In the essay titled "What Is Freedom?", mention is made of a small set of foundational principles upon which all free living amongst each other is based. I wrote that sharing a common political basis does not entail a morbid lockstep mentality wherein people are forced to live a one-size-fits-all life. Quite the contrary, all that is required is the acceptance and practice of a very small set of fundamental propositions that allow for expansively broad avenues of choice in how one may live. Likewise, those principles impose vanishingly few restrictions that all reasonable people will recognize as rational and obvious.
Our goal here shall be to derive those principles and elaborate upon them in some detail in order to paint what will hopefully be a clear, complete, rational, and truthful picture of the foundations of Freedom and Personal Liberty. This set constitutes what I call the "Canon of Individual Sovereignty" and is comprised of three Cadinal Principles which, were people to live by them, the universe of human affairs would find itself vastly improved.
The one assumption that may be said to underpin these principles is that of equal claims to life, what most people would refer to as "equal rights". This supposition, when considered carefully, is the only one of this sort that makes any sense, particularly when viewed in contrast to its negation, which would assert that people do not have equal right, which is to say equal claims, to life. The assertion of inequality means that the claim to life is different for some people in relation to others. Such an assertion leads to quite a shopping list of very thorny questions whose answers either do not exist or are painfully unsatisfying. For example, if our claims to life are not equal, in what ways are they not? Whose claims are greater? Even if one set of claims is not "greater" than another in any objective sense, they are still different. Given such a difference, who decides who enjoys one set and not another? Upon what basis is the determination made, and who establishes the standard of judgment? As the typically unsatisfying answers to such questions are made by those supporting such a position, new questions arise endlessly.
The results of rejecting the assumption of equal claim are inelegant, arbitrary, and so very obviously false as to merit no further consideration. Yet, the exercise of raising and answering such questions in demonstration of these truths is indispensable as a device whereby one learns through first hand experience, rather than on blind faith and rote.
Compare that with the opposite proposition, that all people hold equal claims to life. The litany of problem-laden questions never arises, which is one of several indicators that this is, in fact, the correct and sufficient case.
Behold, then, the Canon.
The Canon Of Individual Sovereignty
The natural and self evident status of each Individual Man is that of a Sovereign Being. This truth is particularly important where questions and considerations of the Individual’s existence with and about his Fellows arise, for if he is alone, there is no other to trespass upon him. Man’s sovereign status derives directly from a single fundamental postulate that is at once both elegant and intuitively obvious such that little analytic consideration is required in divining its truth value. Once accepted, this single assumption leads promptly and axiomatically, to the Body of Principles that apodictically demonstrate and enshrine the complete basis by which One arrives at a more complete Truth. This premise, the Cardinal Postulate, states:
0. All men hold equal Just Claims to Life.
It serves well to note the reference to “Just” Claims. Whereas, Men may endeavor to confabulate all manner of arbitrary claims upon Life that are of an ill-reasoned and therefore unjust and illegitimate nature that at times borders on the idiotic, there exists a small set of Claims to Life that are just, proper, and are shared equally by all People. A Just Claim, being a Right, the equal Just Claims to Life held by All are otherwise referred to as their Equal Rights.
From the Cardinal Postulate follow the Cardinal Principles of Just Claim. Behold:
The Principle of Self Ownership.
The Principle of Freedom of Action.
2. The absolute right to freely think and act in accord with one's own Will
The Principle of Private Property
3. The right to freely acquire, keep, and dispose of Property
There exists but a single fundamental restriction by which All must abide.
The Cardinal Prohibittion:
-1 No One may trespass upon the Equal Rights of Others
Do what Thou wilt, but trespass not upon thy Brethren. No man may own another. No man may exercise ownership rights upon another nor may he act in a manner tantamount to this. No man may command another, save by the explicit permission of those over whom he commands.
Thus Endeth the Canon.
What Does It All Mean?
In short, it means that free people are entitled to live as they please, free from interference from anyone, especially members of that often villainous mob to which we refer as "government". Furthermore, it means that no free man is to be governed in any way whatsoever. So long as one causes no material harm to others, they are free to do whatever they wish, even if the doing brings harm to oneself. Freedom of action under will, coupled with the single responsibility not to trespass against others; that is what it means to be truly free.
Governance is only for those who refuse to govern themselves in accord with the basic principles of freedom. Governance should come into play ONLY after a violation of someone's rights has occurred or while it is occurring. Instead, we have government interfering with our choices on a daily basis. It reaches far into our lives, yet so few appear either to notice or they simply accept it as proper for whatever the reason.
Freedom is exhilarating and scary as hell all at once. It allows for perfect freedom of choice but holds each of us accountable for those we make. The question facing us today is whether we want real freedom or the gilt cage of pretty slavery, living at the pleasure and deign of others as we lie to ourselves, calling it "freedom". Each and every one of us must make the decision as to what it is we really want. Each of us will make it, whether explicitly or by default. The question there for each of us is how shall we be heard, by standing tall and making our wills known with strength and clarity of spirit and purpose, or by skulking in the shadows in avoidance of even that much responsibility for ourselves?
What shall it be for you? What legacy is it that you wish to leave your grandchildren and their posterity? Freedom is strength and slavery is weakness, yet today pretty slavery is peddled by those in power as freedom. But if you read the good works of people dedicated to the ideas of true freedom, including those found here, you will have no excuse for choosing ignorantly. My only admonition to you is the warning to take all due care considering your choice and be very circumspect of that for which you wish because there are no free lunches anywhere in this world to be had. They do not exist, and therefore you are behooved to regard with great suspicion men bearing gifts. Everything has its price and no matter how you may try to avoid paying, pay you shall. The only question there is what, exactly, are you buying?
Until next time, please accept my best wishes.