We are all born as free and independent individuals. But coming to know and understand what that means has been quite the issue for mankind, to say the least.
Those who attempt to smear advocates of liberty, will often point out that to be free means that you can do whatever you want, to whomever you want, with no restrictions. This is a very amateurish argument, of course.
The truth is we are individuals (which necessarily means we are not omnipotent). Since we are not omnipotent, there are limits to our liberty, and those limits are the person, property and liberty of other individuals!
That’s why the ideas of Liberty rest on a solid foundation known as the “Non-aggression Principle.” It means exactly what it looks like it means. No one (that is no individual, or group of individuals) has the natural right to use aggressive force against any other individual.
When an individual uses aggressive force, he is acting against his nature, and has taken on the role of a tyrant. We’re all free to choose, which necessarily means, we’re free to choose to act like a tyrant.
But violence is only justified to ward off an aggressor — someone who chooses to use violence against you. Violence is justified to protect yourself from those individuals who choose to be tyrants.
A vast majority of people, when reading of such an ethic will agree with it. However, tyrants are crafty. They can twist words with tremendous skill to not only convince people that tyranny is necessary, but oftentimes people will even beg for it!
Take Socialism for example. It rests on the abolition of private property rights, which necessarily means an abolition of Liberty. Seems like a tall order right? Well, socialist propagandists make their utopias sound sugary sweet.
Socialism rests on the use of aggressive force; to take from one in order to give to another.
The 1900’s was mankind’s ‘Socialist Century’ and it led to what has been estimated to be 100 million deaths of innocents at the hands of their own governments … and that’s not counting deaths from wars!
One of the biggest, if not biggest, Socialist tyrants was Mao Zedong of China.
What ethic did Mao have?
Jung Chang writes in his book: Mao: The Unknown Story:
In the winter of 1917–18, still a student as he turned twenty-four, [Mao] wrote extensive commentaries on a book called A System of Ethics … In these notes, Mao expressed the central elements in his own character, which stayed consistent for the remaining six decades of his life and defined his rule.
Mao’s attitude to morality consisted of one core, the self, “I,” above everything else: “I do not agree with the view that to be moral, the motive of one’s action has to be benefiting others. Morality does not have to be defined in relation to others … People like me want to … satisfy our hearts to the full, and in doing so we automatically have the most valuable moral codes. Of course there are people and objects in the world, but they are all there only for me.”
Mao’s ethic was the exact one that is used to smear advocates of Liberty!
His ethic was “I” and nothing else mattered. There were no natural limits. The “I” of any other individual didn’t matter.
Yet, to repeat one more time, the ethic of Liberty and Freedom is explicitly defined by one’s relation to others.
Liberty is simple:
– First, do no harm.
– Live and Let Live.
– I’ll keep my hands off you and your stuff, and you keep your hands off me and my stuff.
– NO AGGRESSIVE FORCE
One cannot take unethical means and use them to create ethical ends.
Theft can never be virtuous.
The Socialist Century proved that in spades.