By Chris Rossini
It goes without saying, especially to fans of The Ron Paul Liberty Report, that we libertarians are involved in a contest of ideas. The outer world that we experience is a reflection of the inner ideas that dominate throughout society.
At the root of libertarianism lies the idea that no individual has the right to use aggressive force against another. No person (or group) is allowed to initiate force. A person can retaliate defensively, but the initiation of violence is criminal.
Many of today's libertarians have concluded, with gratitude to those who came before us, and who have thought this idea through, that the "non-aggression principle" is a morally sound and ideal goal that we should all shoot for. We have thousands of years of history to draw upon and they are filled with a long list of tyrannical rule. Aggression has been the norm, and the results are surely not hidden from view.
Liberty, which at its core is the idea of non-aggression, is a very new concept in mankind's history. Naturally, the push-back against new ideas should be expected to be very strong. After all, people have been subjected to living under violent rule for thousands of years. People don't like change, even change for the better if it involves the unknown.
America's very own Declaration of Independence points out that:
...experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
So spreading a new idea such as Liberty in a world accustomed to bondage is no small feat. That's why it requires lots of patience, and long term thinking. Great things don't happen overnight, but they do ultimately happen.
Fortunately, today's libertarians have a magnificent tool at their fingertips: The Internet. The great challenge that libertarians in years past had was in how to actually reach people. They adopted this great idea, now how do they let others know? Door-to-door? Snail-mail? Rent out a hall? It was very challenging.
Governments, on the other hand, have thrived on keeping people separated and secluded from different ways of thinking. That's how one group of people could be brainwashed into hating another group (of total strangers) that live on the other side of the Earth! When communication is cut off, or doesn't exist in the first place, tyranny crawls in like a snake.
But today we have our friends at our fingertips (on Facebook) and we have the ability to connect with an enormous number of non-friends (on Twitter). Now ideas can be shared at the speed of light! What a providential occurrence, and at just the right time. As governments continue to cast darkness across the Earth, a life jacket has landed in our laps.
Are you making the most of the Internet?
If you understand the non-aggression principle and understand that Liberty would give humans some breathing room, then consider yourself fortunate. Most people are content with their chains. While you're fortunate to understand, you also have a responsibility on your hands as well.
As the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises wrote:
Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping toward destruction. Therefore, everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interest of everyone hangs on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us.
The push-back against spreading the ideas of Liberty is immense, and it will remain so. That's just human nature. But the prize is truly worth the effort.
The ability to find people with open minds has never been easier. They're out there.