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Most people don't want to be free...
Most human beings today suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. They think that the politicians, the cops, the soldiers, the bureaucrats, and everyone else that makes up "their" government are somehow on their side, especially whenever someone they "elected" won. But they're not. Politicians have immunity from prosecution. When was the last time a president went to jail for starting a war that murdered millions? When was the last time a banker went to jail for causing a recession? When was the last time a cop or soldier went to jail for murdering someone? These people operate on a double standard that gives them far more rights and freedoms than you, a mere citizen.
And as long as most people suffer from this delusion. As long as they don't see their own enslavement. As long as they think the cops and politicians are on their side, they're part of the problem. They're the crab pulling the other crab into the bucket. These days, if you want to be free, most people see you as some kind of freak. You know why? Because your desire for freedom brings up a deep anxiety in the other slaves. The other slaves don't want to know they're slaves. They don't want you to remind them of their servitude. Your desire for freedom reveals their chains - chains they've spent their entire lives trying to ignore. Chains the government education system has indoctrinated them into thinking are really there for their own good, or perhaps aren't there at all.
This is why the saying, "A libertarian government will allow a communist community but a communist government will never allow a libertarian community", is true. Not only do the communists not want to be free themselves, but they want to make sure nobody else around them is free either. The communists are just like crabs in a bucket - self-destructive and self-enslaving.
The world is full of people who have no desire to be free. They don't want to be independent and responsible for their own lives. That terrifies them. They want security. They want to know that they'll be taken care of and protected by a higher power. For religious people, that higher power is god. For atheists, it's government. For many, it's both.
These people don't want firearms because they don't want to be responsible for their own safety. Responsibility is terrifying to them. They don't want to make a moral decision about whether shooting someone in self-defense is justified or not. In effect, they don't really want to be human.
So when the government steps in and says, "Don't worry, we'll take care of you. Here's a welfare safety net in case you ever get sick or lose your job, and here's a cop with a gun and a phone number you can call to ask for help. If you're ever sued, our judge will decide whether what you did was good or bad, so you don't have to. If there's a disaster, we'll come and save you and give you food, and if the country is invaded, these soldiers will protect you from the foreign invaders. Don't worry about saving for your retirement, it's okay if you don't think about your future, our government pension will take care of you."
When I hear that, I feel terrified. But most people look at that and feel relief. Finally, someone will take care of them! They don't want freedom. The world is filled with immature, codependent adults who never grew up beyond the mental age of a child. These people have no use for freedom, and that's why they continually create societies in which freedom is all-but gone.
And as governments grow and take over more and more functions in society, new generations grow up not even remembering how things were before. "But without government, who will build the roads? Who will take care of the sick?" Generations of increasingly dependent and brainwashed people can't even conceive of free-market solutions to common problems, in no small part because after over a decade in government schools they've lost the ability to think for themselves - something that is not an accident.
If you're on this website and you're interested in freedom, you are part of a small, in fact, tiny minority. No matter how much you lobby "your" politicians, or how much you protest, you won't change other people's minds. All the activism and debates in the world won't change the fact that liberty is not about reason and argument, it's about a state of mind. People either want to be free, or they don't. If they do, and you tell them that freedom is viable, they will quickly realize you're right and agree with you. Likely, if you never talk to them, they will discover this for themselves anyway by simply being curious about the world. And if they don't want freedom, your attempts to convince them will only bring them mounting anxiety, and they'll come up with an endless series of excuses for why "freedom doesn't work", all to hide the fact that deep down, they're a child in an adult's body, terrified of personal responsibility. Terrified of moral responsibility. Freedom is not just the ability to go and do what you want, it's also taking personal responsibility for the consequences of your actions.
The desire for freedom and responsibility is most likely a complex combination of genetics, epigenetics, and upbringing. People who are raised to be free will want to be free, and people who are not, will not. Some people who are raised to be caged have such an intense desire to be free, that they'll find a way to be free anyway.
This is a sad but important realization: we're never going to "convince" all of our neighbors that freedom is good. This is not the path to a libertarian utopia. Libertarianism as a political reform movement has no hope, it never has. The libertarian party has consistently received 1-3% of the vote in the U.S. The success of libertarian movements abroad is similar. Most people simply do not want to be free. And that's okay, it just means libertarians need to change their tactics.
Instead of trying to make the people of a totalitarian nation or state want freedom, they need to create a new "nation" - of course, without any kind of government in the traditional sense. Government is like cancer, you either cut it all out, or the tiniest piece will grow and grow until it once again suffocates the host. It needs to be on uninhabited land, likely purchased from some nation. It needs to have borders, because you don't want all the people who want government and servitude to come and live with you - or you'll end up exactly the same way America has.
America is a perfect example of how rapidly a small government can become the biggest empire the world has ever seen. How a seemingly solid constitution protecting the rights of its citizens can be so flagrantly violated and ignored. There are now over 20,000 laws that restrict firearms across the nation, each and every one of them unconstitutional. It doesn't matter how well a piece of paper is phrased - as Justice Learned Hand said,
“Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.”
12 generations have lived since the declaration of independence and the bill of rights were written down and signed. With every generation, the people have gotten increasingly soft, decadent, sedentary, and dependent. America is not what it used to be because Americans are not what they used to be. It's really that simple.
Libertarians are far too focused on reforming bad laws, or trying to win elections. The truth is that liberty does not lie in the hearts of most men and women, but only a few. And those few need to band together and build their own society, before the governments of the world collapse into a new dark age.
The desire for liberty, in many ways, comes from being confronted with reality and hardship. Children must grow up learning to hunt, fish, trap, and farm. They must learn to build, and survive out in nature. That's not necessarily what they must do their entire childhood or as their adult career, but they must have these experiences. Modern life, especially modern city life, is so far removed from nature and what it actually means to be human, that it is not surprising that city dwellers desire servitude and have no tangible idea of where their food comes from, or where their feces go to.
As far as most people these days are concerned, food comes in plastic packaging at the store, and excrement goes down the toilet. They have some vague idea of sewers and farms, but they don't know how they work, and they've never been a part of the process. Obtaining your own food and building your own shelter used to be a basic part of human life for almost our entire evolutionary history, yet now we live in isolation from nature, hardship, and reality. If you took an average human and dropped them into a forest, they would die within a couple of days, either of dehydration, exposure, or from just giving up.
There's a reason the totalitarian nations of Europe have almost all banned wild camping, making fire outside of a camp ground, owning firearms, carrying knives, and are working on banning hunting. They know that by dehumanizing their people and breaking their connection to nature and the fundamental human condition, they're ensuring a dependent, compliant populace who will support their government, or at least, the controlled opposition government, because without it they would be terrified.
People who are so disconnected from our roots, and from what it is to be human, cannot be and will not be advocates for liberty. It is no surprise that there is so much overlap between people who want freedom, and people who go out and hunt, hike, camp, homestead, and prep. Few who crave individual responsibility are ever happy for long living on the 30th floor of a giant tower block in a city. Sooner or later they want more connection with nature and, by extension, with themselves. The United States was colonized and founded by brave settlers, who undertook a perilous journey to settle hostile and wild lands, and built a great, prosperous civilization in record time. Yet that same prosperity and interdependence is now contributing towards our undoing. If we want to get freedom and to keep it, we must not forget the hardships and psychology of the people who so famously fought for their freedoms, and try to cultivate that in both our own lives and our children's lives.