Over time, after many conversations regarding the role of government and the importance of freedom, I have come to realize that I often operate on a different premise than those I discuss these matters with. This realization has been difficult to deal with because I have come to recognize that my outlook on life is considered irrelevant by some. I will attempt to explain what I mean.
My life philosophy is based on the idea that there are certain principles, which, if applied correctly, are universal and uncompromising in every situation. Thus, I have tried to discover those principles and apply them so that my actions have a consistency which is based on unchanging principles. Whenever I realize that my behavior does not conform to one of these principles that I have previously determined to be correct, I have to re-evaluate my actions and/or the principle to understand if I need to change my behavior or my understanding of the principle.
By this, I have come to certain conclusions about liberty. According to my understanding, liberty is a principle that is universal and correct. It is a virtue in and of itself that is to be protected at all costs, even if it allows for uncertainty. In my attempt to understand the principles that are related to liberty, I have started these discussions of the laws of liberty so that I can evaluate my own behavior and understanding of the principles.
However, as I wrote before, I have recently been realizing that many people do not base their understanding or beliefs on such a premise. Many do not accept the notion that there are universal principles that can govern behavior. So far, I have been limiting my discussions to the role of government since I see the government as the most prominent idea whereby human beings seek to legitimize coercion. The idea of coercion directly opposes the principle of liberty. Thus, the principle of government which relates to liberty must be that government (force) can only be used to protect the principle of liberty. Anytime government becomes destructive to the principle of liberty, instead of upholding it, government has overstepped its bounds.
This principle is foreign to many, so much so that even when presented, it has no effect to change their ideas because they do not base their ideas or philosophies on principles at all. Their ideas and philosophies are based on sound-bytes and emotionalism. They are based on short-sighted political whims and false traditions. Some are based on ignorance and hypocrisy.
At times, even the most basic principles are rejected by some because they are not "practical". I ask: if a principle is not practical, is it even a principle? If we cannot follow principles because they are not practical, we have no principles at all. It seems that for some, their only principle is practicality. Thus, they are subject to the sound-bytes, emotionalism, political whims, false traditions, ignorance, and hypocrisy that plagues our society and has literally destroyed faith in the supremacy of principles at all.
My call is for a return to principles and a realization, as a good friend puts it, that principles ARE practical, and if we defer to practicality instead of principles, we will find we lose our principles all together.