Prospects For Freedom

Guest Editorial by Reginald Firehammer - The Autonomist

In a previous essay of mine - Shoot The Bastards? - I described six of the many movements, views, and philosophies that have individual freedom as at least one of their common objectives. The methods promoted by various freedom fighters to establish freedom range from what I call the evangelical or persuasion method (propagandizing, advertising, education) to political activism, including civil disobedience. While no group is advocating, at this time, open armed rebellion, there is at least one group that definitely includes that as an option, when the "time is right."

That any of these methods is actually going to be effective seems extremely questionable, and frequently doubted, I think, even by those who are promoting them. How many Libertarians really believe their political campaigns and propaganda are truly going to reverse the growth and power of government, its repression, and tyranny?

But It Might Work?

The freedom movement in all its permutations is not a new thing. Ever since the Whiskey rebellion, there have been advocates for less centralization of government and more individual liberty. While federalization has steadily grown and government has become ever more repressive, there has never been a shortage of individuals attempting, in one way or another, to stem the flow of government power and fight for individual freedom. The list of freedom warriors is almost endless - these names immediately come to mind: Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Henry David Thoreau, Lysander Spooner, Rose Wilder Lane, Albert Jay Nock, Isabel Paterson, Ayn Rand, H.L. Mencken, Milton and Rose Friedman, ..., but list is almost endless.

The reasons why the battle for freedom has not been more successful are many, and even though the loss of freedom has been a continuous one, like a slow insidious leak, it would no doubt have been much worse if not for that army of warriors fighting for freedom. Nevertheless, the impression the war is a hopeless one is difficult to dismiss and the view that, in spite of our best efforts, government will continue to grow and the loss of freedom will continue to accelerate, is very convincing.

So why do we keep fighting? Partly because those who know what freedom is and desire it above all things just must, "do something." It is not in the nature of those who love freedom to surrender without a fight. For the living, and only the free are truly alive in the human sense, there is always hope. We continue to fight, in whatever way we believe is the right way, because, "it just might work."

And it might. The Autonomist is convinced most people do not really know what freedom is, and even if they did, they would not want it. They do not want to be completely responsible for themselves, they want security and safety, even at the cost of personal liberty. In the past, the cost in individual freedom seemed a small price to pay for the supposed security and safety the government promised.

But that is changing. As the restrictions on individual liberty become more oppressive and affect more people in their own personal lives and businesses, as the assault on private property grows more blatant and cruel, and as the government interference in the lives and private affairs of more people becomes ever more intrusive and pervasive, the number of people who find that, "price of security," is "too high," is growing too.

They Are Beginning to Listen

In the past, the words of the freedom fighters, like Henry David Thoreau, Lysander Spooner, Rose Wilder Lane, Ayn Rand, largely fell on deaf ears. But people are beginning to listen.

The Autonomist has frequently made the point, most people think they are free. They have no idea how repressive and tyrannical the government has become. They do not believe innocent people's property is being confiscated, their lives threatened, and, more and more, are actually being killed by the government they are trusting to keep them safe and secure. They have no idea the extent to which the entire Bill of Rights has been abrogated, or, that in reality, we have none of the freedoms they were intended to protect.

When it is their luggage that is being searched and their bodies that are being violated by complete strangers, when it is their email that is being monitored and their bank accounts being watched by the government, when it is their land the government chooses to take from them or tells them how they can (or must) use it, when it is their privacy that is being violated by the endless forms and reports they are required to submit, and when it is their life and their time that is being regulated and interfered with almost every waking moment of their life, if they are awake at all, the fact they are not free finally dawns on them. It is dawning on more people every day.

Another Way

Will enough listen? Will enough of, "the people," finally, "wake up," or will the pot continue to, "heat up," until all the froggy people are cooked? Whether enough listen or not, I do not know, but I do know, more will listen, and more will be sympathetic to the cause of freedom. Now is not the time to stop fighting.

The Autonomist does not believe any movement, campaign, or program will restore freedom in the foreseeable future - the Autonomist does believe individuals can make themselves free and they must do that before they can be truly effective in any other kind of fight for freedom.

It is to that end I have started the series of articles about establishing one's own personal freedom beginning with the first two, Freedom Now and Freedom Now—2.

This series will provide real information about what freedom is and how to secure it in the real world today.

A Free Society - Outside the Government Box

Those who free themselves are then free to find others who choose to be free. If enough people free themselves and find others who are living their lives freely, those individuals constitute a "free society."

A society is not restricted by geography; a society consists of any group of people united by something they have in common. The Autonomist version of a free society is one consisting of all those who choose to be free, wherever they may live geographi- cally, who choose to be part of that society, that is, choose to associate with others who have chosen to be free.

There is no reason why that kind of society cannot provide itself whatever free enterprise agencies it chooses for the protection of their persons and properties. There is no reason such a society could not declare itself a sovereign society and the members of that society "citizens" of that sovereignty. Free individuals do not believe a state is required for freedom. This means, sovereignty does not have to be bound by any geographic restrictions.

This will be a totally new idea to most, and I am introducing it so those who love freedom can begin to think outside the, "government box."

It is likely, that just as the Wright brothers would never have been able to convince the world human-heavier-than-air flight is possible, except by doing it, we will never be able to convince the world that human freedom is possible, except by doing it.

Reproduced with permission of the author