I’ve realized that the objections to allowing people to have real individual freedom are all rooted in a bias toward top-down thinking. If you believe that you must know about (and approve of) the plans other people would make for themselves before you’re willing to allow everyone to live as they want in a free society, it means you want to substitute your judgement for what others might decide.
When an intelligent person comes to a realization about something, the first thing he normally wants to do is read more about the idea — to make sure he’s on the right track and to learn to explain his new beliefs. For those who’ve just become libertarians and want to join the political process, for instance, there’s plenty of reading material. But I’m not sure what all is out there for those who’ve decided to reject the state political process and investigate alternatives.
The first book where I encountered the notion that the nation-state was eventually going away was “The Great Reckoning,” by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg. The book came out in the ’90s and the economic situation hasn’t played out as bleakly as the authors expected, but the book’s analysis of the future of the nation-state was an eye-opener for me.
Another book that was influential for me was Harry Browne’s classic from the ’70s, “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.” He was coming from such a different perspective — one outside the larger political and economic system — that it was unsettling at first.
What books have influenced you on your path toward giving up on the state? What would you recommend for others who are just starting to struggle with it and want to firm up what they believe? You can answer in the comments or send me email. I’ll compile all the suggestions and post them for everybody after I have enough to make it worthwhile.
When King John of England signed the Magna Carta in 1215, it had to be a shock to some of the people who lived under his rule. They had grown up believing that the king had the divine right to do pretty much whatever he pleased, but the upper classes forced King John to offer concessions in certain areas. I’m certain that some people then believed that what was being done to their king was wrong, because they believed what they had been taught — that he had the right to rule.
When slaves were freed after the War Between the States in this country, we’re told that many of them were hesitant to accept the freedom and responsibility that had been given to them. Many of them continued to live on the same plantations — doing the same work for the same people — after they were free.