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It’s hard to win the war on ideas when your only strategy is to hurl insults, not solutions, at those who find themselves off the beaten path of “conventional” norms.
The past two weeks, the outrage mob has spat poison at Lisa Simpson, hotel shampoo, Kanye West and a prom dress.
In today’s world, this seems to be a losing strategy for winning hearts and minds. (On the political front, it’s in large part why the Democratic party is losing millennials in droves.)
Three things happened these past two weeks that, in my eyes, should inspire optimism in anyone who wishes for a better, less venomous future.
Kim Jong Un considers peace -- and was giddy as a schoolgirl when he rode a roller coaster with a British diplomat.
Kanye West delivers a message of free thought and radical tolerance (yes, he loves Trump, but it’s my firm belief a man should be allowed to love whoever he wants. It is 2018, after all).
Candace Owens, who has risen to become a popular voice in conservative circles, talks about black empowerment through prison reform, education reform and strengthening community and familial ties (her main talking points).
Notice the difference.
These are concrete, potential solutions regarding longstanding problems.
Not outright demands on any one person or group of people. Opportunities for discussion.
Of course, within the Mass Media Complex, these things have either been downplayed or met with sheer outrage. No synthesis. No picking apart the ideas. Just junk.
“I think there’s a tremendous opportunity here,” Candace Owens said during her interview on the Rubin Report. “The media is dying a slow and painful death… Hollywood is losing power. People are hungry for truth. People are waking up.”
The tremendous opportunity people are waking up to, from our vantage point, is something that, in the marketplace of ideas, libertarians have known all along:
Good ideas don’t require force. If you want to do something, effect change, you don’t need anyone else to change first.
Sure, there are plenty of reasons to be pessimistic and outraged. And if you look for what you want to see, you’ll always find it.
But, while the political sphere has completely melted down and those who wish for more government control have become more and more bitterly incoherent, liberty, behind the scenes, has made great strides.
Today, on that note, we invite Geoffrey Pike of the Libertarian Investment blog to the show.
Acknowledge the gains for liberty, says Pike. Never tire of winning
By Geoffrey Pike
Sometimes we forget to take a step back and look at the big picture. This can happen in our personal lives, but it can also happen when looking at the world around us.
Libertarians in particular tend to be pessimistic. The large majority of articles focus on the infringement of our liberties by the government. There is only a small percentage of libertarian articles that focus on the net gains for liberty, or are just optimistic in nature.
It is true that the U.S. empire continues its attempts to expand. It is true that the surveillance state has grown with technology that has allowed the government to perform mass spying. It is true that we live in a litigious society where bakery owners can get sued for not associating with gay people who want a wedding cake. It is true that we live under an administrative state with tens of thousands of pages of bureaucratic regulations. It is true that the national debt goes much higher every year.
With all of that said, we still need to step back even further and look at the whole picture. The U.S. empire cannot dominate as it did during the world wars, as it faces guerrilla warfare and social resistance from other nations.
The surveillance state may have grown, but technology has allowed the massive decentralization of communication. It has also enabled us to record things in public just by carrying around a smartphone. That is the reason we see so many instances of abuse by police.
We may have a litigious society, and we do not have full freedom of association, but even here technology is minimizing the impacts and will continue to do so. People can do business across the world and mostly avoid government meddling.
The same goes for the massive number of regulations. Although they are burdensome and hamper our economy, actors in the marketplace are always innovating ways to get around the regulations. Again, technology plays a major role here.
And with the national debt, this will eventually be “solved” by economic realities. If interest rates spike and the government is essentially forced to dramatically cut spending, we will benefit greatly in the long term, even if there is short-term pain.
Technology, coupled with the somewhat free market, is changing everything, even if we don’t recognize it day-to-day. Email has already made it clear that the Post Office is unnecessary. And if you need to mail something, there is no reason you can’t use FedEx or UPS or some other carrier.
Even in regards to the disastrous education system, we now have private schools and homeschooling as legitimate alternatives. Homeschooling parents could essentially put together a free curriculum using YouTube videos and other sources on the internet, as long as they have a computer (or tablet) and an internet connection.
We should also recognize that, despite the politically correct world we live in, we are actually a more tolerant society than what existed before. Most people believe in individual rights at least in the sense that individuals should be treated equally before the law, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. I know there are many exceptions here, but consider that we mostly have free speech. During Lincoln’s war in the 19th century, people were locked up for expressing dissent, including journalists and politicians. And it was just in the 1940s when Roosevelt rounded up Japanese-Americans and others and essentially kidnapped them just because of their ethnicity.
If you look at living standards, the last 100 years have seen the greatest improvement ever in terms of people around the world getting out of extreme poverty. The majority of people on this planet actually have access to relatively clean water and food now. They also have access to smartphones.
While the welfare state has grown in the West to a certain extent, we also have to recognize the collapse of communism. The Soviet Union died in 1991. The Russian people are far better off now, and the former Soviet satellites that are now independent nations are mostly better off. This amazingly happened very suddenly and with virtually no violence.
China is still communist in name, but it now resembles more of a Keynesian/ mercantilist command economy than an actual communist economy. The Chinese people are better off for it. They would be even better off if they had a more free market system, but at least there are now hundreds of millions of people who have been able to leave the rural areas of extreme poverty.
And now, in 2018, it looks like the Korean War is finally coming to an end after nearly 7 decades. There has been an armistice since 1953, but the war never officially ended. We may soon see denuclearization, and we can hope for the eventual withdrawal of American troops. It is possible things could reverse back, but the signs are promising. What looked like an escalation a few months ago has now turned into peace.
And if North Korea and South Korea join together, you can bet which one will have a greater influence on the other. As libertarians, we usually favor decentralization. But in this case, the combining of the two states will likely lead to an increase in liberty. North Korea is really the last and closest thing to communism, and that is about to end. The South Koreans are not going to give up their improved living standards to live under a communist regime. If anything, the North will free up its economy.
In conclusion, there are always going to be ups and downs for liberty. But we should recognize that we are getting gains in liberty if we step back and look at the big picture. It is easy to call attention to the times when government grows and liberty wanes, but we don’t always see the net gains in liberty.
We don’t always see the idea of free markets spreading through the world. We don’t always appreciate that technology can slowly replace and crowd out state interference.
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