Liberty holds that individuals can do things in their own way together with those they want to cooperate with. This way of explaining it has some advantages. People who have objections against liberty usually suggest that we:
- do not want to help others who need help.
- do not want to pay our fair share for things we still want to use.
- do not want to be restricted from harming the environment.
- do want to force others to give up much of their achievements and force them to live in chaos.
It is not true that people who believe in liberty just try to avoid their responsibility or force others to live in chaos. We just believe that accepting that we need to take orders from rulers is immoral and inefficient. People should have the option to choose with whom they want to cooperate and always have the option to escape from annoying leaders.
As this option of escape plays a central role in our view, we may use the term Escapism.
Escapism and Helping other people
We believe that we should help others, but we believe that we should have the option to do this in better ways. A common approach for helping vulnerable people is making some interactions between consenting people illegal. In some special situations, there may be good reasons for this, but, in general, we do not believe that force is a good way to help people. Even vulnerable people usually choose what’s best for them. If people decide to work under horrible conditions or accept low wages, they do so because it’s their best option. Solving the issue of poverty would be the right approach to making the world a better place. We believe that banishing poverty is the best way to enhance people’s lives. Many of the present methods to protect poor people are extremely harmful to our liberty, and not very effective or even harmful to the poor.
An extremely important step in enhancing the situation of poor people would be fairly sharing natural resources such as land, as we described in the previous part. The most important reason for poverty seems to be a lack of access to natural resources such as land. If you do not have a place to build your home or run your company, you are dependent on landlords. If they allow you to use some space, they may charge you an unaffordable price.
We may need to help other people, however, the first step should be allowing others to take what they are entitled to: their fair share of the earth. If we do so, far fewer people will need help. In the next part, we will explain the most feasible way to make this possible. We will also explain how we can help others who still need it without giving up much of our freedom.
Escapism and Paying our fair share
We do not oppose paying our fair share for things we want to use. We do want to use roads and health care. However, we consider forced forms of cooperation as problematic. As soon as people are forced to join a system, some will take advantage of it. If for some reason a government offers one company a monopoly, a lack of competition leads to poor service and high prices.
It is important to have the freedom to organize things in our own way. This might not always be efficient, but it will help us to limit the power that arises if we are forced to take part in a form of cooperation. We should always have the right to set up our own alternative solutions.
There might be situations where competition is not realistic. Maybe there is no space for four different roads next to each other. However, we must be aware that a monopoly gives huge amounts of power to people who will tend to abuse it.
People who do not want to pay their fair share for a common good or service are sometimes called free-riders. We would like to mention the opposite issue. People may need to pay more than their fair share. As soon as alternative solutions are blocked, we are forced to take part in a system. Especially people who do not want to spend much money may experience inconvenience from this.
If they want to use the road to visit some friends once every year, they should not be forced to pay for perfect roads.
If they want to travel on their boat and need some place to moor, they should not be forced to pay for fancy moorings, equipped with all kinds of comforts.
If they just want to live their lives, they should not be forced to pay for huge numbers of officials who impose restrictions to create aesthetically great residential areas.
We do want to pay our fair share. However, we do not want to be forced to pay more than our fair share and we do not accept that our alternative solutions are blocked.
Escapism and Protecting the environment
Some consider the liberty movement as a bunch of people who do not care about environmental issues. This is not true. Destroying the earth harms other people and does not fit in a philosophy of live and let live.
However, how the environment is protected is important. Some ways harm our liberty, and other ways do not.
Protecting the environment should be part of fairly sharing natural resources. If burning too much of our fossil fuels is dangerous, we do not have the right to do this. Each of us is entitled to our fair share of natural resources. Each human has equal rights to burning some fossil fuels. This simple insight should be the basis of legislation to protect the environment.
It must be clear that people who take more than their fair share, do not have the right to impose rules on those who use less. Protecting the environment should not be a reason for prescribing how we live our lives. As long as we do not take more than our fair shares, we have the right to be left alone.
Present policy to protect the environment does not recognize that each individual has equal rights to the earth and that each of us should be able to choose how to use these.
Why Escapism does not force others to live in chaos
A frequently mentioned objection to our call for liberty is that we would force others to give up their way of living and force them to live in chaos. This is not true. Many people may prefer to use the products and services that our governments offer: government-controlled money, government-controlled health care, and government-controlled safety inspections. We do not have any objection to people who prefer to keep using these, they can make their own choices. This could be a safe default option for those who do not want to spend too much time choosing service providers. However, we should not be coerced to use them, as coercion opens the way to abuse. If people prefer to use different options they should not be forced to use, for instance, the bureaucratic solution.
The most serious objection might be that people who need help may seem to be left alone. People who need less healthcare may leave the government-controlled healthcare system to avoid paying for others who need help. This is not our goal. We are willing to help others. People who leave the government-controlled system still have the moral obligation to help others. They may do this by contributing some money to enable the government-controlled healthcare system to offer this help. But they could also provide this help in their alternative system. The option to experiment with new ways of organizing things may not only lead to innovation but is also an essential ingredient of a free society.
Rejecting the basic attitude that the majority can dictate how to live our lives is also not the same as rejecting all forms of spatial planning. We need some open spaces, we need woods, we cannot always make noise everywhere. However, it is important to see that today spatial planning can be a way to oppress others. Regulations make it impossible for people to find a place where they can build their homes or build their homes in the way they prefer. Only people who are good at dealing with governments can experience some freedom to shape the area where they live, work and have fun.
Liberty as the right to do things in our own way might be a promising way to define freedom.