One impediment to freedom is the belief that true individual freedom is not possible to achieve. It is easy to understand why this is true. Though there are literally millions of individuals living their lives freely and successfully in almost every country of the world, [see "The Privileged"] all of academia, politics, and the popular press neither recognizes or acknowledges them and all philosophy, religion, and ideologies deny it is possible.
This articles is about individuals who have or are now living free successful lives as they choose to live them. The most recent article, "Cory The Well Driller—An American Individualist."
For many years I've been convinced that no freedom movement will ever be successful but that freedom is possible to anyone who is willing to seek it. Freedom, in fact, is only possible to individuals who free themselves.
Though I have no interest in convincing anyone else to be free, when anyone discovers my views on freedom they are frequently derided: "No one can make themselves free in this day and age."
I do not usually respond to that, but occasionally mention that millions are living free lives at this very moment and I have met some of them and know others. Of course I'm always asked, commanded actually, to name them. In most cases I will never identify those I know are living as free individuals, because above all things, a free individual covets privacy. I would never violate the privacy of anyone to satisfy the curiosity of the ignorant.
Nevertheless, the fact that individuals can live free lives in the world today can be demonstrated by examples. Just one example would prove that freedom is possible to individuals. Here are four:
Harry Browne is the first example. Harry published the book, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World in 1973. That book explains the principles by which any individual may establish freedom in their own life, the very principles Harry Browne used to establish his own personal freedom. [See "Harry Browne's Freedom Principles."]
His book has been out of print for some time, but is still available at a premium. Here is how it is described: "Freedom is living your life as you want to live it. You can have that freedom now, without waiting to change the world or the people around you."
Paul Baran, the inventor of packet switching which made modern telephony, including wireless, and the Internet possible. Paul was a life-long entrepreneur and true free individual, who lived his own life for his own sake, and the entire world is the beneficiary. [See "A Different Life."]
"Ghost" provides his own personal declaration of independence. What I especially like about this example is that it is not about an individual, but an entirely family that has made itself free. "Ghost," of course, is used to protect that most important part of freedom, privacy.
Richard G. Rieben
Richard G. Rieben was always an individualist and at one time quite influential in various freedom movements. To establish his own freedom he extricated himself from those movements:
"I do not have a common cause with anyone, not even being free. And the idea of subordinating my will to a group such as to regain, retain or proclaim my sovereign will is such a winsome contradiction it makes me smile, though ruefully." [From I Was Not Born to Submit.]
Richard died March 13, 2006 of heart related problems while visiting friends in his beloved Malaysia. Richard's brother William wrote in his obituary "Richard's greatest passion was for individual liberty as the basis for human existence and interaction." It may be that Richard to find complete freedom as he wrote in his journal, "It was a good life. Per usual, I didn't find out what it was 'all about' until way late in the game ...," but at least he found it himself, which is the only way it can be found. [See "Dead, or Alive and Free?."]
To Be Free
What these four examples prove is that if you are not free, it is your own fault, not the fault of society, or the government, or anything else you might like to blame for your failure to make yourself free.