One Thing That Helped Me Change My MindPosted by on Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Like most folks, I’ve changed a bit since I was younger. Most notably (and most related to the topic at hand) is how I have changed political philosophies over the years. Libertarian philosophy has a reputation for only appealing to young people. However, it has increasingly become the favored view for me as time has gone on. I just celebrated my 33rd birthday last week, so I’m no spring chicken. It also has a reputation from outsiders for only being about drug legalization. Ugh. Anyway…
I’ve run the gamut in my day from pretty liberal to pretty conservative. But, in my mind, both of those philosophies have their own version of statism (reliance upon government, instead of reliance upon liberty). I have come to reject both of them. My conservative friends think it’s kind of crazy that I think drugs should be legalized and wars should be ended, and my liberal friends think it’s crazy that I don’t support public schools or other myriad government programs.
In terms of liberty and safety:
I have come to realize that the greatest threat that I face is not in Afghanistan.
I have come to realize that the greatest threat I face is not whether my neighbors have guns, marijuana, or unkempt lawns.
I have come to realize that the greatest threat I face is not a stranger saying hello to my kids.
I have come to realize that the greatest threat I face is not from saturated fat.
I have come to realize that the greatest threat I face is not global warming.
I have come to realize that the greatest threat I face is not unvaccinated children.
The greatest threat I face in this world is a government that over-zealously tries to control all of these things. When they do, we all lose. We lose money. We lose our sense of community. We lose liberty.
So, how did I change my mind? I might talk about this more in upcoming posts, but for now, I want to direct you to a television show that started me on the process: Rumpole of the Bailey.
Rumpole’s most chancy encounters stem from arguing with judges, particularly those who seem to believe that being on trial implies guilt or that the police are infallible…
Despite his affection for the criminal classes, Rumpole’s character is marked by a firm set of ethics. He is a staunch believer in the presumption of innocence…
While the show rarely deals with liberty as a whole, it definitely got me started down that road due to its focus on questioning the official story and assuming people are innocent. Each and every episode has some aspect of it that helped me to think about the word “criminal” in a totally different manner. It’s wonderful. I would recommend it to everyone.
The show was based on a series of books by John Mortimer. I’ve read a few of the books, too, and they are equally delightful. Here’s how The American Spectator describes Mortimer and Rumpole:
Mortimer’s liberalism was more of the libertarian variety. He defended numerous free speech cases in his legal career. He was the kind of liberal who believed people should be able to do what they wish, rather than the far more numerous kind who wish to micro-manage everyone’s life.
And Rumpole — though he invariably appears for the defense — is not defending crime, but the presumption of innocence. A cornerstone of any free society. And though he regularly pillories judges, cops, and prosecutors, he is not anti-authority, but anti-abuse of authority. The insolence of office is a malady here, in the UK, and in most of the rest of the known universe. Our Horace will have none of it.
Defense stipulates (in this case my defense of Rumpole) that real burglars and safe crackers are not as cuddly as the Timsons, the extended clan of South London villains Rumpole has built a career on keeping out of the nick. But red-blooded TAS-reading conservatives oppose the mailed fist of government crushing the individuals. So does Rumpole, even if he does take it to exotic lengths from time to time.
Mortimer didn’t adopt the more noxious tics of the cultural left. Through his alter ego, Rumpole, he had a great deal of fun at the expense of geek-branch feminists, enviro-nutters, anti-smoking zealots, neo-prohibitionists, food faddists, and all manner of Puritan defenders of the politically correct.
In other words, this show is a field day for reasonable people who want to leave others alone!
*Note — Some of the links in this article have been updated/changed from their original sources. The current links should work, but may not be as relevant as the originals, which were removed by their owners.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.