When applied consistently, many tenets of good parenting lead straight to libertarianism - Nathaniel Branden
“What we are up against, as I see it, is the challenge of helping people to understand that many of the tenets that the best parents would teach their children, applied politically, would lead straight to libertarianism.” A part from a lecture on Self-esteem and libertarianism by Nathaniel Branden, given at a Libertarian Party of California event in 2000. Source: Libertarianism.org YouTube channel.
What I want to talk about is our need to be very, very clear and even compassionate when we are talking to people who don't share our views that we are offering something, we are talking about something which to most people is incomprehensibly radical. I'm in interesting position. I have a lot of friends who are democrats, and they are nice people, and they love me. But they are mystified by me. Because, you know, they can't think of me in the terms that they usually would think of people with whom they politically disagree, because they know me personally. And they'll opt to: how is that again Nathaniel, would you tell me that one more time. And, I can see they are really struggling. The idea of a non-coercive society, the idea of a voluntaristic society in which people would absolutely not have the right to impose their values on other people is just like a fantasy. It's like it's totally outside the intellectual range. And these are very, very smart people. I am friendly with democrats, but not with dumb democrats. OK?
So, what we are up against, as I see it, is the challenge of helping people to understand that many of the tenets that the best parents would teach their children, applied politically, would lead straight to libertarianism. Now, think about that. Suppose you said to a parent: Do you want your children to grow up taking responsibility for their own choices and actions? You bet I do! Do you want to raise children who will understand that in human relationships they got to carry their own weight and earn their own way? Of course I do! I don't want my kids to be bums! Do you want your children to grow up feeling that they ought to earn whatever it is they want out of life? Of course I do! Do you want your children to grow up feeling the world owes to have a living? Absolutely not! Do yo want your children to grow up feeling that they are entitled to what other people have produced without any effort on their part? Of course not!
Well, if you think about those ideas and apply them consistently, they won't lead you to socialism. They'll only lead you to libertarianism. So, one of the ways that I find it helpful to get people to at least understand what libertarianism is about is building bridges between an arena where they do understand self responsibility and showing how it applies in an area where they hadn't thought about it applying. You see, nobody that I ever met is against self responsibility totally. We all have areas, including us I guess, where we are more self responsible and probably other areas where we are less self responsible. I mean we could be for example, a person can be a dynamo of self responsibility in the office, and come home at 5 o clock and turn into an emotional 5 year old. You may have heard of that phenomenon. So, everybody is in favor of self responsibility in some respects, and few people understand its application consistently.