There is a reason why totalitarian dictatorships shut down organizations like The Future of Freedom Foundation. They understand the dangers of truth and sound ideas on liberty. They understand that truth and sound ideas on liberty can sweep across a nation and quickly inflame the hearts and minds of individuals, to such a point that even the most omnipotent of governments can be brought down.
After all, think about it: A totalitarian regime has total power over its citizenry. It has all the guns. Why should it fear people who are disclosing the truth about the regime and spreading sound ideas on liberty? It’s because it understands the power of truth and the power of sound ideas on liberty to transform a society.
Unfortunately, many libertarians have given up. They have concluded that the welfare-warfare state way of life is here to stay — that it is just too big — that it has become a permanent feature of American life. Thus, they have decided to devote their lives to reform — toward improving our lot in life as serfs by reforming welfare-warfare state programs, departments, and agencies. Things like saving or privatizing Social Security, health-saving accounts, income-tax reform, reining in the IRS, school vouchers, drug-war reform, regulatory reform, getting libertarian-oriented conservatives appointed to regulatory commissions, getting libertarians elected to school boards, CIA reform, Pentagon reform, surveillance reform, immigration reform, FISA-court reform, foreign interventionism reform — reform, reform, reform.
But reform is not freedom, not even when it is called freedom. To achieve freedom, it is necessary to dismantle, repeal, or abolish infringements on freedom. Reforming infringements on liberty leaves infringements intact.
Over the years, reform-oriented libertarians have criticized me for pointing toward the freedom achievements of 19th-century Americans. They say that I’m claiming that the 19th century was a “libertarian panacea.” They don’t want people’s attention focused on the positive freedom achievements of the 19th century.
Contrary to what my reform-oriented critics have said, I have never claimed that the 19th century was a libertarian panacea. I fully understand that there were some bad things that happened in the 19th century, such as slavery, the Civil War, and violation of women’s rights.
Why then do I focus people’s attention on the 19th century? Because that century shows that it is possible to achieve many of the uncompromising principles that FFF has enunciated for 32 years.
Reflect on the type of society in which Americans in 1880 lived: No income tax or IRS, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, education grants, farm subsidies, corporate bailouts, stimulus packages, Federal Reserve System, fiat (i.e., paper) money, drug war, immigration controls, economic regulations, minimum-wage laws, price controls, rent controls, occupational licensure, antitrust laws, public (i.e., government) schooling systems, Pentagon, CIA, NSA, FBI, state-sponsored assassinations, kidnapping, torture, indefinite detention, secret prison camps, foreign alliances, foreign interventions, coups, foreign aid, sanctions, and embargoes.
That type of society existed. That is indisputable. I say: Let’s start there as a baseline for freedom.
Twentieth-century Americans abandoned all of those achievements and chose to adopt instead a socialist welfare-state, regulated-economy system. Later, they decided to convert their founding governmental system of a limited-government republic to a national-security state form of governmental structure, which came with empire, foreign interventionism, and dark-side practices that are inherent to totalitarian regimes.That’s why our nation is now mired in a statist morass.
If 20th-century Americans could change their system to something bad, then there is no reason why 21st-century Americans can’t change their system to something good. All that we need is a critical mass of Americans who wish to restore the sound founding principles of our nation and build on them, with the aim of bringing into existence the freest, most prosperous, most peaceful, and most harmonious nation in history.
How do we achieve that critical mass? By adhering strictly to the truth about the welfare-warfare state way of life and by spreading sound ideas on liberty. By doing that, we find those people who want liberty and who are passionately committed to achieving it, which can then bring us the society for which we yearn.