Invitation to Liberty

by David E. Shellenberger on March 6, 2013

Today I added a video introduction to my website. Thank you to James Nicoloro for his excellent work in producing this. I wrote about Mr. Nicoloro in “First Annual Mark Twain Conference.” The text version of the video follows this preface. 

Almost three years ago, I wrote, in “Libertarianism: The Compassionate Political Philosophy”:

Libertarianism is the compassionate political philosophy. It seeks to limit the natural tendency of government to wreak harm, while preserving the liberty of individuals to exercise true compassion.

In November of 2012, in “If You Need Me On Election Day…”, I observed that I could no longer support even limited government:

Over the past few years, my philosophical views have evolved, influenced by what I have read, the people I have met, and the exercise of reason. Today it is official: I am an anarchist.

If it is lonely to be a libertarian, it is even lonelier to be an anarchist. But seeing and speaking the truth is the source of philosophical happiness, and I am happy as an anarchist, unencumbered by the contradictions and rationalizations required to support the state.

Anarchy simply means ‘no ruler.’ I do not want or need a ruler. I want liberty, liberty unconstrained by any government.

If libertarianism is the compassionate political philosophy, then, in the spectrum of libertarianism, anarchism is the most compassionate. Those of us support anarchism do so based on the true nature of government and the harm actually done by government. What drives us is compassion.


 Invitation to Liberty

Would you like to live in peace? Would you like to be more prosperous? Would you like to make your own decisions? The ideas of liberty may appeal to you.

I’ve been a libertarian for decades. For many years, I worked as an attorney. I fought fraud and abuse by the investment industry.

I’ve concluded that the greatest fraud is government. Now I’m a libertarian commentator, covering the globe.

Where I Stand

Libertarianism is a political philosophy, calling for limited — or no — government. I favor no government as the ideal. This is called anarchism. Anarchy simply means no ruler.

Many people believe government is a necessary evil. I believe it is evil and unnecessary.

I support people who fight for downsizing government. However, like Henry David Thoreau, I encourage “striking at the root.”

Why Government Is Wrong 

Government is wrong for both moral and utilitarian reasons. 

Moral Reasons 

The origin of government is conquest, not consent.

Government acts through violence and the threat of violence. It claims the power to do what you and I know is wrong:

  • To steal, calling this taxation.
  • To coerce, forcing compliance with its mountains of laws and regulations.
  •  And to kill, through unnecessary wars.

Utilitarian Reasons

Government does the opposite of what it claims to do:

  • It claims to help the poor, but it creates poverty by limiting economic freedom and encouraging dependency.
  • It claims to protect us, but it creates crime and abuses us.
  • It claims to defend us, but it creates enemies and seeks war.

Government is also the worst provider of any service. The free market is the best.

 A Path Chosen

I promote international liberty because I believe fighting for freedom is the moral path. I share the hope that ultimately people will recognize government as illegitimate, and stop supporting it.

Whatever the future holds, however, I suggest we have a duty:

  • To speak truth to power.
  • To be a witness to evil.
  • To strive to free people from the chains of government, so we can lead more peaceful, prosperous, and dignified lives.

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