Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on September 13, 2011
LAVA – Los Angeles Venture Association – Libertarian – stewardship
This morning, I attended an event hosted by LAVA, the Los Angeles Venture Association. A panel of experts taught us “PR for Startups”. It was my first event of its kind.
It was a great opportunity for me to pitch my website to whoever would be willing to listen. Everyone was friendly and happy to exchange information about our companies. It was worth getting up at 5:00 am to make it to the venue many miles from my house.
Whenever I tell people that I’m doing something political, it gives them a chance to get passionate about their opinions. The second person I talked to told me he was a Libertarian, and he wasn’t afraid to tell me his sheer distrust and hatred of government.
I listen to everyone. I am truly interested in what people have to say. Sure, I have my own viewpoint, but I am like a calm pond, waiting for someone to throw his skipping stones. And most of what he said was right about government: its complexity weighs everyone and all our companies down with a yoke of regulations and rules, omnibus documentation, and over-taxation. Always over-taxation.
If government would just leave the businesses alone! Why can’t businesses make money and hold onto it and invest it into other businesses? Why should government be the arbiter of good and not-so-good? Who are they to regulate what is and is not?
Another Libertarian chimed in: he wanted ultimate freedom and civil liberties.
I agree with almost everything and everyone who can support their ideas with a good argument! That’s my problem. I can see all sides of the issues.
So I asked, “Was there ever a time when our government worked?” To which the first Libertarian answered, “Yes, in the beginning. I would accept a government like that!”
Ah, there’s the rub. Government, like life, gets more and more complex. It never gets simpler.
What if we could throw all the laws away and start over again, with just the Articles and Constitution? Where would we be?
For one thing, we wouldn’t have the IRS. The IRS, in a form not recognizable by today’s standards, was started in 1913. Before then, income tax was considered unconstitutional (and even today, many consider it thus). If we could go back to those days, which is debatable, one thing we would have to dismantle is our military. How many folks in this country would agree to that?
So complexity is our yoke. And yet, if a handful of people today, as wise and as bohemian as our founding fathers, were to craft a document to set a new government, could they appeal to everyone or even a majority of our citizens? Can our present Congress agree on anything? I think the answer is obvious.
So politics always comes back to the age old question: if people are given their run of things, will they act selfishly or in the interests of the masses? And my Libertarian friend was telling me that it will always be to act selfishly, because that is the nature of humans. And because no one could answer this basic question: how do you define “good”?
This is why I blog: to answer that question. Because we are so jaded by society, that we have forgotten that the answer is really quite simple. Goodness can be defined by two things: health and happiness. Now, we could go on forever debating semantics. But the truth is, in each of our hearts, there is an answer to these beliefs of health and happiness. Am I healthy? Is my family healthy? Is my community, my government, my country healthy? Is my planet healthy? And similarly, we can ask this of happiness.
Look at this country. Ask these questions, and then you will know if people are acting for the common good.
And finally, I said: “It is our responsibility to be stewards,” and there I think I lost my Libertarian friend. Because I doubt that in his world, stewardship even begins to enter his thoughts. So there is a limit to how far a conversation can go, and this one ended here.
I welcome my friend to enter the thought process of stewardship. First, he has to know what it means, and then he has to give a damn about it.