We have a bad habit in the African Diaspora community to seek some outside intervener to sweep in and help solve our affairs. For most of us it’s “God”. The idea of facing the world’s challenges without having that divine crutch is unthinkable, frightening even. We project our desires for the best outcomes onto this third party. In exchange for the comfort we believe it is responsible for bringing to us, we give it our undying loyalty.
The relationship doesn’t give much room for you to think outside of a pre-set script. Moving too far from the baseline of thinking may earn you a scarlet letter. Considering the views of a competing philosophy as valid may get you kicked out of the sect.
The script can change as well, leaving you confused, disillusioned, and ironically, in the end, enlightened. In the dawn, the script appears reasonable, uplifting. As time progresses, the message becomes confusing in that it cannot be reconciled with the way things actually are in the world. Because the message is no longer applicable, taking your best interests for granted, and failing to address the realities around you, you become disillusioned.
The message is changing, showing its true colors. The message was never about you. It was about the opportunities the messages created for the mouthpieces that were pushing it; messages of opportunists seeking and fulfilling their own self interests at the expense of yours.
At that point you decide whether or not to stick with an institution, a concept that does not feed your sense of reason, generates no productive output, and causes harm to you and your fellow man. It’s at that point of enlightenment that you go back to basics; that you seek out a framework that serves your need for rational answers and solutions and appreciates your need to exercise liberty.
In politics, that “god”, that crutch, is government. You re-evaluate its basic tenets and conclude that government’s primary goal should be to facilitate your liberty by first staying out of your personal and economic affairs and to protect you from agencies and institutions that would dare interfere with them. Government does very much act like a “god”, using its vast authority to regulate individual and economic behavior. Because we believe we need that crutch, we sanction its interference in areas of marriage, race relations, hiring practices, the buying and selling of securities, interest rates, retirement, and health care. Somewhere along the way we began to doubt our own strengths as intelligent human beings and took the quick way out by handing over our very ability to cope and think to government.
Yes, government does serve a purpose. The pursuit of our individual self interests will at times be furthered when we enter into partnerships with each other. We are social animals so we will interact with each other whether as co-workers, neighbors, or domestic partners. For this reason, government plays an important role as referee, ensuring that our individual liberties are not trampled on, but the referee role should be the extent to which government intervenes in our lives. It should not be the overbearing regulator of our individual behaviors and definitely not be a filter of our individual beliefs.
As a people whose history in the Western Hemisphere includes the dark cloud of slavery, we of all people should appreciate a political philosophy that emphasizes individual and economic freedom and liberty. Our resiliency can only be amplified if we made liberty our number one priority.
You need not be a member of a party to pursue liberty. Liberty is an inclusive concept. We cannot enjoy personal and economic liberty unless we acknowledge the other person’s right to enjoy them also. It is the most basic of pursuits, a pursuit made every day with passion because to dim its light leads to certain death. To fuel its glow can only lead society to greater heights.
I am a libertarian.