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Philosophy of Liberty Offers Solid Footing for Slippery Modern Life

You own your life. To deny this is to imply that another person has a higher claim on your life than you do. No other person, or group of persons, owns your life, nor do you own the lives of others.

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WealthCycles Commentary

Libertarianism is based in the “Philosophy of Liberty,” the notion that each individual is owner of his or her own life, past, present and future. This flash video of the same title, created by Kerry Pearson, a.k.a. “Lux Lucre,” has gone viral, featured on innumerable Libertarian and free market Websites. The filmmaker, Pearson, was renowned for his ability to explain the complexities of topics through the use of flash videos. Pearson died from complications from diabetes at age 41 leaving behind a body of work supporting freethinking, including right to personal property.

The animated film was developed from the prologue of Ken Schoolland’s The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: Global Fun With the Dismal Science, a children’s book on economics, government intervention, and free markets that has been published in 45 languages and is used in many schools. Schoolland is an Associate Professor of Economics at Hawaii Pacific University, president of the International Society for Individual Liberty, and a Sam Walton Fellow for Students in Free Enterprise.

The video begins with the principle of self-ownership.

You own your life. To deny this is to imply that another person has a higher claim on your life than you do. No other person, or group of persons, owns your life, nor do you own the lives of others.

The video goes on to establish the individual’s existence in relationship to time, explaining that every person exists in the past, the present and the future. The future is one’s life, the present is one’s liberty, and the past is represented by the products of one’s life and liberty.

To lose your LIFE is to lose your FUTURE; to lose your LIBERTY is to lose your PRESENT; and to lose the product of your LIFE and LIBERTY is to lose that portion of your PAST that produced it.

The key to the Philosophy of Liberty:

A product of your LIFE and your LIBERTY is your PROPERTY.
“You have the right to protect your own life, liberty and justly acquired property from the forceful aggression of others.”

The right of property ownership is a key ingredient of individual liberty. The ability to freely use your individual property and exchange it, voluntarily, with other individuals, thus gaining something of value from the transaction, is the grist that feeds the mill of freedom.

There are times, however, when a person or group of persons attempt to take property from individuals by force or fraud. When force or fraud is used to confiscate property, it is called theft. Society requires that officials such as legislators and police be selected to help protect against illegal confiscation.

You have the right to seek leaders for yourself, but you have not the right to impose rulers onto others. No matter how leaders are selected, they are only human beings, and they have no rights or claims that are higher than those of any other human beings.

Unfortunately, in the real world, elected leaders, who are after all only human, are often vulnerable to greed and a thirst for power, which can to the theft or confiscation of private property from those being governed. U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, known for his Libertarian ideals, has repeatedly talked about the ill effects of government out of control. As Paul stated in a 2011 NPR interview:

During the Industrial Revolution, big government and big corporations became pretty good buddies, and they quite freely polluted our air and our water…
This [the clean-up of air and water] could be managed in a free market society if you have strict respect for private property...  Property rights are very, very important.

Paul’s comments mirror the Philosophy of Liberty and its reverence for the concept of private property as a cornerstone of its ideas:

 [The right to ownership of private property] is the basis of a truly free society. It is not only the most practical and humanitarian foundation for human action, it is also the most ethical.
As expressed in the film, the Philosophy of Liberty is eloquent in its simplicity. In a complex and fast-moving modern society, in which absolutes are few and far between, the Philosophy of Liberty offers a touchstone on which to ground our everyday actions and decisions.