Crisis and Liberty

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The world has been gripped by crisis and they profess to be in uncharted territory. These leaders, with their appointed academic degree laden advisors tell the nation that what they are dealing with is surely a new thing, and yet they take away any ability for there to be a spontaneous social solution in the Hayekian sense by depriving people of their liberty. They claim mass ignorance on our parts and ultimate enlightenment on theirs. Who are the forebearers of this enlightenment one might ask? Well, the ever so enlightened Chinese Communist Party of course! 

The absurdity of a crisis has gripped the mental capacities of men whom even I thought were steadfast bearers of liberty’s flame. A crisis as declared by the very institution we are supposed to be ever vigilant of, has made a large contingent of citizens, even those men who are supposed to guard over the rights of their fellow men, jurists, enforcers and cheerleaders for the state’s authoritarian measures. 

Human action has been limited based on the flimsiest of evidence, that is: an absence of mass population infection being proven, thus warranting their liberties being stripped. This means individuals will have to be shown (actual test results not projections) to be carriers of the virus, at the very least! This is a standard that must always be adhered to in all Republics that respect and observe the rule of law. How is it that without this standard being met, the liberties of mankind are being stripped on a collective basis? To the cheers of the educated middle class, like little red riding hood getting in bed with the wolf, this time, knowing he’s not her grandmother, but doing it still!

The educated virologists are our new shepherds, whom I must admit administer an invaluable service to mankind, but invaluable in the sense that it can never be objectively valued but rather inter-subjectively ascertained. Just like every other service provided by every other individual in our republic. They and epidemiologists have been appointed the stewards of mankind, not through a human initiated yet spontaneous manner of the market, but through deliberate planning and organization by the state.

They have deemed it necessary, at least the ones my country listened to, to put the world on ‘lockdown’. A lockdown whose substantive manifestations are that of house arrest. These learned men of science profess that we are in uncharted waters, and as if our rights were ingredients for a mass social experiment, they advised leviathan to proceed on such a notion of experimenting with them! 

Now if it is uncharted waters, is it not the time to permit liberty even more free reign? An understanding of liberty devoid of social responsibility is what clouds a lot of opponents to my position of permitting individuals the freedom to tackle this virus and deal with uncharted waters as they have always done, through mutual voluntary cooperation. If we do not trust ourselves with our liberty, then surely someone else directing it is out of the question.

As a matter of human action and its implications, only the individual acts and only the individual knows what is best for him, given the subjective nature of value. It may be in the individual’s own preference to observe social distancing for example as South Korea has illustrated, but this preference can only be exercised with the liberty to act, which the South African population has been denied. 

From a praxeological jurisprudential position: the actions of the government are illegal in prohibiting movement on a mass scale coupled with the most arbitrary restrictions on the sale of goods known in this country’s history. And this is a country whose parliament once controlled the range of marital spouses (on race of course) one could choose from, so imagine the bar of arbitrariness they had to clear! The state gave the bar the good old college try, with our very own alcohol and cigarette black market as proof. Only individuals act, in the praxeological sense, thus only individual actions are limited. A ban on all commercial activities that are deemed non-essential is arbitrary ontologically, given the subjective nature of value and the preferential nature of human action itself. 

Such a ban would limit if not wholly declare criminal the ability of the guy who washes cars to earn a living, without due cause. This individual never prohibited another individual from exercising their liberties yet they have theirs taken away, in an arbitrary manner at that since some jobs are deemed more essential than others. Some stomachs more deserving of food than others. Some animals more equal than others? I hope I can chalk this up to my sense for the dramatic in thinking my beloved republic may be slipping into an Orwellian dystopia. 

Now more than ever is the time to trust in one another, and trust requires liberty as an imperative, for the only thing that makes it worthwhile is that it can be betrayed. Now, more than ever is the time to encourage real communal values. In other countries this is exemplifying their shared humanity not through military deployments but through voluntary participation, and yes that includes the risk of those who may choose not to, but being a nuisance as some individual may view it, is not reason enough to have your liberties taken away. For the obvious objection, ‘but they are putting lives in danger’ my retort is ‘prove it’.

In our country, the land of Ubuntu, this is exemplified by the military and security services terrorizing the very people they are supposed to serve, all under auspices of saving them. Didn’t you know, stopping you from going to work for your family is for your own good? Now let Leviathan grow larger by encroaching on more aspects of your freedom. We are living in a Nihilist’s dream, a world preoccupied by the fear of death to the point of literal paralysis.  

As lady liberty wept…

The Eloquent Peasant.