From the August 2003 Idaho Observer:

Real Freedom Fighters

Last month The IO withdrew from the Free State Project for several reasons, primarily due to the intolerance and disrespect various factions within the project displayed toward each other when confronted with differing political, social, spiritual and historical views. Though we withdrew as gracefully as possible, our decision apparently sent ripples of anger and confusion through the FSP ranks. In response to The IO's “seccession” from FSP, liberty author and philosopher Richard Rieben (see ad page 23) forwarded an extremely lucid and thought-provoking essay on freedom. It's wisdom is appropriate for our times, for the FSP and for this edition.

by Richard Rieben

I am coming 'round to the idea that real fighters FOR liberty do not cluster, do not congregate, do not organize, do not form groups, do not muster their numbers, do not fight against the collective, and do not rally to make themselves count. Exceptionally, they come to the support of one another in unequivocal battles in defense of individual freedom. As a matter of course, they defend themselves, upon their own responsibility, from the aggressions of the collective.

Uniquely, they make their views known to others, with bluntness, candor and honesty. Yet, they neither seek nor avoid confrontation. They are outspoken, but only when they bother to say anything at all. They are, equally, unafraid to make their views known, and uninterested in doing so. Their politeness is based upon a benefit-of-the-doubt assumption granted, initially, to every other human being. They are polite, therefore, in consequence of a genuine friendliness, not as a matter of social appearances or convention. They do not hide behind politeness, or otherwise misrepresent themselves. They do not compromise their integrity.

They repudiate the collective and the values of the collective. Their personal values and interests vary from individual to individual, but they do not subscribe to or share the values of the collective. They do not partake in bread and circuses. They strive to engage in ethical transactions, and to associate in ethical relationships.

They do not believe that they “owe” anything to their fellows, besides the respect for distinct political boundaries. They have no feeling of “duty” to inform, educate or enlighten. They do not believe that “we are all in this together.” They honor their chosen obligations, and repudiate all other expectations and demands.

They may or may not be “on strike.” The lack of ethical, human behavior generally makes it difficult to engage with others in this society, except superficially. The lack of political boundaries make it difficult to produce or trade without being victimized. They are more likely to have lowered their ambitions and narrowly focused their energies, than to be publicly or financially successful.

Their own health inclines them to assume that other people are, like themselves, clean, healthy and ethical, but they do not ignore evidence to the contrary. They tend to be entirely without suspicion, unless given cause; they also tend to be acutely aware and perceptive.

They trust themselves. And put their trust in their own judgment, not in other persons.

They stand upright, enjoy life, and accept neither guilt nor shame.

They are informed. They are responsible. They do not believe “we” will be saved by aliens from outer space, by White Knights, nor through the efforts of any conventional group effort. They do not have a 'savior complex.' They do not believe in cultural or political Santa Clauses. They do not believe that “we” will - or should - be rescued from the consequences of our cultural philosophy.

In response to all of the weaselly ways of avoiding responsibility (past and present), by the poor, dumb, ignorant, stupefied, brainwashed, ritual-following, common folk of the world, the actual freedom fighters have “better things to do.”

They have an obligation toward their own health (and political condition); they repudiate the altruist value system that would impose a DUTY upon them for their existence owed to others who shirk personal responsibilities. They do not acknowledge that anyone or any group has a lien on their existence. They fulfill their consciously chosen obligations made to other individuals and owe nothing to anyone else.

They do not ride to the rescue. They refuse to be victimized as “heroes” by moral inferiors.

They do not perform public services. They participate in rational governance as a reasonable cost of maintaining their own liberty - as a responsibility for their own political health - as a personal obligation. They continue to do this as long as the apparatus of government functions to maintain political boundaries and secure respect for those boundaries.

When the government ceases to function - and when the agents of government become violators of boundaries - they will only continue to participate to the end of penalizing the agents, changing the apparatus, and overhauling the structure of a dysfunctional government.

They do not participate in farce. They do not lie to themselves or pretend that if only everyone “believed,” it could - somehow - work. They are not evaders. They are not wishful thinkers. They acknowledge the actual nature of things as they are, and act appropriately.

We are not all in this together. Tyranny is not a natural disaster, like a flood or earthquake. There are choices made. Evasion is a choice, and it counts. Reality responds with consequences.

Sometimes, there is no escaping those consequences. Sometimes, people do not deserve to be rescued. Usually, in fact.

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