Friday, December 18, 2015

Liberty without ideology?

Some pessimists think that positive change cannot happen unless everyone consciously embraces the ideology of liberty. 

Incremental political change requires popular support. But we hope to see profound paradigmatic change. Does this sort of change require broad conscious ideological consensus? The change from hunter-gatherer society to agriculture (and hence the birth of the primitive state) probably wasn't driven by a wide-spread ideological change (though maybe in a bad way, since it may have been imposed by conquest). The change from feudalism to capitalism was mostly about "I can eat more if I do that." How hard is it to believe that the state would become irrelevant if someone devised something that worked better and was more fun? Would everyone have to read Rothbard first? 
We face the challenge of getting a critical mass of persons to successfully ignore (#irrelevateTheState) the state. How big must it grow before it reaches a tipping point? The first persons involved have to know some ideology. After we achieve critical mass, all anyone has to know is "Wow, no taxes!" or "Gosh, jobs for poor people!" or just "Fun!" We need some innovators and early adopters to come up with something that works, and then the product will sell itself to the rest.

I hope that what we come up with makes it easier for the average person to understand the world we live in, but I doubt we will ever see a world where this describes the majority. 

That might sound elitist. I hope it actually has more to do with pluralism. Different people have different talents, interests, beliefs, histories and passions. Not all of us like to sit around obsessing about history or politics or economic theory. Some will make their contribution in another area. If our ideas demand that people live up to unrealistic expectations, they will fail. So we must answer the question, how can realistic expectations move us toward the reality we prefer?

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