Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Porcupine and Liberty...

I like to think the humble porcupine represents the Libertarian principles of the Founders.  A simple analysis of this critter helps to understand freedom, or liberty, as envisioned by the Founders. 

This little animal goes along its way seeking to harm no one.  He just eats, moves around, and does not commit intentionally aggressive acts against anyone.  He just likes to be left alone to do what porcupines like to do.  Key phrase, “He likes to be left alone.”  Treat him with benign neglect.

However he also is uniquely equipped for self defense.  When threatened by an aggressor he curls up in a ball displaying sharp quills that become highly defensive.  It is a myth that says a porcupine can throw its quills.  This is not the case.  Their armament is strictly defensive.

Liberty is like that.  We should be free to do what we want until what we do bumps up against our neighbors’ right to do what they want.  At that point we must say, “excuse me,” or “sorry” and back up a little and go around.  the gracious individual says, “No problem.”  If we persist to aggress against our neighbor then we may justifiably get stuck with a quill.  Complying with the “Zero Aggression Principle” keeps us in line with natural law. 

Absolute freedom doesn’t exist in the real world of human interaction.  And many define liberty as freedom combined with the morality of “Natural Law” or “Natural Limits.”  The Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  An old Jewish saying is, “Don’t do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.”  Jesus took that saying and went a little farther stating, “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.”

As we begin to move into the time of public carry of “quills” in Illinois, how we treat others, being gracious, not taking offense too quickly, treating others how you would like to be treated, becomes paramount.  Forgiveness is great as is turning the other cheek for small offenses.  Following the example of our brother the porcupine it is important to leave others alone to run their own life, be defensive and not aggressive.  A favorite quote; "An armed society is a polite society."