And something that should be of significant interest to all of us "in the 100%" is the idea of individual liberty. Liberty is a concept that pertains to 100% of the persons in this country and around the world. Liberty is an integral part of the human experience, but it is often pushed to the background of political policy discussions. Let's take a few quick minutes today to think about what liberty is and what it entails.
Liberty is the ability of an individual to have control over and be responsible for his or her own actions. Only the individual can have the ability to make choices and act according to his or her own reasons. Only the individual can be coerced by external forces. Only individuals are free or not free. The individual is the basic unit of social analysis. Liberty is a concept that applies to the individual and not to the group or the collective.
Liberty applies to all of us, but it is a mistake to categorize freedom as pertaining to races, religions, ethnic groups, social classes, nations, or any other collective entity such as "the 1%". There are certainly plenty of examples where individuals have used coercion to limit the freedom of other individuals on the basis of race, religion, and ethnicity, but to think of liberty (or lack there of) as belonging to the group is very dangerous. Many unspeakable travesties in human history have resulted from this tribal “us versus them” mentality; the same tribal "us versus them" analysis used by politicians and pundits to divide people in order to generate class warfare when it need not exist.
The idea that it is moral to subjugate an individual person for the betterment of the collective has been used to justify everything from the gross expropriation of property, to mass murder, to the system of government we have in the US today. Anytime the government grants special political privilege for things like corporate subsidies, bailouts, and welfare entitlement, the liberty of individual people is being sacrificed. Whenever members of our government act in any manner whatsoever, they limit the liberty of individual people. There may be justified cases where individual liberty should be limited. However, limits on liberty must always be scrutinized to the highest of standards. You should never ask your government to do on your behalf what you would not yourself be willing to force your friends, families, and neighbors to do for you. So much of the confusion surrounding politics could be ended if we simply analyze policy using the yardstick of its impact on individual liberty.
“Libertarian thought emphasizes the dignity of each individual, which entails both rights and responsibility.” – David Boaz