We face many challenges in moving towards a more libertarian society. We can certainly move in that in direction, and despite the advances of the state over the years, there is a lot to be optimistic about. There are more libertarians today than there have been in a long time, or maybe ever.
Still, while we don’t need a majority to make significant changes, we do need a substantial minority. This can only be done through outreach and education, which is easier today with modern technology.
There are specific things in which people need to change their world view. Here is my list of 10 things that a far greater percentage of Americans need to understand if we are going to achieve something even close to a libertarian society.
- The U.S. is an empire. While most people are aware that the U.S. government is heavily involved in disputes around the world, many simply do not understand the depth and history of the American empire. The U.S. government has been secretly (or not so secretly) overthrowing presidents, dictators, and leaders all over the world for many decades.
- The U.S. government has killed millions of people, either directly or indirectly. The war in Iraq since 2003 has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, or perhaps over a million. The U.S. government is continually making “mistakes” in bombing hospitals, wedding parties, funerals, and people’s houses. These are mostly innocent people dying, who never had a trial. And people wonder why some of these people turn to terrorism after their family and friends gets blown up.
- Public education is welfare. Some middle class Americans will criticize people on welfare or spending food stamps at the grocery store. But government schools are just as much welfare. It is welfare for all classes. This isn’t a criticism of you if you send your children to a government school. But it is important to recognize that government schools are welfare. Food is more of a necessity than schooling, so if anything should be cut first, it should be the government schools.
- Freedom of association is necessary for liberty. This is also an issue of property rights. If a baker wants to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple’s wedding, that should be the baker’s choice, just as it is the choice of the gay couple to choose any baker willing to transact with them. This isn’t an issue of religious freedom. It is an issue of property rights. Whether or not you think it is in good taste, the baker should have the right in a free society to voluntarily transact or not transact with anyone of his choice. He should not suffer any consequences in terms of government force. He can suffer the consequences of people refusing to do business with him.
- Medicare and Social Security are welfare. Again, this isn’t a criticism of people collecting Medicare and Social Security. But they should be considered welfare.
- Spending does not drive the economy. There is nothing wrong with consumer spending, but we must not confuse cause and effect. We can only spend money on things that have first been produced. Production takes savings and capital investment. Spending is a result of production. In the same context, consumer demand does not drive the economy. There is always consumer demand. People can demand all they want, but they can only get what is actually produced.
- Price deflation is not bad. Since there was deflation during the Great Depression, there is this widespread myth that deflation is bad for an economy. But the deflation of the Great Depression was a result of the prior monetary inflation and the reversal of the fractional reserve lending process, as banks went under. In a system of free market money, where the money supply is likely relatively stable, we should expect gradual price deflation. Your money gradually gains purchasing power. This is positive for living standards.
- We don’t need the government to legislate morality. Many people falsely believe that others would act immorally if not for the government’s laws. For example, they think if there were no drug laws, everyone would be walking around high on drugs. They think if there were no laws against prostitution, then everywhere you go would look like a brothel. Of course, if you ask someone if they would engage in such behavior if the laws didn’t exist, they would deny doing any of it, but that we need the laws for everyone else.
- There is a deep state. In other words, one person is not running the show. The president is not really that powerful. There is an establishment. It is not a Democrat or Republican thing. While party leaders will bicker in public, there is strong agreement within the overall establishment. One person inside the system is virtually powerless. The John F. Kennedy assassination established this fact. The only way to change the corrupt system is to change public opinion. There has to be strong support for a major downsizing of the state at all levels.
- The central bank helps enable big government. While state and local governments are extremely bloated and corrupt, the damage they do tends to be less than the federal government. The federal government has the Federal Reserve, which enables it to do far greater damage in manipulating the money supply and interest rates, bailing out corporations, and most importantly, funding the deficits. Congress would not be able to continually run huge deficits every year without the help of the Federal Reserve.
This is not a full list, but these are the issues that I view as most important in changing minds. I did not include guns on this list. Although it is an important issue, the American populace, at least in general, actually has a somewhat favorable view on the issue in favor of liberty.
We will probably never achieve a fully libertarian society, but one can still hope. But if a majority of people learn these 10 things, then we will be a lot closer to a libertarian society.