Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Original Source of my Libertarian Beliefs

My eldest son is reading Eichmann and the Holocaust by Hannah Urendt for his history class. Seeing the book brought back the first sickening memories I had, when introduced to the horrors of the those events as a teenager. Like many young people, I wanted the world's problems solved by a government that implemented solutions, so that we could get on with the historical march to utopia that was my birthright. Reading about the utter fear that the Nazis inflicted upon both the German and conquered peoples got me wondering about the roots of their evil. I read Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer about this time (along with Atlas Shrugged, a nice lengthy summertime read.) I saw that Hitler rose to power promising to solve the real problems facing Germany in the late 1920s and early 30s. But his "solutions" only resulted in the perpetration of hideous atrocities on people. It disturbed me because I realized that my grand ideas to solve the world's problems might result in horrible evil as well. I had no way of knowing in advance.

Simultaneously, I was introduced to Murray Rothbard and other libertarians, as well as Ayn Rand. I realized that the foundation of good government is in fact the vision that our founding fathers had for our government. It is essential that government be dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals than in solving any particular problem. All other political philosophies are dedicated to an end that is seen as greater than individual liberty. They all result in mass graves of innocent victims when the thugs take over from the philosophers to wield the power of the state.

People forget that national socialism, i.e. Nazism was a socialist philosophy, intending to harness the power of the state over the corporation to protect the working class and achieve national greatness. Sound familiar? Socialism and communism, were by contrast internationalist movements intending to harness the power of the state on behalf of the workers. However, no fewer innocent victims were slaughtered due to their internationalist beliefs. The philosophy of Al Qaeda, as much as their is one, is to subordinate any individual liberty to Islam. Indeed democracy is seen as an evil, because people could sin by voting against the party of Allah. This is also the philosophy behind the mullahs thinking in Iran. The resulting horror of innocent blood inevitably follows.

Our response to those who seek to expand the role of government into areas that infringe on personal freedom shouldn't be only to argue that it will not work. We should also argue that from a moral and constitutional perspective it is wrong to interfere with the rights of citizens to conduct their own affairs. The same impulse to control others that gives rise Nazi Germany is behind the desire to tell me what manner of health care plan I should be allowed to purchase. The disease of leftism remains the same, and needs to be combated in matters large and small.

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