Credits — Written by Ken Schoolland
— Produced by Lux Lucre
The text below was produced by Mark DeBarieri, who surely deserves thanks!
“You own your life. To deny this is to imply that another person has a higher claim on your life than you do. No other person or group of persons owns your life. Nor do you own the lives of others.
You exist in time: This is manifest in past; present; future. To lose your life is to lose your future and the product of your life and liberty. To lose your liberty is to lose your present, and to lose the product of your life and liberty is to lose that portion of your past that produced it.
A product of your life and your liberty is your property. Property is the fruit of your labor, the product of your time energy and talents. Property is that part of nature, which you turn to valuable use. Property is the property of others that is given to you by voluntary exchange and mutual consent. Two people who exchange property voluntarily are both better off or they wouldn’t do it. Only they may rightfully make that decision for themselves.
At times some people use force or fraud to take from others without voluntary consent. The initiation of force or fraud; to take life is murder; to take liberty is slavery; to take property is theft. It is the same whether these actions are done by one person acting alone, by the many acting against the few, or even by officials with fine hats.
You have the right to protect your own life, liberty and justly acquired property from the forceful aggression of others.
You may ask others to help defend you, but you do not have the right to initiate force against the life, liberty and property of others. Thus, you have no right to designate some person to initiate force against others on your behalf.
You have the right to seek leaders for yourself, but you have no right to impose rulers onto others, no matter how officials are selected. They are only human beings and they have no rights or claims that are higher than those of any other human beings. Regardless of the imaginative labels for their behavior, or the numbers of people encouraging them, officials have no right to murder, to enslave or to steal. You cannot give them any rights that you do not have yourself.
Since you own your life, you are responsible for your life. You do not rent your life from others who demand your obedience. Nor are you a slave to others who demand your sacrifice. You choose your own goals based on your own values. Success and failure are both the necessary incentives to learn and grow. Your action on behalf of others or their action on behalf of you is virtuous only when it is derived from voluntary mutual consent. For virtue can only exist only where there is free choice.
This is the basis of a truly free society. It is not only the most practical and humanitarian foundation for human action, it is the most ethical. Problems in the world that arise from the initiation of force by government have a solution. The solution is for the people of the earth to stop asking government officials to initiate force on their behalf.
Evil does not arise only from evil people, but also from good people who tolerate the initiation of force as a means to their own ends. In this manner, good people have empowered evil people throughout history. Having confidence in a free society is to focus on the process of discovery in the marketplace of values, rather than to focus on some imposed vision or goal.
Using governmental force to impose a vision on others is intellectual sloth and typically results in unintended, perverse consequences. Achieving a free society requires courage to think, to talk and to act. Especially when it is easier to do nothing…”
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