“Welcome to the Arena in the Clouds”

I have a confession: All my life I’ve feared I was living some sort of lie. I claim to love freedom, which means I should find debates about governance fascinating. Conservatism v. Liberalism, Minarchism v. Anarchy: If I were really devoted to freedom, wouldn’t these things consume my every waking thought, in an effort to develop a solid philosophical basis for my knee-jerk beliefs? But try as I might, I can never sustain more than passing interest in the topic. Nozick and Hayek and Rothbard, oh, my. Better than sleeping pills they are. I own a book of Spooner’s essays and actually did read all the way through “No Treason” one time, but c’mon. You can really tell he was a lawyer. Want to send me fleeing from the room? Just use the word Anarcho-Syndicalist in a sentence.

Clearly I am a failure as an intellectual, and probably as a freedomista. What I always wanted to hear was strategies for actually doing freedom in an unfree world. Talk like that is harder to find.

With a hat tip to Claire, here’s a lyrically beautiful essay by Max Borders about exactly what I’m on about.

Welcome to the Arena in the Clouds

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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3 Responses to “Welcome to the Arena in the Clouds”

  1. MamaLiberty says:

    I went through a long period of seeking intellectual context for freedom. I read Spooner, von Mises, and so many more. I studied history, philosophy, ethics and logic…

    Then one day it hit me… I already knew just about everything needed to actually live freedom, insomuch as it depended on me. I learned as a toddler that it was wrong to hit people, but good to defend myself. I learned that it was both wrong and stupid to take what didn’t belong to me. Later I settled on “live and let live” as a descriptive phrase for minding my own business and being responsible for my own actions and choices.

    Yes, I’ve discussed all this and more with others, both friend and foe… but that does not define my liberty in the least. I expect that I’d live that way if I was the only one on earth who believed it.

  2. Wolfman says:

    I do like to use words like ‘Minarcho-Populist’ in serious sentences, but I’m obnoxiously intellectual like that. Really, it’s just a fancy way of saying, ‘just barely enough rules to keep the peace, but leave people alone’. Most of my voting is an effort to keep the balance of government to where they can’t decide which way to turn, and that’s my contribution to the problem.

    As to contributing to the solution? I don’t know. I do my best to teach my little boy right from wrong, rather than Right from Left. I don’t tell people what to do, if I can help it, nor do I make judgements about their personal lives. I guess I just try to encourage people not to be so controlling. Who knows if it works?

    That being said, Joel, I don’t think you give yourself enough credit. I don’t come here for lengthy political expositions (I have other places to go for that). I come here because I haven’t been able to shake off the ties that keep me in a city, with the trappings of society around me and the inevitable struggle to keep them. I haven’t clawed my way free of those things. But I come here and see you, and you have. You DO freedom.

    And I’m goddamn glad you do. Thanks.

  3. Joel, that was fantastic–thank you for the share. (As the story went on, I actually started to root for the increasingly amusing jabs to “Do me! Do me!” — and they did. Awesome. I deserved every one.)

    That story, better than probably any other, explains what keeps me coming to TUAK and to Claire’s place. Like Wolfman, I too am still constrained by ties (not so much “city”, in my case, but functionally similar), and the inspiration of observing how it might be done, without apology and with an admirable minimum of whining, helps a fella where he lives.

To the stake with the heretic!