“Liberty in our lifetime“ – for Free Staters this is not just an empty slogan. It is the rallying cry we listened to and took to heart before we uprooted our lives, packed the moving van, and started driving to New Hampshire. It encapsulates more than just a political strategy, it demonstrates hope. The hope that we do not have to descend into the darkness of totalitarianism, but have a fighting chance against the forces of deceit and communism. It stands for the belief that there is still enough appreciation of human freedom remaining for us to not only halt the growth of government, but to reverse it, and do so in a way that marks a fundamental, historic shift in American affairs. That tomorrow is going to be brighter than today – that is the essence and the promise of “Liberty in our lifetime“.
In order to make this vision a reality, we often work tirelessly. We organize calling parties and potlucks, we appear on podcasts and write blog articles and books, we hold signs for libertarian state reps and start homeschooling co-ops, we plan meetings for crypto enthusiasts and privacy advocates, we move the Overton Window by our efforts in organizations like the NHLA or AFP. Heck, we even have people advertise the FSP abroad, as recently happened with a series of interviews for Germany‘s #1 libertarian magazine, eigentümlich frei, or with Jeremy Kauffman‘ speech at a libertarian conference in Prague. And yet, the article‘s headline suggests that all these efforts, as amazing and worthy of applause as they are, neglect to address the most critical lever we have to create a free future. Could that be possible?
Yes, it can. The action necessary to double the amount of Free Staters is as simple as it is natural: we need to have more children. Or, to put it in a way that stays true to our initial headline and factors in the concept of replacement rates: Every Free Stater should aspire to have, on average, four children.
Right out of the gate, it is obvious why a blank statement like that would lead to backlash among libertarians. Just take the word “should“ – since when are we in the business of telling people how to live their lives? Is a sentence like the one above not deeply at odds with a philosophy of freedom, one that leaves the decision whether or not to start a family with the individual? And let us not forget the unspoken assumption here! Even if such a behavior was desirable, would turning it into a strategy not implicitly place the needs of the collective over those of the individual? Is that not what we vowed to fight in the first place?
Slow your horses, everyone. The main goal of the above statement was not ideological purity, but to get across a basic point utilizing basic arithmetic. If the average woman needs to have two children for the population size to stay unchanged, then an average of four children would lead, within a generation, to a doubling of the population (or, in this case, of a subpopulation). That being said, I am perfectly aware of the problems you create when you transform a thought experiment into a moral guideline for an entire movement.
Let‘s try this, then: If we are serious about the goal to create a libertarian homeland, a refuge for freedom-loving people from all over the world, and are confident in our claim that a consistent application of our principles would produce a degree of human flourishing almost unimaginable to most people in this world today, then why do we not give the gift of life to a greater number of children, so that they could experience this bright and beautiful future?
Look at that! Suddenly, it is not a collectivist matter anymore, but one of individual compassion. Once we shift our focus from ourselves to our potential future children, the beauty of our decision to enlarge our families becomes undeniable. Not only are we creating a human life, fostering and nourishing it, we are doing so with a staunch conviction to also protect it from statist violence and propaganda. Instead of handing our child off to strangers when it has barely begun to smile, we can choose to care for it at home. We can choose to homeschool it and in doing so, provide it with everything it needs to become a critical thinker in its later life. By filling in the intentional gaps in the statist curriculum, we can sow the seeds of entrepreneurism, courage, and wisdom. If that is not a libertarian life, then what is? It bears repeating that while most of us were deprived of an upbringing under these circumstances, all of us can give this gift to a future child. An amazing power, indeed.
If there are objectivist readers of this article, they will no doubt have a smug smile on their face now. Rightfully so. All that has been provided so far are appeals to altruism in one form or another. But do not despair, my fellow Randians! The best arguments to have more children are actually selfish ones. Yes, you read that right. Having kids, many kids, is a selfish act.
The easiest way to prove this claim is to shine a slightly different light on the last argument. If we possess the power to raise children in an environment of compassion, love, and free education, then the child is not the only one who benefits. We do, too. And how could we not? It is the ultimate gift, the one we wish we had received, and now we are in a position to give it to another human being. Is it not obvious that this dedication to your children will fill you with a sense of purpose and long-lasting pride, one that day-to-day activism might never give you?
Be the change you want to see in the world – surely many readers of The Liberty Block will resonate with these words. Moving to New Hampshire and joining the liberty movement‘s avant garde is one part of this mission. Having children and raising them in a way that allows them to see through the fog of lies and manipulation is another. Beyond that, the mere willingness to embrace parenthood is a form of resistance in a world that day in, day out, tries to convince us that there really are too many humans on this planet. It is a bizarre display of doublethink when individuals who fell for the power elite‘s propaganda tell us that in order to avert catastrophe for humanity we have to decimate humanity. Do not listen to them. Work hard, both on your body and your mind, find a partner if you have not yet, embrace life, be happy, have children (through procreation or adoption), and let them experience the freedoms we vowed to fight for. It does not matter what the specifics of your worldview are, whether you are an agnostic anarcho-capitalist, a Christian minarchist, or a Randian objectivist: giving the gift of life will enrich you more than you can imagine, while also raising a middle finger to the ruling elite that wants you in mental and physical servitude. You know the drill: do not give in against evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it. There is no better way to do that than with a little one by your hand and a toddler on your shoulders.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Liberty Block or any of its members. We welcome all forms of serious feedback and debate.