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Voluntaryism in a nutshell

March 18, 2010

Without freedom, man becomes robot or animal.  Freedom is of the essence of man and essential to his fulfillment.  A society that maximizes man’s fulfillment is one that maximizes his freedom, giving him the freedom to do anything that does not infringe on the freedom of another. 

A free society is one in which no one is forced to do anything against his or her will and no one is allowed to use coercive force against his or her neighbor:  All interactions between individuals, economic and social, are free and voluntary.  

In this environment, man thrives.  He freely exchanges goods and services with others, freely associates, freely loves, freely gives, and flourishes.  Order arises from these free, undirected, individual choices.  Markets, laws, customs—society and civilization, grow as if guided by an invisible hand. 

The human race through history, as Henry Grady Weaver said, appears as a man struggling to rise, to break free of constraints, with varying degrees of success.  And during those times when freedom has been greatest, civilization has grown by leaps and bounds. 

And yet something always pulls people back.  Individuals lose sight of what Weaver calls the Mainspring of Human Progress—freedom.  They begin to choose force over freedom, control over individual responsibility, and violence over persuasion.  They rob each other through taxes, control each other through legislation and regulation, and destroy each other through war.  They control and are controlled, and they think that this will bring security, comfort, and fulfillment.  All they get is emptiness and failure. 

And yet they think the answer is more control, more government, when the answer is less control, more freedom.

Of course, with freedom comes responsibility, as George Bernard Shaw said, “Liberty means responsibility.  That is why most men dread it.”  They don’t like to work.  They fear the risks.  But in trading liberty and virtue for promises of comfort, they sell their birthrights for a single meal.  They get nothing but empty bellies and violence. 

How can a free being like man live under the yoke and wield the whip and expect to thrive?

He cannot.

And so we seek a more voluntary society.

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