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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/8683/stop-worrying-about-the-election/

Stop Worrying about the Election

October 3, 2008 by

The idea that freedom is simply a state of mind may sound trifling, writes Isaac Morehouse, especially when considering some of the unimaginable horrors faced by unfree peoples across the globe. But even political freedom cannot be had without a people who keep the spirit of freedom alive within themselves; and if they do, real freedom is often not far behind. FULL ARTICLE


Michael A. Clem October 3, 2008 at 9:03 am

Don’t some people say that the best revenge is to live well? That may be the best response to tyrannical government, too.

Todd October 3, 2008 at 9:39 am

I have Ron Paul to thank for opening my eyes to the erosion of our freedoms and how our government truly works. Before this, I was a dutiful, useful idiot, serving in the military, chasing the almighty Federal Reserve Note, believing that the Republicans stood for freedom and prosperity and not questioning my leaders. While I disagreed with the 2nd invasion of Iraq and even resigned my commission over it, I just knew if felt wrong, but there was no moral or intellectual reasoning behind my resigning. Now with the help of this site and the books in the Mises store, the intellectual reasoning is starting to fill in around those feelings.
My responsibility now lies in teaching my children and wife about liberty and their responsibilities in maintaining it for themselves and their country.

Mark M. Glasgow October 3, 2008 at 10:30 am

How true, your observation, extolling the potency of freedom nurtured within. Those who are free will forever remain so, unless they themselves choose otherwise. That our external world should in all manner, reflect our inner state of consciousness, has driven freemen always to assert such freedom even in the midst of unpleasant odds, whilst others, indisposed to assert what by birth is theirs, willingly and complacently accede to tyranny imposed from without.

Freemen, in defense of liberty, will at all times and under all circumstances, stand as beacons, illuminating the path toward freedom for those willing to embrace its call. It would be easy in our times to resign ourselves, as so many have done, to wringing of hands, whilst fretting over which candidate can best rescue us from our own slavish apathy. Perhaps the most sought after bailout, should be the one we perform for ourselves, once again reasserting, government of the people, by the people and for the people. Anything less, posits us squarely on the path to slavery.

Leanna Clark October 3, 2008 at 11:25 am

I wasn’t worrying about the election, but about this bailouts effects on our freedom. I needed this. Now I know what to do. Thank you.

Todd October 3, 2008 at 12:45 pm

To Mark M. G.:
Very well said and the perfect extension to the short and sweet article.
Kind Regards to all.

Lamont October 3, 2008 at 1:15 pm

I appreciate the sentiment expressed by this post, but I am leery of saying that one is free as long as one has freedom in one’s spirit. When one is imprisoned there is a very real sense in which one loses freedom. Any attempt to identify freedom with the right frame of mind is to, as Berlin put it, retreat to the inner citadel.

I understand the moral this article is to express. I just worry that it does not take seriously just how dangerous the lack of pure negative freedom is. I think the mitigated claim that the right mindset is necessary, but not sufficient, for preserving freedom is more to the point.


FGMorley October 3, 2008 at 1:28 pm

This man has obviously never lived under an oppressive regime. I’m sorry to say that he’s full of himself. Give it a rest.

Som October 3, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Lamont and FGMorley,

While both of your comments seem correct and common sense, this article actually does reflect what is really needed in each of us to truly be free. I highly recommend reading the short article “A Letter To A Hindu” by Leo Tolstoy, which I’ve linked here:


And think about what this quote, from the article, really means and how it applies to our struggle for liberty:

“A commercial company enslaved a nation comprising two hundred millions. Tell this to a man free from superstition and he will fail to grasp what these words mean. What does it mean that thirty thousand people, not athletes, but rather weak and ordinary people, have enslaved two hundred millions of vigorous, clever, capable, freedom-loving people? Do not the figures make it clear that not the English, but the Indians, have enslaved themselves?”

I personally believe a person’s spirit has a dramatic effect on free will, which is what ultimately moves society. I’m going to bookmark this article to get my mind back on track whenever I run into some stupid story on TV or online about how great the government did this that, bla bla bla.

Helen Hubbard October 3, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Dear Mr Morehouse

Brooks Hatlen was the Librarian in ‘The Shawhank Redemption’ and thus a keeper of books but not a bookkeeper :)

Li October 4, 2008 at 6:53 pm

There is something important that I think the author fails to address: not only is this “inner” liberty important when the “outer” one is lacking, it is in some ways even more important to be mindful of the former when the latter seems to still exist. “Outer” without “inner” is hollow, inflexible, and so easily corrupted… as we have seen.

