The Liberty Manifesto
On May 6, 1993 P.J. O'Rourke delivered an address titled "The Liberty Manifesto" at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. The ideas expressed here are just as relevant today and deserve a wider audience. Below are some excerpts from the manifesto. (emphasis added) You can read the complete speech here.
"All we have is the belief that people should do what people want to do, unless it causes harm to other people. And that had better be clear and provable harm. No nonsense about second-hand smoke or hurtful, insensitive language, please.
I don't know what's good for you. You don't know what's good for me. We don't know what's good for mankind. And it sometimes seems as though we're the only people who don't. It may well be that, gathered right here in this room tonight,are all the people in the world who don't want to tell all the people in the world what to do.
This is because we believe in freedom. Freedom -- what this country was established upon, what the Constitution was written to defend, what the Civil War was fought to perfect.
Freedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. It's not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? It's not an endlessly expanding list of rights -- the "right" to education, the "right" to health care, the "right" to food and housing. That's not freedom, that's dependency. Those aren't rights, those are the rations of slavery -- hay and a barn for human cattle.
There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.
So we are here tonight in a kind of anti-matter protest -- an unpolitical undemonstration by deeply uncommitted inactivists. We are part of a huge invisible picket line that circles the White House twenty-four hours a day. We are participants in an enormous non-march on Washington -- millions and millions of Americans not descending upon the nation's capital in order to demand nothing from the United States government. To demand nothing, that is, except the one thing which no government in history has been able to do -- leave us alone.
There are just two rules of governance in a free society:
* Mind your own business.
* Keep your hands to yourself."
P.J. O'Rourke is a H. L. Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute.
Here's a link to O'Rourke's web site and blog.
"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." P.J. O'Rourke
Tags:P J O'Rourke,liberty,cato institute, H L Mencken,freedom,slavery,human rights