Let 2017 be the Year you Become Free

It’s gonna be good.

In between the political rhetoric and trench warfare of 2016 we need to realise that there are higher ideals to be striving for. Between 2013 and 2014 I read The Law by Frédéric Bastiat — one of the greatest political and philosophical writers France has ever seen — and changed my view on the role of government and my perception of politics.

“No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable.”

It is one of the valuable quotes from Bastiat. He wrote to a certain degree because he made the case that morality and the law often come into conflict, and that people have the miserable choice of choosing one of them.

Making laws respectable historically meant that those in power were to respect the freedom of their subjects to a degree that they did not endanger the ruling class with rebellious intentions. These tributes only respected the law if they considered it to be to their benefit. If their monarch assured their safety, organised a big celebration once in a while (like during the Roman times, panem et circenses) and left them enough food to make it through the winter, then being law-abiding did not seem be too big of a deal to them.

Every political issue is constantly on the news

Globalisation and free enterprise have developed our societies. They lift more and more people out of poverty. We have more means of communication than ever before: people talk about politics, they get involved in political parties and NGOs, and every political issue is constantly on the news.

People get involved in every part of politics is mostly because politics has gotten involved in every part of our lives. There is virtually nothing that is not regulated or influenced by taxes or subsidies through government. Some might suggest that being active in politics is a hobby like music or sports, but unlike the latter, if you’re not interested in politics, politics is interested in you.

You can do something about it

Indeed politics is so interested in you that it’s all about participation nowadays: countless councils and focus group try to connect people with politics, and politicians keep repeating almost robotically that it’s all about “making the right choices for you”.

It is dishonest. But you can do something about it.

Now before anyone thinks they are accused of lying, let us make it clear that that is not necessarily the point. In fact there is a strong argument that most politicians have perfectly good intentions, and even more so the party members, staffers, volunteers — all fighting for what they think is best. Ultimately we should recognise what advocates of free welfare services and those calling for restriction on immigration have in common. Both think that they are doing their fellow citizens a favour. They do not realise that their policies will benefit or unfairly disadvantage one or the other member of society.

The issue is not that politicians are lying when they say their policies will benefit you. They themselves believe it even though it is virtually impossible. Society is too complicated and encompasses too many factors that a political bureau could lead it efficiently.

No one is better suited for choices about your life than yourself.

There is every difference in the world between connecting yourself with politics and connecting yourself with policy. The most frustrating thing when challenging intrusive politics are those unwilling to think outside the political box. They have accepted government as their nanny so much that they do not question why government should control this particular aspect of their life. They rather look at the who and how.

Thinking outside the box means you accept that government that from the start government had no right to meddle with your personal life, that you are the master of your own life, and that you yourself know best how to go about it. Question those with authority, not those who question authority.

If people should get involved, if they should do good, government needs let them be free instead of drowning them in legislation. Freedom means discovering your own potential, it means being charitable with those who are less fortunate, it means finding virtue by letting others live their lives as they see fit. Fighting for freedom means explaining these fundamentals to others.

Let 2017 be the year you become free!