This is a bit of a weak spot in Western thinking IMO. A bit of Eastern philosophical understanding of the inner meanings of “Liberty” might combine well for mutual benefit here.

Ike Hall October 4, 2008 at 8:21 pm

@Todd: Your story of the resignation of your commission reminded me of one of my favorite Zen koans.

A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: “Is there really a paradise and a hell?”
“Who are you?” inquired Hakuin.
“I am a samurai,” the warrior replied.
“You, a solider!” exclaimed Hakuin. “What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar!”
Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued, “So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head.”
As Nobushige drew his sword, Hakuin remarked: “Here open the gates of hell!”
At these words the samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.
“Here open the gates of paradise,” said Hakuin.

Elena October 4, 2008 at 11:58 pm

This is one of the most inspiring articles I’ve read about this in a LONG time, and exactly what I feel.

A man I know felt very disheartened about the state our country was for me the next generation to deal with.

I told him that we aren’t down yet! :)

There are sooo many people becoming actively free again. Campaignforliberty.com has helped a lot. ;)

I’m sure it will be just like Poland, which story I didn’t know by the way and appreciate knowing VERY much!!!! :)

Thanks for the great article.

ian October 5, 2008 at 8:45 am

I had a terrible encounter on Friday at work. I will admit I work with moles who love the government and, almost to a man, think the sun rises because of our government, be it run by a democrat or a republican. They love interventions and want more and more government.

One of my coworkers, an avowed republican and McCain lover, informed me he was happy the bailout occurred. He wanted more regulation because obviously americans are unable to behave responsibly. He was happy that the people would be regulated and thought it was the best thing that could have happened to fix the unfixable american. In his mind it was the citizens who had caused this problem.

Shortly after uttering this he was joined in chorus by a diehard liberal and Obama supporter who agreed. It was not the government who caused it, but it was the government who was going to fix it. We needed the government to intervene for us to save us from ourselves because we were incapable of managing our affairs. He was upside down in his condo because people took out mortgages they could not afford. The bailout would save him…

I jumped in mentioned it was the governments fault and not the average joe. I informed them it was previous actions by the government and free credit driven by the fed that caused this. I said these banks should all go belly-up. We needed prices to drop back to manageable levels and things would work themselves out. Keeping prices artificially high were not going to “fix” anything, but would give some people a semblance of wealth while driving up every other price. I said they should look up some definitions of governments and they should start with fascism and work their way to socialism and communism. Well a fight was about to break out as my republican coworker was feeling I was insulting his country and leaders so I just turned around and walked away.

These people will never realize what has happened. They will never accept the truth and/or freedom. Liberty to them is provided by a government. This country has no chance when the citizens bow to the state and liberty is given by the guy who holds the biggest gun.

Joy D. Brower October 5, 2008 at 3:48 pm

An excellent article and to the point! The spirit of liberty must be kept alive within each citizen or, like those workers at the water cooler, they will succumb to the statist mumbo jumbo. Actually, this whole election cycle and the totally inadequate candidacy of McCain – to say nothing of the charlatan Obama – are finally bringing me back to Libertarianism after many years of supporting the GOP (always, or at least cyclically, it seems, a recipe for disappointment!). I think the bailout finally pushed me over the edge – this is akin to FDR’s New Deal that extended the Depression for many years until the war machine for WWII began to rescue the economy. Unfortunately, we have depended on that war machine for too many generations, so we may be doomed as a society anyway.

Servius October 6, 2008 at 10:24 am

Do you have a reference for the “Polish people had become ‘ungovernable’.” statement? I’d like to read more about the resistance to communism within Poland.

Greg October 7, 2008 at 9:31 am

Freedom does not come from the lack of oppression, which we might be able to influence, but cannot control, but rather comes from within. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

A most excellent and appreciated article.

EnEm October 11, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Great article. Inspiring.
I lead you to a 1962 article by Ayn Rand…..”How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society? If interested, it’s in her work “The Virtue of Selfishness”.


Li October 15, 2008 at 1:11 am

On a similar line, though with a heavy Indian and Eastern philosophical flavour:


The State and the “ego” have a lot in common. Each is a reflection of the other perhaps?

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