in public schools, written as those in control would have it written!
I was nearly 40 when I discovered that history was incorrect, as written in books! Now that I am seventy+, I am still learning that our "Constitution was for the monied, to protect and retain their wealth! But I have also learned that there are protections for the rest of us, who have worked all our lives and,yes at seventy+ are still working!
I am a Libertarian, and hope to help elect Ron Paul, not because he is a Liberterian, simply because he has the best plan for the future of America!