Thursday, 4 August 2011

Instinctive Liberalism Explained

Perhaps I've failed to explain something clearly or there was a little piece of the puzzle that got lost in translation, but I was genuinely surprised when someone referred to this bunny as a 'red' last week. I appreciate that taking liberal positions on social issues and sustaining a healthy level of suspicion towards authority can be easily misunderstood by someone still applying the old, crude and defunct left-right axis. That more than one individual has used this 'red' or 'left-wing' term while another friend of mine once remarked that I was "slightly to the right of Atilla the Hun" serves to illustrate just how simply this scale falls over when faced with an ideology or value system that is three-dimensional.

If we're talking purely about economics then Classical Liberal is as good an umbrella as any, but when examining ideology not just politically, but as a way of life, then you may have heard me use the phrase Instinctive Liberalism in the past. Besides being a very clever pair of words, what does this phrase mean? What does it entail and how does it transcend the realms of abstract political discourse and cross over into the real lives of real people? If I could sum it up in a few words, Instinctive Liberalism boils down to the basic premise that you own your life. You are free to choose whatever lawful paths you wish in life without fear of stigma, punishment or theft from the state. However, the responsibility for the positive or negative consequences of those decisions also resides with the individual. These two concepts are mutually inclusive, since freedom without responsibility equates to anarchy, while taking the fall for the decisions of others without the means to change things is essentially a form of slavery.

I've linked this YouTube video before, but for anyone seeking a clear idea of what Instinctive Liberalism is, this should serve as an excellent starter for ten.

Central to the concept of Instinctive Liberalism is the notion of meritocracy - ie that an individual is free to either succeed or fail solely on the basis of their own talents and willingness to apply them. Entrenched privilege and the protection of a few from the consequences of failure is a massive barrier that stands in the way of such a just society (as opposed to a 'fair' one which carries connotations of egalitarianism and penalising success). This is one of the main reasons why this bunny is instinctively opposed to the notion of a hereditary monarchy, since those in positions of entrenched privilege are not free to fail. Social mobility is a two-way street, and this is often lost as Statists focus on helping the 'most vulnerable in society' with a slice of the nationalised compassion cake. The state cannot exercise virtue and charity with money confiscated from others by force, since such qualities only exist in instances where the individual also possessed the option to do nothing.

In the same way as the behaviour of the state itself often clashes with the principle of Instinctive Liberalism, the presence of large corporations, be they public or private, are an obstacle to the goals of a free, liberal and meritocratic society. The culture of corporatism and the protection of big business by the state acts essentially as a prohibition for the little guy looking to strike out on his own and achieve a greater degree of economic independence. Such corporate entities have a vested interest in making market entry impossible for smaller fish, and are in fact anti-entrepreneurial in their spirit. Moreover, as I've already stated on here more than once, large organisations possess this habit of cultivating an environment based solely on procedures and rules. As a result, it is often the obedience of these centrally-imposed diktats, as opposed to the individual's flair, talent or work ethic, that determines their occupational and economic success.

However, the most important element of Instinctive Liberalism is the utter certainty that group thinking is no thinking and we're all individuals. Some people perhaps lack the confidence to think for themselves and seek the comfort of the herd, but not only is this unhealthy for the individual concerned, the lessons of history tell us that mass mentality has caused so many conflicts in the names of religion, creed or colour that one would think more people might have sussed it by now. 'Solidarity' in the name of one's gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, social class or on any other grounds only leads to friction, violence, the call for greater state intervention and a reduced level of freedom to think, speak and act independently for all of us.

We are not members of a group unless or until we ourselves choose to co-operate voluntarily with others. There is no 'sacred cow' or 'greater good' that can justify the theft of your justly earned property or nanny restricting your ability to think or say whatever is on your mind, despite what Statists might tell you. Stripping away the means by which individuals can challenge conventional wisdom with ideas that may seem unorthodox at the time leads to bland social and political discourse, along with the inevitable prospect of intellectual bankruptcy. People stop thinking and become drones, while society is left as little more than a collection of small sects.

I believe we really can do better, and such a society is one worth arguing for even if the fighting only takes place in the spoken sense - Instinctive Liberals do not initiate force against others after all. Whatever coulour this bunny's politics might be (kudos to the guy who immediately shouted PINK!!), they are certainly not red or blue. Both are colours synonymous with Statism, and as should be crystal clear by now, Statists of any fashion or description are the enemy. Take care and I'll catch you soon.


  1. I avoid all use of the word "liberal" as it has been hijacked by authoritarian bastards.

  2. MNN - you and I know what real liberalism is.

    I appreciate the point you're making but I've no problem using the word Liberal to describe what I believe in - if that invites scorn from people applying its hijacked meaning then so be it.

  3. Superb article, Daz.

    Instinctive Liberalism boils down to the basic premise that you own your life and that everyone else owns theirs.

  4. Don't be an intinctive liberal, be an instinctive anarchist like me! It's much more effective and fun too. Laws change not by political will but when people just ignore them and it becomes too much effort for the state to enforce them. If you want to get rid of the nanny state stop whinging and just do what you wanna do.

  5. Thanks Pagar - much appreciated

    Ramona - thanks for contributing. In a lawless society, surely the biggest winners are those predisposed towards using force, theft or fraud as a means to their own ends?

    I certainly don't want that, do you?

  6. Hey Daz it's Little Ramona to you (at least until we have been aquainted),

    You just don't get it. I'm not suggesting that we have a lawless society (like in Mad Max). We can have laws. Just don't follow the ones you don't like. For instance I always go through red lights when I'm turning left. The USA equivalent is to turn right on a red light. It is perfectly legal in the USA, because it doesn't present any danger. So why not do it here. If everybody when through red lights when turning left eventually the police would realise that it is pointless to try and penalise people for doing something that is speeding up the flow of traffic. The same thing applies to undertaking on motorways.

    On the other hand when it comes to recreational drugs I look to Holland for my inspiration. My policy is "if it's legal somewhere, then it should be legal everywhere"

    International travel, the internet, the Shengen agreemment, sattelite TV etc, all these things make it ridiculous for something to be legal in one country and not in another. As people travel more they want the sames freedoms at home as they have abroad and vice versa. It is hard to believe that until relatively recently it was illegal in the UK for a man to have anal sex with a woman (I love it up the shitter) or that the age of consent for homosexuals was 21!

    As the "illegal" behaviour becomes more widely practised it becomes pointless to try and enforce an unworkable law.

    Rosa Parks was an anarchist, Jesus was an anarchist, Einstein was an anarchist. Keith Richards is an anarchist.

    Yuri Gagarin was an anarchist (he broke the law of gravity)

    Its illegal to carry a gun without a licence in this country. What a completely pointless law. If someones going to do an off-licence, who gives a shit whether the shooter they are using is licenced or not.

    Now is that a gun in yer pocket, big boy, or are yer just pleased to see me.

    Little Ramona

  7. Sweet sweet little Ramona
    she always wants to come over
    Sweet sweet little Ramona
    I think I'll try and phone her

    I let her in if you're wondering why
    Cause she's a spy for the BBI
    I let her in and I started to cry
    And then I knew I wanted to die
    Oooh, little Ramona
    Oooh, little Ramona
    Oooh, little Ramona, Oooh