March 15, 2011

Motivation and a Glorious Heritage

I recently purchased a copy of 'Egalitarianism as  a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays' by Murray N. Rothbard in order to begin brushing up on my academic libertarianism.  I found the conclusion to a particular essay so moving that I feel I need to share it.  The essay is 'Left and Right: The Prospect for Liberty'.  Originally penned in 1965, Rothbard's call for awareness and activity is still poignant nearly a half-century later.

(I know, I know, its a wall of text. Maybe, if you think it'd make this more easily digestable by more people, I'll do a summary/TL;DR).

"What is needed, then, is simply the "subjective conditions" for victory; that is, a growing body of informed libertarians who will spread the message to the peoples of the world that liberty and the purely free market provide the way out of their problems and crises. 
The modern Libertarian has forgotten that the Liberal of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries faced odds much more overwhelming than those which face the Liberal of today; for in that era before the Industrial Revolution, the victory of liberalism was far from inevitable.  And yet the liberalism of that day was not content to remain a gloomy little sect; instead, it unified theory and action.  Liberalism grew and developed as an ideology and, leading and guiding the masses, made the revolution which changed the fate of the world.  By its monumental breakthrough, this revolution of the eighteenth century transformed history from a chronicle of stagnation and despotism to an ongoing movement advancing toward a veritable secular utopia of liberty and rationality and abundance.  The Old Order is dead or moribund; and the reactionary attempts to run a modern society and economy by various throwbacks to the Old Order are doomed to total failure.  The Liberals of the past have left to modern Libertarians a glorious heritage, not only of ideology but of victories against far more devastating odds.
For the Libertarian, the main task of the present epoch is to cast off his needless and debilitating pessimism, to set his sights on long-run victory and to set out on the road to its attainment.  To do this, he must, perhaps first of all, drastically realign his mistaken view of the ideological spectrum; he must discover who his friends and natural allies are, and above all perhaps, who his enemies are.  Armed with this knowledge, let him proceed in the spirit of radical long-run optimism that one of the great figures in the history of libertarian thought, Randolph Bourne, correctly identified as the spirit of youth."

This has really motivated me to get more active, and I'd love to get feedback from you all on it.  

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