A Personal Reflection and History of Libertarianism by Amaris Salazar

Excellent short essay written by my wife for one of her Political Science class.  Note that her teacher is a staunch socialist.

~~

“And what is liberty, whose very name makes the heart beat faster and shakes the world? Is it not the union of all liberties – liberty of conscience, of education, of association, of the press, of travel, or labor, or trade?”1

These are the words of Frederic Bastiat, French classical liberal theorist and political economist, penned in 1850 that correctly reflect my love for liberty and political foundation. Growing up with my Mexican-born father  who viewed books like gold in a poor land, and my mother who escaped with her family from Cuba to flee Communism when she was a child, they had both seen the corruption of the state and big government. This inadvertently caused what I have come to known as the Libertarian view. A view that treasured individual liberty and the value of freedom, which exactly describes the core values which I was taught. I was also taught to question everything, and to never stop learning. Some might call that cynical and impractical, but I call that being smart, and partly the reason why I’ve never been happy with the usually mistaken status quo.

Before I give a deeper background of how I have formed my political ideology over the years, I would like to first explain what Libertarianism is so that the history may shed more light to present and hopefully explain why I believe Libertarianism is useful, necessary and relevant. Now, if were to describe Libertarianism, it would have to be by our first president under the Constitution, George Washington,

“A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”2

Basically, leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone, and this includes the government. I hold this principle for everything, from decriminalization of drugs to foreign policy.

Although Libertarianism has deep roots in Western civilization, its beginnings can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece and ancient Israel, with people like Tertullian and Saint Thomas Aquinas whose views on individual liberty have been expressed throughout history.  According to the Encyclopedia Britannica,

“Christian theologians, including Tertullian in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, stressed the moral worth of the individual and the division of the world into two realms, one of which was the province of God and thus beyond the power of the state to control.”3

America has quite a long history and reputation for loving freedom.

“Give me liberty, or give me death!”4

It is in fact true that Libertarianism has been around since the young years of this nation. Classic liberalism (an older name for Libertarianism) can be seen in the works of John Locke, which “had a significant impact on the theoretical foundations of American government, according to the textbook, American Government : Roots and Reform.
In his Second Treatise, Locke emphasized limited government, liberty and property, and is still read and regarded by neo-classic liberals (or, Libertarians) today.

As aforementioned in the beginning of my paper, my parents have been valuable teachers in my life who shared not only knowledge, but  taught me how to assess it. This in turn has lead me to look at life in deep thought.
When I hear of how the President has been given unwarranted, unjustified, and unconstitutional quasi-authority to kill Americans, and this same President wants to keep a total big brother eye on us… Or perhaps when Bush sent us to fight a rich man’s war, thereby killing  thousands of Americans, and then justifying wire-tapping on the American people for the cause of “security,” that does not sit well with me. It makes me absolutely furious. And some people wonder why I do not trust our National government and the current two parties. I am not the only one. According to American Government : Roots and Reform,

“One explanation is that voters split their tickets, consciously or not, because they trust neither party to govern.”5

The constant discovery over my life-time of these debaucheries has given me a greater pursuit and love for liberty.

I believe that also being the child of one naturalized citizen and one green-card holder, and currently going through the lengthy process of making my husband a U.S. Citizen has caused me to hold to the Libertarian view even closer to my heart, because of its stance on immigration. This is not to say all Libertarians hold to this view, but it is part of the true Libertarian ideology.  In the words of Judge Andrew Napolitano,

“This is the natural law, a natural right. Rights come from your humanity. It doesn’t matter where your mother was when you were born.”6

The government cannot simply exempt you from the natural rights defended by in the Constitution because you do not hold a some type of extra “status.” Being a human is enough “status” for you to pursuit life, liberty, and property, and have due process.

My last reason out of many for being Libertarian would have to be my religion. I am a Christian, saved and forgiven of my sin debt not by my own doing, but by the Sovereign Lord and Creator,  Jesus Christ.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV. 7

I value and cherish my freedom of religion, espoused in the first amendment. Religion is universal (whether the individual knows it or not) and intrinsic and very inseparable to every human being. Everybody has a worldview, and when you make thoughts illegal… Well, you know what happened in George Orwell’s 1984. I affirm the prudent words of Jefferson, in replying to the Baptist Address of 1807,

Among the most inestimable of our blessings is that … of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.”8

My history along with pursuit of truth and all that is good has made me who I am today. I believe it to be the most consistent and beneficial system for not just me, not just for my party or political faction, but for everyone. Just as this viral meme has expressed and what I have labeled the  Libertarian Manifesto:

Libertarians: Diligently plotting to take over the World and leave you alone.”

~~

Works Cited

  1. Bastiat, Frederic. “What Is Liberty?” The Law. 3rd ed. Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, 2007. 39. Print.
  2.  First Annual Address, to both House of Congress (8 January 1790).
  3. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/339321/libertarianism/234229/Historical-origins
  4. http://www.history.org/almanack/life/politics/giveme.cfm
  5. https://www.quia.com/files/quia/users/clamanna13/13.pdf
  6.  http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/01/28/judge-napolitano-says-gop-must-welcome-illegal-immigrants-its-their-natural-right-to-be-able-to-come-to-u-s
  7.  EphesiansThe Holy Bible: English Standard Version Containing the Old and New Testaments: ESV. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007. Print.
  8. Thomas Jefferson: Reply to John Thomas et al., 1807. ME 16:291
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