Liberty Explained: What is the single greatest thing about liberty? What is the greatest flaw of liberty?

What is the single greatest thing about liberty?

  • This answer probably varies for every individual, but mine (Chris Spangle) is the beauty of spontaneous order. Order comes from markets adjusting to the needs of individuals as judged by the price system (or what someone will pay for something). This order is displayed by geese flying in a V or people managing a roundabout without incident. 
  • The classic parable of the efficiency of the marketplace is Leonard Reed’s I, Pencil. A pencil is made up of many parts from around the world to solve a simple problem: the need to write things down. No one person invented the pencil. It developed over time with each generation evolving and improving it. 
  • Men and women around the world contribute cedar, lacquer, graphite, ferrule, factice, pumice, wax, and glue. They add the labor necessary to make it work. Numerous people are involved in the process, including people like the sweeper in the factory and the lighthouse keeper guiding the shipment into port. 
  • He writes: 
  • “There is a fact still more astounding: The absence of a mastermind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the invisible hand at work.
  • The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society’s legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand. This faith will be confirmed.”


What is the greatest flaw of liberty?

  • The greatest flaw I have found is two-fold: 
  • It is a pretty big paradigm shift to ask people to trust their fellow man in a market-based system, especially in a low trust society. 
  • Libertarians, like all humans, are imperfect messengers and often fail at communicating the message in a way that helps close that trust gap.


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