Freedom, in its absolute, is the ability to self govern, to own yourself and not be subject to external coercion. We can never be truly free in this world, as long as there are nation states and the like. But, we can strive to be free, relatively.
The first step to be free is to have a free mindset. To understand that government is coercion, that they can take your money, land, throw you in a cage, and even kill you; but, they can never truly take away your free mind. As long as you can have free thoughts, you can be relatively free. But of course, that is not enough. We can to be free in the absolute sense! Well, until the nation state system fails or just becomes obsolete, we have to make due with what we have and try to live the freest existence possible.
Your mind is a very powerful thing. Having a positive mindset seems to manifest and positive things occur to you, and vice versa. Being a libertarian can be a very depressing ordeal; whether you are a minarchist, anarchist, or anything in between. You are a minority, a black sheep, always having a different opinion on matters than most of your friends whom usually subscribe to one of the two major cliques of statism. I remember when I became a libertarian in college. Before, I thought the government could make everything right in the world and it was a benevolent leviathan. Smiling and throwing out candy, making the impossible possible. Then I took economics classes. Bam! That ended.
I realized that government was root cause of most grief in the world. That, whether it had benevolent intentions or not, it genuinely ruined the human spirit. It distorted markets, leaving shortages and artificial prices. It started and continued an endless drug war that did anything but end drug usage but rather caused non-violent people to lose their lives, whether in a cage or all together with death. It started wars that were unjust and frankly started on false pretenses, killing millions upon millions, leaving millions homeless, physically and mentally mangled. And the list goes on, endless really.
Should I go back to drinking the kool-aid and be happy? Should I ignore that government broke my leg before they gave me the crutch? Ignorance is bliss, no? But I couldn’t. I kept going down the rabbit hole.
So how do you get over the initial libertarian depression? You have to be a humanitarian! You need to believe in humanity and technology and all that is great that comes from them. It is really easy to fall into that trap with all the doom and gloom being shouted everywhere, but you must look past that and look at the positive, beyond the sensationalism we are fed, and how that problem can be solved.
Though humanity has caused and perpetuated the nation state and many terrible things, we are capable of so many more beautiful and great things. Just as with humanity, technology can be used in many bad ways that government tries to harness; but, it can and is used for so many more beautiful and great things. It allows for us to always stay a step ahead of government. And that is a great thing! You need to believe in the future. Believe that the nation state will be made obsolete by technology (hello bitcoin, the blockchain, etc).
Love the market. Just think about how resilient the market is. How it shapes and molds itself to continue innovating and providing even with the government’s continued intervention. You can get a double cheeseburger at McDonald’s for essentially $1. Think about that, especially with our devalued money. $1 buys you 440 calories, 25 grams of protein, 22 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of dietary fiber. Now, I am not advocating that you survive on just McDonald’s cheeseburgers, but I think it’s amazing that it can still be offered at that price point. Think about the production of the cheeseburger. It doesn’t just magically appear, there is a huge process for each ingredient let alone the end result of all the ingredients.
There are many market miracles that help us fight the devaluation of our money. Technology continues to evolve at the speed of light and the prices continue to fall. Look at the smartphone. Just about everyone has one and either barely pays anything for them or doesn’t pay anything at all. About 30 years ago cell phones started to hit the market and cost roughly $4000. That’s in 1984 dollars, today that’s equivalent to roughly $9000. All that cell phones did were made and receive phone calls. It looked like a brick, no screen, etc etc. Fast forward to today. We have hundreds of smartphones, all price ranges, and all sorts of features. The top smartphone, an Apple iPhone 6s, will cost you $750 without a contract, a fraction of the Motorola DynaTAC brick. Plus, the iPhone can shoot in 4k video, take super nice photos, search the interwebs through voice commands, allow you to play thousands of free games, watch videos, video chat, stay connect with friends and family via social media, and the list goes on. The smartphone is about 10 devices all in one and super cheap. YAY the market!
I always find it amazing while I watch Anthony Bourdain visit some remote tribe that most of these third world people have cell phones, use social media, etc. What a world we live in! These people do not have running water but are using cell phones. They still hunt and gather but have a cell phone. The stories of third world children hacking tablets that were given to them, amazing! Hearing about bitcoin microfinancing in Africa, awesome!
And not just in third world countries, but countries with overtly oppressive government. Technology allows them to broadcast what is happening in real time, to communicate with one another instantly, to open individuals to the idea of freedom and that they have a choice.
So be positive. Life is good and it will only get better. The human spirit powers the market and technology and will continue to innovate and solve the world’s problems, all of which the government naturally fails at. Government will never catch technology’s advances, it will never be as nimble and efficient as the market. Plus, being a Debbie Downer is not good for the freedom movement. We are not going to attract many people with doom and gloom.