The Benefits of Restoring Individual Liberties


Our liberties are the most important, but often the most easily forgotten ideal of society. It is forgotten in the sense that society at large does not recognize the value that personal liberty and self-determination have in contributing to a more peaceful and prosperous world. This has not been helped by many of the politicians and other public figures of this country who constantly assert that some individuals have a right to the wealth and services of others. This has given rise to a culture of identity politics, which has been so detrimental to a free society. In a truly free society, there are only individual rights – and the rights of one individual end where those of another begin. In the remainder of this article, I will attempt to explain how individual liberty is beneficial to both society at large and to each of its members.

First, one must examine what a society would look like if it were to embrace individual liberty – the idea that people have a right to their life, their property, and the ability make their own choices. In such a society, all forms of taxation would be completely voluntary – not through coercion and violence. As a result of this, the enormous federal government that we have today would most likely cease to exist. Instead, the federal government would become “so small, you can barely see it,” to quote a certain senator from Kentucky. In such a scenario, the only government capable of forming that has a real impact on the everyday lives of citizens would be at the local level. At this level, constituents can more easily hold lawmakers and law enforcers accountable, which empowers individuals to be heard and cause real political change.

The absence of a large national government and the weakening of any existing state and local governments would mean that many regulations such as licensing requirements and contrived minimum wages would be either nonexistent or unenforceable. As a result, businesses would flourish and the amount of unemployed workers would decrease. In today’s America, it is illegal for an individual to seek employment for a wage less than $7.25 per hour. Without this artificial limit, it would become more economical for companies to employ people in jobs that are made obsolete by automation and other technological advances. Even the most unskilled of people would be able to find employment.

On a national scale, bailouts, or rewarding companies for bad business practices, would never happen. The practice of choosing winners and losers through the awarding government contracts would no longer take place. In a truly free market, businesses would become successful by offering an appealing product for consumers to purchase, not by hiring lobbyists to influence career politicians in Washington D.C.

Furthermore, the global economy would also improve as a result of a having a liberated populace. Today, the federal government imposes sanctions on a host of nations around the world, which restricts companies and individuals in the United States from accessing a potential market of millions of consumers. Through diplomacy, trade, and cooperation, and not coercion and war, the world will become a more peaceful and prosperous place.

Unsurprisingly, the benefits of enshrining individual liberty are not limited to those economical in nature. Some of the pertinent social issues that are discussed today are marriage equality and NSA surveillance. Although some people like to separate foreign policy into its own category, I would argue that war is a very important social issue as well.

The issue of marriage equality is a perfect example of how government interference can lead to completely unnecessary conflict among groups of people that would otherwise rarely come into contact with each other. One of the most important aspects of individual liberty is the freedom of association. When a government receives taxes from its constituents and uses this tax money to officially recognize marriages, individuals who disagree with same-sex marriage see themselves as becoming associated with it merely by paying taxes. The solution here is get government out of marriage completely, and much of the conflict will subside.

Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know about another example of extreme government overreach in the NSA PRISM program that collects internet and telephone communications of all Americans. While the government attempts to justify this breach of privacy without due process by claiming it protects the American people. There is absolutely no evidence that this is the case. Not a single terrorist attack has been thwarted due to intelligence gathered from PRISM. Americans are only endangered by the collection of this data, as the potential for its abuse is high. Moreover, a program such a PRISM is a useful tool for facilitating the installation and continued existence of a totalitarian government in which civil liberties are strictly limited.

Foreign policy is one of the most important issues for liberty-minded individuals to be focused on. The failed policies of each of the administrations after the Second World War have resulted in the deaths of millions and the waste trillions of taxpayer dollars. While everyone would agree that war should be a last resort, (with the possible exception of John McCain,) the United States has been continuously involved in conflicts overseas for over 15 years now. In my opinion, there is nothing more anti-liberty than the frivolousness with which we as a country bomb and invade other nations around the world. Not only does it cost the lives of countless civilians and infringe on the liberties of the troops who are being put in harm’s way without ample justification, but it incites hatred and resentment towards the United States which manifests in the form of reprisal attacks.

It still remains within the power of the federal government to reinstate the draft, which effectively enslaves all those eligible to the whims of the government. While the last time the draft was used to conscript soldiers was during the Vietnam War, it remains worrisome that this power remains with the government while politicians continue to push for conflict with Syria, Iran, and Russia.

For me, freedom is not just some ancient ideal that is completely lost in these modern times and can only be pontificated about on internet message boards. I believe that restoring individual liberties is something that is truly attainable in the long term, and there are actual methods for incrementally reaching that goal. Electing more liberty-minded people to public office would be immensely helpful. But even if you do nothing more than attempt to convince your statist friends of the benefits of small government and individual sovereignty, know that even those seemingly insignificant conversations could really mean something when it comes to attaining a more free and prosperous society.

* Ali Vazirabad is an engineering student from Wisconsin who has been interested in liberty ever since Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign.

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