This article is #7 of a weekly series highlighting the former memes of Bureaucrash, an organization once headed by my friends Pete Eyre and Jason Talley of the Motorhome Diaries. The memes were originally authored by Pete Eyre and Anja Hartleb-Parson, and were intended as means of communicating ideas about liberty in catchy and succinct ways.
Freedom subsumes individual liberty and personal responsibility. If individuals are free to act and also held responsible to bear the consequences for their actions, good outcomes will be reinforce correct behavior and bad outcomes will provide a learning experience. When government gets in the way of this feedback loop, it prevents the development of virtue and merely subjects the individual to the will of the State.
As long as you do not harm others, you should be free to act. This is so because the only one who owns you is you. This is true no matter where an individual happens to be born. The differences of relative freedom we see for individuals born in different countries are a direct result of the level of burden the government on them. For example, an individual born in North Korea has the same rights as an individual born in Canada. The difference is that the North Korean government has usurped more of the individual’s rights. Imagine, if each nation were an individual, the parasite of government would put all into the hospital, and while some freer nations may be able to wheel around the corridors, many would be on life support. For those of us calling for freedom for ourselves and our kin—whether that is defined as family or as those within an arbitrary political boundary—we should not forget others who suffer under even more repressive states.
More freedom means more prosperity. As The Economic Freedom of the World Index shows year after year, those areas of the world with less burdensome governments have greater standards of living. This fact should quiet calls for more redistribution at the hands of the government or more invasive economic regulations, even by persons supportive of such programs out of concern for those in the lowest socio-economic groups. Promoting freedom means promoting the free movement of goods and people across borders, the abolishment of protectionist measures, and the end of occupational licensing laws, all of which create prosperity.
Freedom is positive! Throughout history various tactics have been used to grow movements. A dictator might campaign using fear tactics, telling folks that if he or she is not elected, there will be dire consequences. Contemporary politicians sell utopian visions, being purposefully vague so they cannot be held accountable for the shortcomings of their stated policies (which more often than not involve massive violations of individual rights). But the most successful movements have used truth, reason, and optimism as beacons. Just consider that since the philosophy of classical liberalism began to shape political regimes and societies starting with the founding of the United States in the 18th century, the world has seen economic growth and levels of prosperity hitherto unprecedented in history. That is why this movement will succeed—and why it must.