That's Going To Make Me Free!?
Raymond dropped by to point something out to me he thought was very important. "You might be interested in this," he said, showing me what he had displayed on his laptop.
It was a URL. I looked at it. You can too, here ...
[The link that was there was to a now defunct page at Wendy McElroy's site announcing the then new "Laissez Faire Club."]
"Oh," I said. "Another save the world scheme, and you can be part of it--for just $120 a year."
"It's not a, 'save the world scheme,' Ray said somewhat indignantly."
"Then what does this mean? 'We are going to change history with this Club. It's a new world ...,'" I emphasized, reading from the article at the link.
"You're just opposed to any movement that seeks to establish freedom," my friend said accusingly.
"I'm not opposed," I said, "I just have no use for movements because they are, by their very nature, collective efforts and I oppose collectivism in all its forms, and every so-called freedom movement is actually an attempt to establish some kind of social order in which it is believed there will be freedom. I'm opposed to all forms of social engineering as well, even libertarian social engineering. None of these movements has ever made a single individual free or ever will."
"If everyone was like you," Ray accused me, "there would never be freedom. If it weren't for people like Jeffrey Tucker and Wendy McElroy no one would be doing anything about freedom."
"Ray, my friend, if everyone were like me, everyone would be free and all this agitation over clubs, and organizations, and programs, and movements would have no reason to exist. The reason so few people are free is because they do not want to be free, and as long as most people do not want to be free, they won't be.
"If those who do want to be free keep being sucked into all these pointless movements and programs they are convinced will bring the great awakening, or a new revolution, or whatever other miraculous transformation of society they believe in, they will never be free either.
"Freedom, like every other value in life, has to be earned by one's own effort. No one else can provide it, but anyone can have freedom if they are willing to pay the price. It's not easy. It may cost an individual everything he thinks he values; but why shouldn't the most valuable thing in life have the highest price?"
"So you think all these individuals doing something about promoting freedom are just wasting their time? Don't you think doing something about freedom matters," Ray asked.
"You think the way to freedom is to join some organization? ... some club? That's not a way to freedom, it's self-enslavement. Do you know who your freedom fighter, Jeffrey Tucker is? He's a flaming Catholic, a slave of Rome and the Catholic Church. What do you think his club can teach you about freedom?
"He's supposed to be an editor, isn't he? Here's the first sentence in his letter to 'Laissez Faire Members:'
"'I am extremely pleased to present to your first book following the basic four that came with membership.'"
"Is that English? What does it mean?"
"Here's the grammatically incorrect second sentence that is also a lie:"
"'This is the first-ever digital edition of an amazing classic by Rose Wilder Lane: The Discovery of Freedom.'"
"I'll give you a link to another source of a digital version of the book, which Mr. Tucker failed to Italicize, or at least put in quotes. It is definitely not the first electronic version.
"There's more. This sentence, for example:
"'She adored freedom as few others, but, more than than, she understood the substance of what freedom really is.'"
"'...than than...?' Only a typo? Sure, but he's supposed to be an editor, isn't he?"
"'Freedom was liberation for the controls and despotisms of the old world. We showed the way and build the most marvelous society in human history.' Shouldn't 'for' be 'from' and 'build' be 'built?'
"This is one of the sorriest pieces of writing I've ever seen. Why would you want to join his club?
"Join the club, if you like, Ray, but please do not tell me it's because you are interested in freedom. You're interested in feeling like you're, 'doing something,' that you are, 'part of the movement.' I guess a hundred twenty dollars is a pretty cheap way to convince yourself you're truly doing something about freedom."
I do not think Ray joined the club, not because of anything I said, but because it is pretty hard to make Ray part with any of his money. I do not really care that there is such a club, or that others are promoting it. My friend suggested I send my criticisms to Wendy McElroy or Jeffrey Tucker. He did not understand that my criticisms were only for him. I'm sorry there are bright people who are taken in by these things, and waste their time and resources on what will never make them free, but their lives are their own, and it is none of my business what they do with them.
I've linked some articles that are pertinent to the points made in the above discussion below:
Ayn Rand, whom my friend admires, tried the movement method of promoting individual freedom once, and discovered it cannot work.
Ayn Rand's Mistake
Ayn Rand considered the only truly moral individuals to be independent individualists, and the only ones through whom freedom could possibly come, or who deserved it. Individualists do not join clubs.
Two points: 1. A free society cannot be established when that society is comprised of individuals who do not want to be free. 2. Unlike all collectivist and socialist schemes, freedom cannot be promoted.
Free Society, The Unrealizable Ideal
Here is a totally free version of Rose Wilder Lane's Discovery of Freedom. You do not have to join anything to get it.
Discovery of Freedom Just click on the title of the book to read it online, or download it (save to disk) and read it anywhere.
[Tucker must know about this version of the book. He is past editorial vice president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and past editor of the institute's website. I do not want to accuse him of lying, so must assume he has a very bad memory.]
I've also made it available here.