3. Freedom from Everyone Else

Joe wants to crank up his stereo. Fred wants peace and quiet. If they are near each other one will have to give up his freedom to the other – no matter what the law has to say on the matter.

When people are around each other, there must be some give and take. The libertarian vision that “your right to swing your fist ends at the other person’s chin” can be a burden when there are “chins” everywhere. Civilization has its many benefits, but it comes with a significant price tag. Thus, for many to more completely experience freedom, it is necessary to “get away from it all.”

That’s right; there is a fundamental freedom vision to the deep environmentalists’ dream of maintaining unowned open spaces. There is even a freedom vision to calls to reduce overpopulation. True, the methods that some of these people want to use to impose their vision may be authoritarian, but there is a freedom component there.

Alas, many of the lovers of capitalism, private property, and limited government fail to see this vision. This is not helped by environmentalists who want to destroy other freedoms. It is time both flavors of freedom lovers worked together.

Of course, running off into the woods is not a practical method to experience freedom on a daily basis for most people. People generally live near one another and work closer yet. There will be conflicts.

These conflicts can be mitigated by freedom of association. Those who desire quiet should be able to form quiet neighborhoods without imposing stringent noise codes on the entire town. Those who are sensitive should be allowed a politically correct workplace while others should be able to work elsewhere without speech codes. To accommodate many tastes requires real diversity. It requires decentralization of government, freedom of contract and a greater multiplicity of workplaces.

I realize I tread on dangerous ground with that last paragraph. Some of the laws that need review are dearly loved as they were created to fight the evil of racism. But the fact that they were needed in the first place was due to a combination of government-mandated segregation and terrorist actions by racist whites. Private employers who wanted to treat the races equally were under serious threats. Mandating integration of private organizations was necessary to offset these things. Fortunately, Martin Luther King was extremely successful in his crusade, and racism is far less popular. His face should be on one of our coins (my choice: the dime).

But remember, freedom of association in the workplace requires a choice of workplaces to shop from, else there will be discrimination against some group, no matter what the law says. And when I speak of freedom of association, I speak in terms of tastes, not of race. I mention the racial integration laws as they have been expanded way beyond ending racial discrimination. If you feel these laws are still necessary, so be it. Let us first focus on making such laws obviously unnecessary before reconsidering their existence.

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