Why Liberty Matters: A Perspective

Copyright Alastair O’Carroll Johnson

It is an inherent truth in the modern United States that our nation stands divided once again, especially regarding our liberty. In the earliest days of our country we were divided on the subject of how much power we believed the government should be granted, and allowed to exercise. Those were the days of the 1780s, when we were fresh from winning a revolution against, what was then, the most powerful empire on the face of the planet. It seems only fitting that, two hundred and some years later, we should still be divided on this very argument.

I first found my way to the Libertarian movement in the latter half of the 2016 presidential election, when it became so very clear that there was not a single candidate amongst the Democrat and Republican parties, who had the best interest of (or the preservation of the freedoms of) this nation at heart.

I would often tell my friends and family “Well, let’s review our choices: we’ve got a ten billion dollar egotistical (expletive) who wants to build a wall. He looks like the Zodiac Killer and will probably set women’s rights back further than any other candidate on the ticket. And on the other side, we have a globalist crony who may or may not have more blood on her hands than the Italian Mafia, and she is an old Socialist.”

While it is true that these comments were primarily made in an ironic and humorously sarcastic manner, there was an underlying reservation of meaning behind my words. It was clear to me that, although I was being funny, what I was saying wasn’t wrong, and our country was in trouble because of it.

It is now 2017, and I am proud to say who I voted for. I am proud to say that I am a revolutionary who is looking to advance our nation into the ever forgiving arms of liberty, until the day that our species perishes from this Earth.

But, it has become quite apparent to me that my preaching the Libertarian agenda and constantly sharing memes on the internet enough. It is time to truly put forth what I know is the right course for this nation, and therefore, I intend to start by writing this.

Patrick Henry once said, quite famously, “I know not what course others may take. But as for me; give me liberty, or give me death.”

I am hopeful that, perhaps, this article might remind what few readers this humble author might attract why freedom and liberty matter.

Freedom from tyranny is a basic concept that practically all human beings seek. What do I mean by freedom from tyranny? Perhaps the most common way many Americans might describe true freedom, is by referring to our unalienable rights as listed in the Declaration of Independence. Among those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is within these words that the very concepts of freedom can be interpreted, and they can be presented in many different ways; however, true freedom, at its core, is whatever we choose to pursue in life.

The citizens of the United States of America tend to describe freedom very differently depending on who they are, where they live, how they were raised, and what they like to do. In the modern political world, perhaps, the quintessential examples of freedom that our people seek are the freedom to love who we choose, or the freedom to own whatever weapons we choose.

For others, it’s the freedom to smoke what we choose and to put whatever we choose in our bodies.

For so many across this nation, freedom is the pursuit of peace in their own lives, without disruption or interference from hostile or oppressive forces. In freedom, peace is chaos and chaos is peace.

I find it difficult to speak of other’s concepts of freedom without misinterpretation or misrepresentation; therefore, I will speak of my own concepts of freedom.

For me, it means the freedom to own however many weapons I choose without interference from the government. It means the freedom to augment myself, with the only restriction being my own personal limits (when such technologies are available). It’s the freedom to earn a paycheck without government theft – and most importantly, the freedom to live my life as I see fit.

It is here however, that I must discuss one of the more popular memes amongst Libertarians in the United States; it is the phrase, “taxation is theft.”

Why do we, as Libertarians, often repeat this synonymous, and often hilarious, phrase? The explanation is both quite simple, and not so simple. A common argument used by many libertarians revolves around how tax dollars are actually appropriated and utilized by our government. Across the nation, both democrats and republicans complain about their tax dollars being continuously used to fund things that both sides disagree with. The most common examples of this include the funding of Planned Parenthood and the funding of the military, which republicans and democrats despise, respectively. But beyond these basic examples, a laundry list of legal abuses is unveiled when the government is more closely examined.

We Libertarians simply believe in the idea that taxation is, like the government itself, only necessary because the government says it is. Some Libertarians make the argument that social programs, and many aspects of the federal government, can be fulfilled by the private sector. Others, including myself, simply believe that the returning of the wealth to the people renders much of the government and these programs irrelevant because neither would be entirely needed.

An argument I commonly use, is the egregious fact that members of Congress continue to lie to the public, claiming that these ever expanding social welfare programs are “necessary for the preservation of our society.”

This is a blatant and utter falsehood. We pay trillions of dollars into social security every single year (enough to repay most of the massive debt that we owe to the People’s Republic of China), and yet, our elderly are handed measly scraps in the form of their social security checks every month. Why? Because the members of Congress use social security, and other social welfare programs as cash cow piggy banks to line their own pockets.

In summary, the theft of the people’s money is continuous, it’s considered legal (so long as the government does it), and it’s a direct attack on the freedoms of Americans.

This is just one of many examples of the tyranny that is continuously practiced by the government, and sold to the people as “freedom.”
They tell us that taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society, and that we must make sacrifices for the good of the country. The notion of liberty in general rejects this falsehood for what it is: propaganda. If we are to truly preserve the ideals of freedom and the potential for freedom to grow in size and scale, as was intended by those who devised our nation, then we must push for freedom to become prevalent throughout the nation on all levels, and not just on the ones we agree with.

Freedom is a difficult word, and a difficult thing.

To understand and promote the aspects of freedom, in the truest sense of the concept, is to believe in the basic freedoms of all people; and the concept that all people are entitled to all freedoms – not just the ones we deem necessary. If only this concept were taught across the world, then perhaps we would see an enlightened and glorious society. Until that day comes, men and women like me will continue to believe in these freedoms and promote them, we ask for all Americans to join us in this endeavor. It is only the privileged oppressors who wish to silence the voices of freedom within our nation, and those oppressors can only be destroyed by the institution and preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

* Alastair O’Carroll Johnson is an active libertarian within his community. He resides in Northern Virginia, and is currently obtaining a bachelor’s in government & international politics.

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  1. As someone particularly interested in fiscal solvency, I would love to get more data as to how SS, Medicare, and Medicaid are constantly adding to our debt, even though in theory money we pay in should be paid back out in terms of reimbursements to the taxpayer or service providers. Is it all lost to overhead, or can we trace specific examples of how the federal government misappropriates these funds for programs outside of the non-discretionary spectrum? How can we account for this? And more importantly, can’t we present this problem to both sides as something that requires priority, rather than quibbling over discretionary spending? After all, even if you reduce discretionary spending to zero, you would still have deficits and incremental increases to debt.

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