Recently, there were tenants staying at one of our service properties, guests visiting from California. I got to chatting with them, and they immediately conveyed that they were conservative Republicans, making no bones that “We’re Trump supporters.”
Following their lead, I ventured into chatting politics with them, and it soon became necessary for me to convey to them that I’m a libertarian (I don’t like using that term—I prefer autarchist—but for lack of a better term, especially that they would immediately grasp, this time I went with it).
(Side note: some time ago I had a similar discussion with some clients at their property, and upon hearing my position on certain issues, they asked “So, you’re a libertarian?” to which I responded “Actually, I’m an anarchist. I was a libertarian 25 years ago.”)
Anyway, they were intrigued, and we conversed a little more (I was working, and had to leave soon on the route, so the exchange was limited), and to sum up I simply stated “I believe that all human interactions should be consensual, and not forced or coerced,” with which they both wholeheartedly agreed.
I’ve been pondering that phenomenon ever since… ?
Seems whenever we present to statists the libertarian axiom that all interactions between individuals should be consensual, and not forced or coerced…well, who would disagree with that? Seems it would be nearly universally accepted as the proper, moral criteria for interactions between everyone, everywhere—just like this couple wholeheartedly agreed with the idea, even though their decisions and actions convey otherwise.
And yet, it’s so difficult—if not impossible—to convince people to embrace the principles of liberty…
Why do you suppose that is?
One answer I’ve come up with after pondering this incident is that perhaps the difficulty lies in embracing true individualism. In order to be a true libertarian/anarchist (or my preferred term: autarchist), one must first be a devout individualist.
But individualism flies in the face of evolution, as humans evolved as collectivists (tribalism). In other words, collectivism is a long-evolved trait of human nature. So we each must work diligently to overcome our ancient lizard brain’s tendency toward tribalism, and even if we succeed in doing so, we must practice perpetual vigilance, forever wary of slipping back into the instinctual trap of collectivism.
And perhaps that’s just too much to ask of people?
On the other hand, there’s also the whole will to power vs. will to freedom thing, another aspect of human nature that I’ve been exploring. Put simply: most people want power, not freedom. Why? I submit that it’s because power comes at the expense of others (forcing one’s will upon others, forcing others to pay for what one wants, etc.), whereas freedom comes at one’s own expense—namely self-sufficiency and personal responsibility.
At any rate, speculation aside, ultimately I hope I managed to plant a seed…the couple seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, perhaps they’ll take it upon themselves to look into the principles of liberty.