The Essence of Liberty

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Previously, we discussed the government’s monopoly on the use of coercive violence and the difference between our interactions with government and our interactions with other people and institutions in the society.

Now let’s take a look at the essence of liberty.

(Don’t tell my wife, but is this lady hot or what?)

The essence of liberty is to maximize voluntary interactions within the society and minimize those interactions which involve compulsion (i.e., government).

To achieve this, we should begin by asking a few simple questions before calling on government to undertake any task.  If government involvement is appropriate:

  1. How can it be accomplished with the minimum intrusion on our liberties?
  2. Is it necessary to involve the Federal Government or can an acceptable result be achieved via state and local governments?

That last item is very important.  Government action at the local or state level has two significant advantages over actions taken by the Federal Government:

  1. The individual has greater input with these smaller units of government than he has in Washington, DC.
  2. The individual can move to a different locale if he strongly disagrees with a particular policy.  It is a much greater affront to liberty if the individual must leave the country in order to escape a distasteful policy.

(this essay was first published 3/1/2010)

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