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IPFS News Link • Philosophy: Libertarianism

The Disaster of Libertarian Reform of Socialism

•, by Jacob G. Hornberger

After all, I had attended 12 years of public (i.e., government) schools, four years of a state-supported college, and then three years of a state-supported law school. Given that indoctrination is the aim of every governmental educational system, I was, in the words of the songwriter Lee Greenwood, proud to be an American because at least I knew I was free.

And then I discovered libertarianism. It was a Road to Damascus experience for me. Immediately, the inches-thick layer of indoctrination that had encased my mind for more than 25 years began cracking apart. I was recognizing that it had all been a lie. I wasn't free at all. I was living in a society in which people's lives, fortunes, and activities were controlled and managed by government.

It was at that moment that I decided that I wanted to be free. I decided that I wanted to experience what it was like to live the life of a free person before I passed from this life. After all, we've all been given only one life to live. I figured that I wanted to live that one life in freedom.

That meant (1) defining what freedom actually is; (2) identifying the infringements on liberty; and (3) getting those infringements removed. If all we accomplish is a reform of an infringement, then we haven't achieved freedom because freedom necessarily entails the removal, not the reform, of infringements on liberty.

Libertarian reformers and school vouchers

As I began delving into libertarianism, however, I learned that there were other libertarians who had decided to devote their lives to welfare-warfare state reform. I could not understand why they would do that. Surely, they understood that even if they succeeded in achieving their reforms, they still would not be free. Why would they settle for reform, which left their serfdom intact, rather than fight for actual freedom?