A about two years ago, during 7th grade, I would get incredibly bored in class (believe it or not). Whenever I could find time, I would get on my little school-issued laptop and write my opinions on politics and philosophy in Google Docs. The following was a document, which I believe I was actually going to use as a speech for class, about the issue of libertarianism as opposed to authoritarianism.
The question of whether individual liberty should prevail over security – or vice versa — has often been what most political arguments boil down to. Liberty being the individual’s personal freedoms, and security being the safety provided to the individual by the government.
While the media would like to divide us up by having us believe that we are either a liberal or a conservative, from the left or the right of the political spectrum, to reach an intelligent level of thinking you must break free from the spectrum, and think for yourself.
Both far ends of the spectrum, communism from the left and fascism from the right, are examples of far out totalitarian dictatorship. This indicates that the spectrum is an authoritarian tool with neither side allowing for liberty, and the center is only a mix of the two, each side diluting the other.
Therefore the center, which is the part the United States resides in, though the mildest part, isn’t the best way to live. Better than bad doesn’t make it good. While the Democrats and Republicans try to get you to support the lesser of two evils, they don’t tell you that there are other ways of thinking.
The mainstream liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are authoritarians. They feel the powers that be have some divine right to command the rest of us. They say the authorities will use the police and military to punish us if we do not comply, so they don’t question them. But what happens when the officers and soldiers themselves wake up to the tyranny of their rulers?
These authoritarians are the same kinds of people who made monarchies possible. Once those became obsolete, they moved on to democracies, corrupting them to mold them as they see fit. They condition the public to unconditionally listen to authority or be punished, and not question why they have such disproportionate and unreasonable power. The authoritarians are against the liberty of the people and in favor of the gradual extremization of the United States into totalitarian police-state dictatorship, whether they choose to admit it or not.
They have shown their true colors when they passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which grants the government the ability to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens in the U.S., without even acknowledging why they disappeared. This is a prime example of what an extreme authoritarian would think is ideal. The people are safe and secure in a high security prison, protected from terrorists and outside invaders, but completely stripped of most basic human rights and under the control of the authorities.
That is really all they want: control. The more powerful a government gets, the more privilege the highest seat in that government gains, the more tempting it is for a power crazed lunatic to seek that position. People like this have infected the ruling classes of societies over the centuries and millennia, seeing that they could bend a kingdom or an empire to their will. They impose laws building their power, and, to keep the public happy or at least oblivious to the true causes of these changes, they display them under the guise of “security”.
Libertarians, on the other hand, are people who, as the name might imply, prioritize liberty over security. They would rather be minding their own business out in the world, fending for themselves against criminals and the like if need be, but with all their natural freedoms, constitutional and otherwise, intact. Subject to no king, emperor, or ruler disguised as a protector. And, I don’t know about you, but I agree with them.
There is a reason these people aren’t prominent in our government. Not many people have the combination of both the political skill and the Libertarian belief to run for office, the latter being rare because, as children, we are systematically conditioned to believe that the people in power are at all times right, never to be questioned, and always to be obeyed. Sound familiar? It’s called school. But, that’s a topic for another day.
Going back to the question of liberty or security, to help you decide whether you lean towards the libertarians or authoritarians, I will describe the extremes of each sides.
An idealistic authoritarian system is one of strict government intervention and regulation, each citizen imprisoned in a high security detention camp, no privacy, free speech, right to bear arms, etc., but defense against outside threat.
However, if there were no laws, nobody to prosecute even the most basic crimes, no structure of authority whatsoever, the people would have absolute freedom, but no protection from criminals or foreign invaders, since the lack of government result in no central military strength.
Chances are, unless you are a full blown anarchist or fascist, neither of these situations sound good to you. We need to find a place in the middle, but with more of a liberty based system than the one we have now.
Imagine a land with no central government, but a federation of communities, each with their own system and laws, unique and based upon that community’s way of living. These communities could unite as a nation during a time of war to defend their national and individual sovereignty. There would be a few nationally accepted laws prohibiting one community from forcibly imposing their system on their neighbors, or oppressing their population. And these laws would be enforced by the local militia or the surrounding militias.
My thinking has changed a little bit over the year and a half since I wrote this (sometime in late 2014/early 2015. The file was transferred from my school computer to my personal Google Drive account on May 14, 2015).
Firstly, I must not have noticed the hypocrisy of denouncing the use of a left-right spectrum, yet just a few paragraphs later doing the exact same thing but with an up-down, so to speak, spectrum of authoritarianism and libertarianism. I pointed out that, when using a left-right spectrum, on both far ends await communism and fascism, two evil dictatorial ideologies, and therefore the spectrum itself cannot be an accurate or moral measurement of political belief. However, later in the article, I suggested we find a “place in the middle” between the extremes of outright totalitarianism and “full-blown” anarchism on the authoritarian-libertarian spectrum. Wouldn’t the logic earlier used serve to discredit the use of the up-down spectrum, as since the extreme ends of the spectrum include two bad systems, the middle would just be a mix between the two, and not an independent or moral way of thinking?
Today I believe that most if not all political thought can be mapped on a political compass (see my results for politicalcompass.org), a sort of combination of the two spectra. Perhaps I’m just blind to my lack of logic this time around as well, but I don’t find this to be hypocritical, as I, despite what politicalcompass.org says, would consider myself a part of the “extreme” bottom right.
My thoughts on anarchism have evolved, and I am now an anarchist. As for whether criminals would face consequences, for which I expressed concern in the document, though I won’t get into it here, they will in many ways (see this video for an idea of how crimes could be punished in a stateless society).
That’s about all I have to criticize about it. Leave a comment if you have any disagreement with either my past or present opinions.