Many of you remember the time you got everything done by your parents. Besides household chores you asked them to make phone calls for you when you didn’t dare to, and help you out when you struggled in your early school years. They also told you how to live your life, they picked your clothing, your daily habits and motivations, and quite frankly for some time you couldn’t complain at all. Why would you, it sounds comfy doesn’t it?
As you grow older you want to be independent, your personal habits come in first for that matter: you don’t like to be told who to hang around with or what to do. At a certain moment your parents want you to ‘grow up’ in other aspects of your life as well, to take your own responsibilities. And most of us do: we realise that we manage quite well to put our lives in our own hands and that as a consequence of that, we become aware of the success we can have building on ourselves.
Now for a peculiar reason, instead of insisting on and enlarging our independence and self-reliance, many of us argue for a replacement of our parents: we want the welfare state, legislating our everyday lives, managing our money, taking away our freedom. How is that mature? I would argue that when our parents told us to grow up, they wanted us to be able to evaluate risks, consequences and opportunities, and not to look for the next hiding spot from all these challenges.
I think I was around 12 when I started to like less and less that my parents decided on my everyday habits. Now I’m 20, and I’m feeling the same attitude towards the state. There was a time in which I knew no better, the state had been there and it seemed to obviously fulfill the role it (at least from my perspective) always had; but now I’d love to be more independent! For one part I see no inherent right of the state to get involved in my life, but that is more of a philosophical question that passionately interests libertarians, yet easily scares away people who haven’t had a think about it. Even more importantly, my parents in comparison to the state managed their task quite well. The nanny-state on the other hand is doing a terrible job with the welfare state: governments around the world are accumulating an enormous amount of debt in social security (which is, if you think about it, nothing but a tax on a generation that is not even born yet) and running deficits that would have forced every private business to go bankrupt. The state is like the drunk guy who comes to your party, takes more than half of your drinks, wanders around passing “free drinks” to whomever he meets, brings the rest back half empty, and if you complain, accuses you to be selfish.
So yes, I would say that libertarians are the grown-ups in our society. They don’t tell you how to live your life, what to eat and drink and how much of it, how to spend your money, how much to work or in whose interest, what to say and think, and don’t follow you around in the name of security. And the best thing about a free society: the people who really think they cannot get along without a nanny, don’t even have to give it up, they can voluntarily keep their lifestyle and social security systems, as long as they don’t force someone else to follow their ideal.
It’s time we legalise freedom.
Pictures are Creative Commons.
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