The beauty of freedom


As I was walking through Westminster earlier, I saw something really quite beautiful. A red Ferrari 599 was parked next to a silver Prius Hybrid (Pious Hybrid to those of you who watch South Park). Beautiful as the red car is, and no matter how great a demonstration it is of what a capitalist production system can achieve, this is nothing compared to what it represents next to the Prius. That is the fact that in a free, or free-ish society, Ferrari-owner and Prius-owner can happily coexist.

This is something quite unique about liberty, which simply cannot be countered by those on the statist/socialist left wing. In a free society, people can happily organise themselves along communitarian, environmentalist or even socialist lines if they so choose, as long as they don’t initiate force against those who do not wish to live that way. They can drive a hybrid car, recycle their trash, or even give away all their wealth to charitable causes. In a controlled statist society, libertarians would not be allowed to live along the lines they chose to follow.

This clash of ideologies is perhaps worth remembering with tax freedom day about a month away. In a free-ish society, individuals (like Warren Buffet a few years ago) who feel guilty for their owning wealth and don’t regard that day as a day to celebrate at all, are all entitled to give more than demanded of them to the tax man, or to a charity of their choosing. The crucial difference is that under a government that doesn’t have any respect for liberty, that option is absent – there is no choice whether to comply or not.