Valentine’s Day, Love and Liberty – Freedom Philosophy

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The empirical philosophers and lovers (happy Valentine’s day) of science tell me to begin each thought with an observable fact. I’ll begin with the triumph of capitalism – not over communism but over evil itself in the form of poverty. That poverty is currently being annihilated is something the left won’t celebrate, which is exceedingly puzzling to me.

Half of the world’s population, 52%, lived in abstract poverty when I was born, in the 80’s. In 2010 that number was reduced to 26% – poverty was cut in half in one generation, which was a global triumph.
That it was halved in areas where economic freedom took hold should alert us to the triumph of liberty. In 2015, 15% of the world’s population lived in poverty, and by 2017 only 10% of the world’s population lived in poverty.

We are annihilating poverty.

The starting point is that the greatest form of charity is liberty. Love is liberty. In the absence of liberty there is no such thing as love. The obverse is just as true, liberty for those who receive no love is hardly a desirous state of affairs.

Liberty in the absence of love is directionless, and love in the absence of liberty is empty.

In our long history humanity has faced many trials, and this has cultivated a mind built for resilience. But in the study of psychology there are four necessary mental characteristics for positive psychology – autonomy, accomplishment, acceptance, and altruism; or freedom, the feeling of success, positive relationships, and charity.

These are a much healthier cast of mind than their opposite. A person that does not feel free, that feels like a failure, that is selfish, and feels rejected, does not possess a healthy psychology.

Socialism erodes each of these but I wish to focus on autonomy and altruism, on liberty and love.

The New York Times article, penned over a decade ago, “Bleeding Heart Tightwads” tells the whole story.
Study after study has well-established that people on the left are not charitable. They have abandoned charity and allowed the state to take over that aspect of their humanity.

The political philosophy that diminishes our liberty likewise diminishes our charity and I wish to submit that this is hardly surprising.

When liberty increases, so too does charity.
When liberty decreases, so too does our charity.
This is emptying ourselves of our humanity. The individual becomes psychologically weakened under socialism and psychologically strengthened under liberty.

The interplay between respecting an individual isn’t a huge leap from loving them. Recognizing liberty isn’t psychologically differentiated from an act of love. That those who respect others are the most likely to also love them isn’t a shocking state of affairs.

This is the fundamental thesis of my present essay – the left isn’t celebrating the eradication of poverty because this isn’t a cause of celebration for them. Their movement has little to support its continuance.

Their movement isn’t one of love it’s one of homogeneity, one of control, one of emptying others of their humanity.

Ours is a movement most appropriate for Valentine’s Day – it’s a movement of charity – a movement that brings people together by (paradoxically) respecting their freedom.

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Brandon Kirby

Brandon Kirby has a philosophy degree with the University of New Brunswick. He works for a Cayman Island hedge fund service firm, owns a real estate company, and has been in the financial industry since 2004. He is the director of Being Libertarian - Canada. He is a member of the People’s Party of Canada and the Libertarian Party of Canada.