31 May 2011

Our Mutual Cynicism

Whenever I discuss politics with other people, there always comes a point in the conversation where I recommend that people be given more freedom.  With conservatives, this recommendation usually comes in reference to drugs or traffic laws.  With liberals, this recommendation usually comes in reference to regulation, particularly regulation that is concerned consumer safety.

You would think that I am advocating forced suicide with the way people react to the suggestion that people be given more freedom.  People simply cannot accept that people would behave responsibly if they were expected to live responsibly.

For some reason, most of the people with whom I discuss politics seem to think that they are the only ones capable of behaving logically, and that everyone else in the world is complete moron who must be coddled and directed by the government.  Basically, everyone (except for themselves, of course) is unable to handle freedom.
I refer to this mindset as “our mutual cynicism” because everyone to whom I've talked thinks this way.  I have no idea why this is the case, why everyone views everybody else as morons.  All I know is that they do.

Even though a good portion of all the people in this world are unintelligent and ignorant, it is still possible to trust them with freedom.  They are self-interested, after all.  Trying to get ahead has the amazing effect of keeping people focused on accomplishing what they need to do to get ahead.  This is why legalizing drugs will not lead to an utter debasement of the population.  And it is why consumers will not start buying “lemons” in bulk if the regulatory agencies are shut down.

At this point, then, it has proven difficult to show that people’s greed trump their stupidity, which is why you can generally trust people with freedom.  Of course, if people really are as stupid as everyone appears to claim, why then would you give them coercive power over others?


  1. Same here.

    The way that most people see it, freedom is FOR THEM. Coercion is only to be used on OTHER PEOPLE.

    That's how politicians divide the population up into mutually antagonistic factions in order to control them.

  2. Politics is being able to appeal to others' arrogance.