Inside every American — red, blue, purple, green, and every other color of the rainbow — there is a libertarian1 screaming to get out. Whenever our free wills feel threatened by authoritarianism, our inner libertarians come out and make us proclaim that we do not want the government — or anybody else, for that matter — telling us how to live or what to think and believe.
Regardless of America’s vast diversity of cultures and philosophies derived from the many nations and peoples of Earth, our need and desire for the liberty to exercise our free will is practically universal. Despite the partisan politics that often divide us against ourselves and our own best interests, the vast majority of Americans want to live in freedom and peace so that we may pursue happiness, spirituality and prosperity in the manners of our individual choosing.
Are you in touch with your inner libertarian? Do you nurture it with tolerance and forgiveness or have you neglected it in favor of your personal anxieties and arbitrary prejudices? Do you inspire its courage so that it can protect you from creeping authoritarianism or has fear and loathing caused you to smother it in rationalizations so that it cannot speak out against the false comforts ostensibly provided by tyranny and oppression disguised as incentives to progress and protection from enemies and threats?
When we are apathetic, afraid or angry, our inner libertarians are sometimes forsaken — they might be temporarily rendered quaint by seemingly practical circumstances and subsequently abandoned due to their apparent inconvenience or they could be momentarily suppressed by the allure of false hopes and empty promises — until the cold steel toe of that ubiquitous metaphorical “jackboot” threatens to become firmly planted upon our very own gluteus maximi.
Indeed, we all value our own freedom, the right to exercise our free wills in choosing how we live and what we think and believe. However, valuing other peoples’ freedom when they exercise their right to live, think and believe differently than we do is sometimes difficult because the manifestation of tolerance and forgiveness necessitates the swallowing of our precious, yet cumbersome, pride.
America is called “the land of the free and the home of the brave” because rising above our personal anxieties and arbitrary prejudices to embrace the notion of “liberty and justice for all” requires a lot of courage.
The temptation to accept tyranny and oppression as essential to the fulfillment of our need for safety and our desire for progress (even if our definitions of that subjective concept are widely varied) is great when it appears that their imposition will remain limited to those who live, think and believe differently.
In such instances of weakness brought on by fear and loathing, our inner libertarians will try to remind us that tyranny and oppression cannot, by default, be limited. And all we have to do is listen to them.