Plagiarism or just “great minds”? No matter. It’s a fine thought, and I try to remind myself of it when I’m otherwise inclined to say, “Oh, to heck with even trying.”
Perfection and procrastination are evil twins. Unfreedom is their kissing cousin.
Because we can’t have perfect results, to heck with it; we just won’t bother. This losing game is as true in self-liberation as it is in learning to draw, building a house, running a marathon, or attempting to lose weight.
For instance …
I’m a libertarian. Specifically, I’m a member of a sub-category of libertarians who call themselves anarcho-capitalists, individualist anarchists, or free-market anarchists. (“Anarchist” doesn’t mean we throw bombs or smash Nike stores while wearing Nikes. It just means we believe peaceable people can govern themselves better than politicians can govern anybody — a proposition whose veracity grows more obvious every day.)
“Ancaps” are often a brilliant bunch. But when it comes to the real world … well, sometimes we’re an idiot breed. We’re often fixated on being “philosophically purer than thou” — to the point of self-destruction. I’ve heard my fellows declare, for instance, and declare loudly, hotly, and with vast self-righteousness, that they will absolutely, under no circumstances, consider themselves free until they can do exactly what they want with their private property with zero interference from governments, neighborhood groups, homeowners associations, laws, rules, regulations, peer pressure, or social convention.
Well, good luck with that, guys.
I’m sure most people hereabouts aren’t so pig-headed. But how often have we assumed that we’re only free if laws and regulations “allow” us to be?
If you’re not going to consider yourself free until you’ve got the whole wide world — or even a majority of its v*ters — or maybe a majority of its paperwork — in agreement with you, you’re never going to be free.
Voltaire said lots of other things I like. Many of them are at that link. Here’s another one: “Man is free at the instant he wants to be.”
Of course, Voltaire also famously said, “Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort.” Which is usually translated these days as, “It’s dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” Yeah. Ain’t that the truth?
So there’s one of our chief balancing acts as freedom seekers: Deciding to be free, proceeding to be free, and hopefully avoiding getting whacked along the way.
But if we demand any form of perfection — including “I won’t be free until I can be completely assured the government won’t hurt me” — then we’ll never be free because we’ll never seriously try.