There is a concerted effort afoot, whether you want to believe it or not, to erode your individual freedoms. The campaign to put an end to pesky freedoms, which ensure you are not ruled by a powerful minority, has been carefully crafted by the governing classes. Governments across the world have offered their populations “security” in exchange for these freedoms, absolving the people of their personal responsibilities, which many people happily relinquish in search of a simpler and easier life. More often than not the erosion of your freedoms are subtle, sometimes the efforts even appear sensible. Therefore, it is rarely noticed.
What governments absolutely know, and people seem to not realize, is that governments want you to blame them for your problems. They want you complaining about them not doing enough. They want you moaning about their lack of intervention. They want it because it gives them an excuse to get bigger and more bloated. They don’t want you knowing the truth.
The truth is, that governments are only looking for excuses to take more of your money, more of your property, and more of your freedoms. So, what you end up with is a vicious cycle of government doing things really badly, and then having to do more things badly to fix the things they’ve previously done badly, and they repeat the process over and over and over. Eventually, governments become too bloated for their own good, before war or recession, or both, reset the clock.
There are a lot of people who think the world works best when society as a whole is put at the centre of government policy, and because people want to be seen as altruistic, the greater good fallacy tends to be used to achieve their lofty goals. According to the “greater good” fallacy, we must all sacrifice a little freedom for the greater good, and the government will adjudicate on what freedoms we must sacrifice. It is the ultimate weapon to erode individual freedoms, because it assumes that the government knows best, and would never abuse its position of trust, but we know this not to be the case.
Governments routinely over-reach and cause great harm to their populations, and almost always when they do harm it is as a result of having restricted the freedom of individuals. Restricting individual freedoms does not serve to improve the happiness of society overall, how can it? It is sold to us as “good for us”, but is it? Often it is referred to as “the price we pay for living in a civilized world.” But I ask: what is civil about the constant threat of force if you as much as step out of line on a single issue?
You see, you must not conflate absolute moral freedom with what we have in most countries today. Take for example our own island of Ireland. Are we a free people? When asked that question most people would probably say yes, but are we? Think about it. You are free so long as you obey arbitrary rules set down by various governments of varying political ideologies, over nearly 100 years.
Let us examine just how free we are: You are free to own a dog, as long as you buy a state issued license. You are free to own a TV, so long as you buy a state issued license. You are free to own a house, so long as you register the ownership with the state, pay stamp duty (tax) on its purchase, and pay property tax every 12-months – in the alternative you can build a house, and are free to do so provided you apply to the state for permission to do so, receive said permission from the state, and build the house in compliance with a litany of regulations, many of which were decided by people who live and work almost 1,000 miles away. You are free to drive a car, so long as you take state mandated lessons, pass a state mandated test, buy a state issued license, register the ownership of the vehicle with the state, pay road tax, buy insurance from a private corporation as mandated to by the state, and present the vehicle to an agent of the state at regular intervals so that its use can be approved by the state. You are free to employ someone, provided you pay them a minimum wage as set by the state, register the employment with the state, collect taxes from their wages for the state, pay additional taxes on top of their wages to the state, and report all the above to the state at regular intervals. If you fail to comply with any of the parameters set out by the state with regards to the above examples, or a plethora of other examples we could explore but won’t, you will face the very real possibility that you will no longer be “free”, and could find yourself on the receiving-end of the forces of the state. So, you tell me, just how free are we?
Critics of freedom will say that what is being described by absolute freedom is anarchy, and while in some ways that might be true, it is often used in a disingenuous way to try to argue against freedom. The reality, however, is that freedoms must be absolute, and thusly, you do not have the freedom to impede on the freedoms of others, and neither should the government – unless it is to protect the freedoms of another. The only morally acceptable role for government should be to protect freedoms, not oppress them. In that, in a truly free society, government would be responsible for protecting freedoms, with a fit and strong police force to maintain domestic freedoms and a strong, well-resourced military to defend the nations freedom from those who may seek to end it. Of course, it must also establish and ensure a free, independent judiciary to protect the fundamental freedoms of the people, not only from each other but also from the state. Outside of these fundamental duties, government should have very little power. And because as a society we have not opted to limit the power of government in any discernible way, we have started to plummet down a very slippery slope of government over—reach.
For example: If you are driving dangerously on a public road, should the state have the power to stop you? Of course, you pose a risk to others, and thus it is an effort to protect the freedoms of others. However, if you are sitting at home watching TV, the state should have no authority, whatsoever, to impede on your freedom under threat of force because you may or may not have a TV license, it is absolutely morally wrong, and does not protect the freedoms of anyone, but merely oppresses freedom.
If we want to improve societies lot, let us look at how to achieve that but from a different perspective to the one normally adopted. In order for society to achieve greater security and happiness, it must not try to solve the problems it faces with less freedom but with more. We must start the search for solutions from that stand-point, and when faced with a problem we must ask: “Can I solve this problem with more freedom instead of less,” and sometimes the answer will be no, but that is where we must start. Society desperately needs to protect the individual, individual rights and freedoms, and civil liberties. Isn’t that all anyone wants at the end of the day?
The hard part of this though, is that with rights and freedoms, come responsibilities. Responsibilities to; our fellow man; the environment; the sick; the elderly; the poor; the vulnerable; our communities; and future generations. If you want freedom, yes, you have to be prepared to live in a world where you cannot simply abdicate your responsibilities to the state. You have to be a grown up. You cannot blame the government for the problems society face, because you are a part of that society and you are responsible for fixing those problems. In our world today, it is too easy to point the finger and blame others for our problems, but in a free world, you are responsible for putting right perceived injustices. There will need to be more volunteers, more charities, and more involvement by the people in the operation of their society, but is that such a bad thing? Have we so little faith in our fellow human beings that we don’t believe they would do the right thing if required?