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Tying up Loose Ends and Other Reflections on Values and Principles

My wife, Beatrice, and I are down here in Moreno Valley, CA, near Riverside visiting with her parents. A couple of years ago, I finally talked them into getting DSL (for not totally unselfish reasons). But; they love it. Yesterday, in another act not completely unselfish, I installed a wireless router. Now I can sit in their nice backyard and stay connected with the office VPN. I told them that there’s now one less excuse for any of their workaholic kids and grandkids not to visit. Just have them bring their wireless enabled notebook computers and they’ll be all set.

So, we’re getting ready to go out to a movie last night and while waiting to go, I pop in and read this tidbit from Greg Swann. “Shit!” Now I just know that when non-libertarians read this, they’re going to think I’m advocating some new set of laws to enable those with concealed carry permits to carry a gun wherever they please. Anyone who’s a consistent advocate of freedom over politics and “sound public policy” can see that the NRA is stupid and foolish to engage in the kind demagoguery that the leftist, alphabet soup “advocacy groups” engage in; AARP, NAACP, NOW, ACLU come handily to mind. You don’t advance the cause for the freedom to posses or carry firearms by forcing those who don’t value that freedom to associate with you—which, after it’s all said and done, is just another rip-off in an exhausting list of thefts from your “friends” on the left and the right.

I often forget that nobody thinks in terms of principles anymore. I find that whenever I advocate some particular value or other (such as being armed) people take it to mean that my values should trump theirs at times and places where they’re calling the shots; like, on their own property. Conversely, when I decry some abomination like young teenagers with cell phones glued to their ears 24/7, it’s taken to mean that I want some new law to “protect children” from what I perceive as parental neglect or shortsightedness.

I have a lot of opinions, and let me tell you straight up—I loath what the word “opinion” has become in common usage. To what extent you or anyone else should have the moral authority to dictate my values is no matter of opinion. Disputes in matters of general principles are not matters of opinion. Someone is right, and someone else is wrong. It is just that simple. But we’ve become completely upside-down. Fundamental principles denoting right and wrong—moral and immoral—are now matters of opinion; while simple value preferences—smart or stupid—require some codification in the law. Principle has been tossed out in favor of degree. Advocate anything; steal anything; convict and imprison anyone on any pretense—just don’t do anything to a degree that might be construed “extreme.”

All that said; let me clarify my position in the matter. The moral principle is freedom and derives from a simple recognition of the nature of human beings. We’re free for the simple reason that our nature dictates it. We’re not pack animals, submitting to the will of the alpha male like apes and dogs (though too often, we act as though we are). Accordingly, morality dictates that the business owner in question (via the authority he has placed in management) has every right to fire the good man because he does not wish to associate with him. The “gun thing” is completely superfluous to the situation.

Read that again: “the ‘gun thing’ is completely superfluous to the situation.” Do you grasp that—I mean—really grasp it? It means absolutely nothing—which means—we could just as well be talking about a business owner who fired (or didn’t hire) someone because they’re black; because they’re white; because they’re Mexican; because they’re Jewish; because they’re Christian; because they’re atheist—because they’re fat, ugly, a man, a woman, a homosexual, a heterosexual—because they’re unwilling to walk around the office nude; are willing to walk around the office nude—won’t sleep with the boss; want to sleep with the boss. We could go on.

This is all just the general moral principle of freedom applied to association. Not even 1 in 100 people believe in freedom of association as a principle; thus, by simple implication, not 1 in 100 people believe in freedom as a principle. Wait, not 1 in 1,000, rather.

Those who make any distinction whatsoever between a man’s home and his business are one of two kinds of creatures: a public-policy wonk or politician who knows what kind of power is in the offing for making such a distinction with no essential difference; or, one who does not think or act in terms of principles. Neither believes in freedom.

Others are advised to watch their backs when dealing with either kind.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

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