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By Ian Tartt
This article will make the case as to why liberty is the best way for people to be secure in their life, limb, and property. It will also show that most people already demonstrate a preference for liberty in their regular day-to-day lives. Without further ado, here we go.
Suppose that Person 1 wants to have liberty. This mean he is able to do as he likes with his life, limb, and property as long as he’s not preventing anyone else from doing the same. The best way for Person 1 to facilitate this is to respect the liberties of Person 2. Person 1 can increase his chances of having liberty by also respecting the liberties of Person 3, Person 4, and so on. This way, the people Person 1 interacts with will be more likely to respect his liberties. Further, whatever government is in place will be less likely to see Person 1 as a danger to others and will be more likely to focus its attention on those who are a danger to others. This is why even if Person 1 doesn’t care at all about anyone else’s liberties, he has an incentive to respect others so that they’ll respect him in return.
This is not so difficult to imagine, as most people already do such a thing every day. With few exceptions, people in general want to have liberty. Accordingly, they respect the liberties of other people and as seek out and enjoy interactions in which everyone involved benefits and coercion is absent. For example, nobody wants to be “friends” with someone who puts a gun to his head and forces them do things together. Everyone would rather choose their friends on the basis of shared interests, genuine affection for one another, and a feeling of trust. True friendships are sustained by the fact that the people involved are better off together than they’d be if they were apart. Likewise, when it comes to romantic relationships, employment, and options for spending their free time and money, most people gravitate toward voluntary interactions.
In contrast, most people despise being in situations in which their will is ignored and they don’t have control of their decisions. This applies whether they’re involved in a negative interaction with another civilian (such as in a home burglary) or with a government agency (such as being summoned to sit on a jury regardless of their existing plans or commitments). That’s why they take steps to reduce as much as possible the risk of ending up in such a situation and, if that fails, they’ll do what they can to get out of that situation sooner rather than later.
This is something libertarians can use for messaging purposes. By pointing out that people already enjoy liberty in their lives and reminding them of how much they dislike being in situations where they don’t have liberty, we can inspire them to think about how their lives might look with even more liberty and less coercion. Personalizing the subject for our audiences will make the message more palatable for them than talking about abstract ideas and other things that aren’t naturally relatable. Keeping things simple and relatable can help us draw more people to liberty and ultimately create a free world.