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Peace in the Free Market/Libertarian Movement

(See also Put Your Hands Up In The Air For Peace! and Peace Art.)

My comments on Mario Rizzo’s great post Peace:


You know, in honor of the end of Anthropogenic Global Warming and the doubtless onset of global cooling, maybe we should strive for a cooling (warming?) of the cold war between people who should be allies.

In the past there have been personal battles between various libertarian, Austrian, and free market factions. Despite any merits of various participants in these disputes, nothing much has changed as a result of these petty squabbles over the last couple decades, except a waste of time and energy of all involved, and possible alienation of potential new adherents and students.

As Rizzo said, little headway has been made by either side with opponents on the other side, as a result of personal fighting, nitpicking, and battling.

From what I can see, some progress, reconciliation, has been made in recent years, and that this has been the result not of personal attacks and arguing, but as the result of the power of attraction as Read explained. Our steadfast devotion to libertarian principle, our incessant work in the service of liberty and sound economics, has gradually worn down some of our opponents and warmed their hearts towards us (I will not mention names but I have some firm ones in mind; and I am grateful to them). It has made them realize we are allies, not enemies. That we are principled, and honorable–not horrible and nasty.

We also need to realize our fellow libertarians and free market economists are our allies in a grand struggle.

We should renew our commitment to our primary goals of advancing the principles of liberty and sound economics. We should commit to eschewing time-wasting personal battles and internecine squabbles, and to using that freed time to fighting our enemy–the state, and economic illiteracy. I call on our Austrian, free-market, libertarian, liberal, and classical liberal brothers to join us. We should just move forward; considering the slate to be wiped clean, even if this is a fiction.

If future personal attacks arise, we should ignore them, and focus on working for liberty and wisdom, and hoping and praying for our separated brethren.

Let us all in the liberal community renew our commitment to each other, to our core values, and to our cause.

As for Read and the power of attraction, he wrote:

Attraction is the best answer to influencing others creatively. Daily experiences supply evidence to support this conclusion. If one would influence another to become a better cook or golfer, he should increase his own proficiency at cooking or golfing. He should attain a perfection, a leader ship, a head-of-the-class status that would attract others to draw on him. No person is influenced to greater creative activity on any subject by one who is inferior on that subject. Influence of one on another in upgrading materialistically, intellectually, spiritually–is by attraction only.

One can do things to others destructively, but not creatively. Creatively, one must confine himself to what he can do for others. One can do things for others materialistically by having money or tools to lend or give, or goods and services to exchange; intellectually by having knowledge and understanding; spiritually by possessing insights that can be imparted to those who want them.

Self-interest can best be served by minding one’s own business-that is, by the process of self-perfection. It isn’t that this idea has been tried and found wanting; it is that it has been tried and too often found difficult, and thus rejected. Actually, coercive meddling in other people’s affairs has its origin in the rejection of self-perfection.

Many persons conclude that they can easily improve others in ways they refuse to attempt on themselves. This is an absurd conclusion. Thus it is that in our dealings with our fellow men, we so often try to coerce them into likenesses of our own little images instead of trying to make of ourselves images that are attractive and worth emulating.

(Read’s words also call to mind those of Nock: “The only thing we can do to improve society, he declared, ‘is to present society with one improved unit.” Let each person direct his efforts at himself or herself, not others; or as Voltaire put it, ‘Il faut cultiver notre jardin.'”

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • DixieFlatline December 4, 2009, 1:59 pm

    Words are just words. It will be interesting to see who can live up to being the bigger man.

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