The Captian makes a great case for it in his book, which I have not read yet but do plan to order, about how to live our lives. One thing he has mentioned frequently is that there is no reasoning stressing about things that you have no control over whatsoever. The fact is that nothing I do, short of being a modern day Moses, will change what is going to happen. So don't waste your time worrying. And for the most part I do a good job. But there are days when I get reminded about the one uncomfortable truth that explains why we are in this decline.
Most Americans, most people on this globe, most people in history, do not understand what liberty is. And they don't care. In fact, the majority of people are hostile to liberty.The last assertion is a very serious claim to make, but unfortunately, I have concluded that it is undeniably true; or it appears that way to me on my morose days. Sure people care about having freedom for themselves, and maybe their close associates, but they couldn't care less about the freedom of the other person two towns over, much less a thousand miles a way. How else can you explain anti-smoking laws, the FDA using paramilitary to storm raw milk vendors, or the call for individuals to have greater government involvement in our lives?
I have literally meet individuals that have stated they don't care that government restricts x, the right to bear arms, as long as they grant y, for example free health care. Never mind the demonstrably atrocious job the government has done with education or even managing their own check books. These individuals cannot, or will not, discern that social services are not rights. Free health care, education and a guaranteed standard of living is nice, of course ignoring the dire economic ramifications of robbing Peter to pay Paul, but they aren't innate rights. To speak our mind, to move with out hindrance, to stake our claim, those are rights. You are born with them, given by God if you will.
Yet the fact remains that individuals will gladly give up their rights if they think it will make them more comfortable. American leftists, Cuba and free health care is a great example. Never mind that Castro treated his own people like second class citizens, creating segregated beaches and hotels for wealthy tourists only, his country has free health care (with the best care going to the most equal citizens of course)! American conservatism, as it exists now, is little better, as evident by the treatment of it's libertarian wing of its party. (I am looking at you Mr. Medved. It is hard to reconcile how someone so smart, can be so stupid when it comes to libertarians, save for the fact that you were once a leftist and even now are a conservative progressive.)
And this isn't just a phenomena limited to mordern day America, sadly no. Read enough history and you will see that this is true even of America in yesteryear. There were always calls for government action, for handouts, for favorable treatment (how else do you think those railroads got made?) but we lived in a unique period were it was far more limited and the national government far more concerned with the expansion of our nation that the legislation of our lives. And this leaves me with a depressing paradox. The paradox of libertarianism we can call it.
Given my assessment of human nature a true libertarian society, on a large national scale, can only exist if:
a) Human beings are able to divorce their concept of freedom from the narrow and the selfish to the the wide and selfless
b) That if human beings can never get past their selfish notion of freedom then we must have enlightened leaders that can ensure that the anti-liberty agendas of various individuals never be codified into law.
You can see my problem here. Point a) assumes something that is impossible at this current place and time of human development, and I think may never be possible. My metamorphisis to libertarianism wasn't an easy process, and it only began once I came to terms with the fact that I did not truly understand, love, or really want freedom. It took years of feeling uneasy intellectually and a solid year of hard self reflection until I emerged a libertarian. Libertarianism, much like steel, isn't something you see very often naturally, it comes through passing the mental cruciable, much like forging steel, and only at the end of that mental cruciable do you get a true libertarian.
As for point b) well if point b) were possible, well, then we wouldn't be in the crisis we are in today now would we? This raises serious questions, in my mind at least, about the ability for us to ever achieve a society that truly value freedom. Though this could change, and new information be brought to my attention to change my opinion, the depressing truth as I have seen it. Is that people don't care about liberty provided they get what they want.