Liberarianism isn't about finding a "better" way of organizing society. More efficient, ever so slightly. This is not just about some rich guy paying less taxes. What this is really about is the future of the human species. No less.
In 2013, the standard of living had been declining. The growth of the State had finally caught up with technological progress and the accumulation of capital and of ideas.
And people, instead of being worried, wondering how come we're still not exploring other galaxies, are still only clinging to their old superstitions. Caring about their fake national identities, their languages, their religions. Their petty conflicts. Being concerned about whether their neighbors take drugs, what their sex lifes are, whether their children might see "inappropriate" words on TV.
Certainly issues far more important than whether their children will be stuck on planet earth, will starve, will die young instead of being immortal.
Sad, sad humanity. So, knowing all this, where do you start?
Libertarianism is civilization
Libertarianism is just part of the answer. Human rights include the right to be stupid, to care about stupid things.
Libertarianism is a canvas, a necessary one for civilization. The rule of rationality over brute force. Universal principles, logic and consistency instead of polylogism, rule of the strongest (or most numerous).
And yet, technically, you could have a perfectly libertarian world filled with people who would understand that they have no right to harm their neighbor because he leads a life different from theirs, but who'd still be obsessed about it. Many resources could still be wasted on non-violent anti-drug, anti-sex, anti-gun or anti-foreigner campaigns.
The larger issue at stake is priorities, rationality.
At some point, people might begin to become aware of what their petty jealousies are costing them. Yet I fear that even then they'll choose the current evil. Let's face it: can the leaders of North Korea really not have noticed the difference with the South? And we're talking about basically a small difference in economic policy, in sizes of the state.
Are those people actually happier ruling over a hungry mob, themselves only slightly more above the starvation level than their slaves, than they would be leading a peaceful life ruling over no one among equally well-fed equals?
I fear the answer.
Space Age or Middle Ages
It is the year 2013, and there is still a war on drugs. There are still religions. Hell, half of the countries of surrounding Europe are still monarchies. Kings, queens, religions, forced payments to the rulers, scape goats and witch hunts, fortified borders, warlords. Looks like the Middle Ages to me.
Me, I want to live in the Space Age, not the Middle Ages.
Free markets, libertarianism, and ultimately the abolition of the state are necessary conditions for pursuing civilization.
The other condition is embracing progress, wanting to be part of a mature species. A species made of people looking towards the future, not the past. Not fighting over small territories on earth, but colonizing other worlds. Not bickering about irrelevacies, but pursuing goals that matter:
- steady economic growth guaranteeing an end to hunger and poverty (free market capitalism);
- medical progress towards end of disease, pain, and towards better, smarter, human beings, and ultimately immortality (free market medical care and research unhindered by laws and regulations);
- space exploration and colonization (actually being wealthy enough to be able to afford it).
That, I think, is what matters. Today we are at the brink. Like I mentioned, real standard of living has been actually declining. Where does that put humanity in a thousand years? Do the math. Compare the growth rates and compound them over a thousand years between relatively freer and relatively less free countries.
The choice, the way I see it, is pretty simple. In a thousand years, we'll either have put an end to all this preposterous state thing, and be exploring other galaxies. Or not, and we'll be digging for roots to eat.
The debate is not about policies. The debate is not about what is efficient, about what social organization might be somewhat better.
The way we must understand things is as for or against politics. For or against using violence to enforce your prejudice. For or against civilization, for after all, civilization is the rejection of brute, dumb force, and the adoption of rationality and the non-agression principle.