We Need A Libertarian Renaissance

Each generation is defined by its values. While each generation’s values and norms are different, the ideals of liberty and freedom have been consistent for every generation since our nation’s conception. Even the hippies of the 60’s eschewed opposition to government control and overreach. Since our founding, being an American has meant advocating for freedom and liberty. However, it seems as if this social norm is ailing with the rise of my generation and the technical age. Freedom isn’t “cool” anymore. People would rather be guaranteed goodies from the public treasury rather than have their rights and liberty preserved. As long as everything is free, who needs freedom?

As this negative paradigm shift occurs, it paints a sullen picture for our near future. Revisionist academia undermines traditional American values and attempts to draw us away from the teachings of the Founding Fathers. The average college student probably knows more about Thomas Jefferson’s views on race rather than his remarkable vision of individual liberty. Today’s generation thinks the United States is responsible for the most evil in the world, and Communism in the Soviet Union and China was a noble and admirable experiment. Rich guys in suits are evil, unless they work for the government, and Sandra Fluke -the 30 year old college student who can’t afford birth control for recreational sex- is a hero.

It is time for a Libertarian renaissance. Freedom needs to be cool again. This generation should be inspired to get rich, produce things, and live free. The decline in American family values is dangerous to us as a society, but a decline in American political values is dangerous to the world! We have always been a symbol of freedom, and the wonders that can be produced from being free. Like Lincoln said, America is the “last, best hope for man on earth.” If we forget where we came from and what made us so great, the free world will deteriorate. America’s world view is the fabric that binds the free countries on earth. Yet freedom is declining in America. You can’t open a lemonade stand or drink a 40oz soda in Manhattan. In New Jersey, young drivers are forced to display red stickers on their vehicles to signify their inexperience. Pretty soon in California, you’re going to need a permit to breathe, and might have to pay a tax per breath. Obviously that last one was a joke, but the point that laws are becoming excessive should be clear. In the words of the Roman statesman Tacitus, “The more laws, the more corrupt the state.”

Whenever national issues occur, such as mass shootings and economic failure, our generation pleads for more government. Take our guns, we don’t deserve to have them, only the all powerful state should have guns (reminds me of that thing that happened in Germany in the 1930’s) for they know best! Spread the wealth of the 1%, they don’t deserve it, they are evil! Let’s give all power to our lord and savior, Barack Obama, for he is all knowing! This generation’s reverence for government and central planning is sobering. This view of collectivism is inconsistent with the vision of the Founding Fathers, and if we allow this malignant theory to spread, the death of traditional America will ensue. In 2013, I am hoping for a generational epiphany. I want to see my generation wake up, observe the failures of government all over the world, question academic authority and conventional wisdom, and ignite a Libertarian Renaissance.

Colin Snell | Burlington College | @SnellColin

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4 Responses

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  1. Christopher Rushlau
    Jan 15, 2013 - 10:54 PM

    “Eschewed” means “did without” or “rejected”. You were probably thinking of “espoused”.
    With that, I’ll broaden Trilby’s criticism. A citizen can only correct the party line and overthrow the regime of the party line by eschewing cliches. What’s a cliche and what’s wrong with cliches?
    Writing is evaluated mainly by measuring its clarity. A cliche is a vague foggy statement. Even a great quotation of past elogquence can be turned into a cliche, a lifeless statement. if used badly.
    “Seize the day” is an inaccurate translation of the motto “carpe diem” that practically turns the notion on its head. It should be translated “harvest the day”. You don’t harvest fruit and vegetables by seizing them. I think of it as plucking the day, a gentle tug and a little twist.
    A cliche is a pair of pliers, a deft phrase is caring fingers. A sensitive description of a problem and a refreshing call to action have the personal touch–fingerprints–all over them.
    It could be that the problem with politics today is the same as ever: people don’t want to get involved. If you don’t want to get involved but want to avoid criticism for not getting involved, you can spout a few cliches and forget about it.
    But I like the central drive behind your essay. For one thing, there is a central drive. You’ve get a broad theory. Now you need to apply it, come up with test cases, find the specific questions to ask, ascertain the particular facts, and come up with some recommendations. Is science they call that the survey of the literature, before you even think about experiments or field observations. Politics being the life of the street, maybe all you need to do is sit on a park bench or sidewalk, observe traffic and pedestrians, read the billboards, listen to the chatter, and let it come to you just what seems good and what seems missing about that “conversatio civitas” as JC Murray described the ancient Roman idea of the life of the community. “Conversatio” doesn’t refer to the words on the street but to the “to-ing and fro-ing” of people rubbing elbows with strangers–or avoiding such personal contacts. You might notice that what is happening is people are trying to maintain bubbles of privacy around themselves, lest they notice what is going on with each other and be inspired by that knowledge to feel responsible for each other.

  2. Trilby
    Jan 15, 2013 - 04:52 PM

    I think guns is a bad area for libertarians to support. Government action has proven to work- look at Japan’s gun violence rates versus the 30,000+ deaths we see each year.

    I think libertarians can choose reasonable restrictions on liberty (they aren’t opposed to all law or regulations), and guns should be included in this.

    If not, do you allow anyone access to any firearm? Should criminals and the mentally ill have the liberty to purchase assault weapons? Should citizens have the liberty to buy surface-to-air missiles, anthrax, or other deadly weapons? I’m not trying to make a slippery slope argument and say if you don’t tightly regulate guns, then a whole bunch of other stuff will happen. I’m wondering where libertarians draw the line, and why they make that the line?

    I think drawing the line should be along Japan’s line (only law-abiding citizens who affirmatively prove they are not criminals or insane, and are trained, can have access to shotguns but not military weaponry), and I understand a more liberal policy- but I don’t know how our current policy, where the mentally ill and violent felons have easy access to weaponry designed for a battlefield, is defensible.

    • uncle huck
      Jan 15, 2013 - 05:50 PM

      Nice red herring argument you have there,Trilby.For a good explanation on the need for an armed citizenry I would suggest the Federalist #46.In fact,suggested reading would be the complete federalist and anti federalist papers.BTW,this isn’t Japan.

      • Trilby
        Jan 16, 2013 - 06:19 PM

        How well informed were the federalists and anti-federalists about the consequences of easy access to military style assault weapons? Should I consult them about how to understand software programming as well?

        You’re right, this isn’t Japan, that’s why we have an exponentially more amount of gun violence.

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