Making Liberty Palatable: A Discussion

Libertarians are notorious (sometimes more like infamous) for phrases like, “taxation is theft,” “end the Fed,” and “abolish the Department of Education,” just to give a few examples. It is important for liberty-minded individuals to realize that while these rallying cries are wonderful in like-minded circles, to people that have not been educated on the history behind such bold statements, they come off as the epitome of what is wrong with the libertarian philosophy.

To people outside of the movement, “taxation is theft,” is the prime example of how all libertarians are simply out for themselves, full of greed and lacking all empathy. I urge my fellow activists to save this phrase, save it until the end. Save it for after you have already had a conversation with people. When people are shouting this phrase, they are shouting a conclusion. We need to be explaining our reasoning though, before we get to the ending judgment. When speaking about taxation, go back to the inception. Explain that there is no law on the books that forces people to hand over their income to the IRS. Explain how the entirety of the income taxes taken from citizens of the United States funds debt payments on a corrupt banking system. Explain how no tax money goes towards social safety net programs. Explain that if any organization or person other than the federal government took property without express consent, they would be jailed; this scenario would be a crime. Then, and only then, say that this is why libertarians say that taxation is theft.

This is now a perfect transition to talk about the second example of ending the Federal Reserve. Again, go back to the beginning. Explain what powers pushed through the Federal Reserve act of 1913. Show them the crashes brought about by the banking interests in order to get their way. Present flow charts and diagrams about the consolidation and monopolization of the market. Explain the corrupt reasons why ending the gold standard gave more power to the bank (and bankers) that make up the Fed. Show how even when the argument was to create stability, that this consolidation was one of the key points that led to the orchestration of the Great Depression. Most importantly, show how unsustainable this system is. As the Federal Reserve lends currency to the government, which lends to the banks, debt is created – with no way of ever paying it back. The U.S. is now $19 trillion in debt and in a system that makes it impossible to ever get out. This is now when it is appropriate to say why libertarians believe in ending the Federal Reserve.

Libertarians are often viewed as elitists that do not care about the children of low-income individuals. This is almost unilaterally untrue, but with such arguments as, “abolish the Department of Education,” it is understandable coming from those outside of our circles. One of the best ways to sway someone would be appealing to the conversation that you just had. Would students educated in a public education system ever be taught about the downsides of their government? Well, in short, no. The public education system will turn out the exact students that the government paid for. Dissent is not something that is often stressed. The quality of public education in the United States is atrocious as well, ranking 35th out of 64 in math and 27th in science on the cross-national tests in the Program for International Student Assessment. Shouldn’t students and parents be able to opt for better programs that are enhanced by innovation and competition that comes along with a free-market education system? Libertarians generally believe that this answer is yes. It is also crucial that one goes into detail about the counter arguments and downsides of what this legislation would bring, because there are, and we should acknowledge them if we are being consistent with truth and reason.

Admittedly, you are going to lose people by using this methodology. There are some that will get extraordinarily bored with the historical conversation, and they will leave. Ask yourself, would you really want them on your side? If someone is only interested in catch phrases or simple-minded analogies – downgraded into fun little quips – they probably will not make a great asset to your team. Acknowledge this. Quality is most certainly better than quantity in such a philosophically driven political ideology, and we need people that can handle digging through exorbitant amounts of research and data in order to find their own conclusions.

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