Butler Shaffer

A Quote by Butler Shaffer on control, responsibility, self-control, self-ownership, freedom, and division

Because we are self-controlling beings, we are also responsible for our actions. This is not a moral or ethical proposition, but simply a causal one: I am responsible for what I do because I am the one who controls my actions. By the same token, to the degree we seek to control the lives and property of others, we help to foster, in their minds, the illusions that they are not responsible for what they do.

Butler Shaffer

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/6.html

Contributed by: peter

A Quote by Butler Shaffer on responsibility, irresponsibility, freedom, and mind

Freedom is a state of mind that each of us must discover for ourselves. In so doing, we will find that there is nothing that anyone in authority can do to make our world more peaceful orderly, or free. There are no institutional reforms, or ideologies, or more fashionable gurus to save us: such thinking only continues our sense of irresponsibility.

Butler Shaffer

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/6.html

Contributed by: peter

A Quote by Butler Shaffer on life, institutions, complexity, control, and power

Life is a continuing process of making adjustments and creative responses in a world too complex to be predictable. But institutions insist not only upon their illusions of predictability, but their systems of control by which they imagine they can direct the world to their ends. This is why institutions have always aligned themselves with the forces of power, in order to compel the rest of nature – particularly mankind – to conform to their interests.

Butler Shaffer

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/7.html

Contributed by: peter

A Quote by Butler Shaffer on property, living, life, control, and ownership

"Property" is not simply some social invention, like Emily Post’s guide to etiquette, but a way of describing conditions that are essential to all living things. Every living thing must occupy space and consume energy from outside itself if it is to survive, and it must do so to the exclusion of all other living things on the planet. I didn’t dream this up. My thinking was not consulted before the life system developed. The world was operating on the property principle when I arrived and, like the rest of us, I had to work out my answers to that most fundamental, pragmatic of all social questions: who gets to make decisions about what? The essence of "ownership" is to be found in control: who gets to be the ultimate decision maker about people and "things" in the world?

Butler Shaffer

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/9.html

Contributed by: peter

A Quote by Butler Shaffer on political power, politics, sanction, and liberty

Political systems derive their power not from guns and prisons, but from the willingness of those who are to be ruled to expend their energies on their behalf. For state power to exist, a significant number of men and women must sanction the idea of being ruled by others, a sanction that depends, ultimately, upon the credibility of those who exercise such power. When we vote in an election, we are declaring, by our actions, our support for the process of some people ruling others by coercive means. Our motivations for such participation – even if they be openly expressed as a desire to bring state power to an end – do not mitigate the fact that our energies are being employed on behalf of the destructive principle that liberty and social order can best be fostered through the coercive machinery of the state.

Butler Shaffer

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/1.html

Contributed by: peter

A Quote by Butler Shaffer on conflict, thinking, and mind

We live in conflict because our thinking is in conflict. We have organized ourselves into rigidly-defined categories based upon race, ethnicity, nationality, ideology, religion, economic interests, geography, and countless other identities, and vigorously defend the boundaries of such categories from those outside. Politics mobilizes such identities, promising each of these groups the coercive backing of the state to advance their interests.

Butler Shaffer

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/2.html

Contributed by: peter

A Quote by Butler Shaffer on consequences, motives, and actions

The older I get, the more I realize that motives are less of a contributor to the problems of the world than is the failure to understand what is implicit in our actions. Anatole France observed that "those who have given themselves the most concern about the happiness of peoples have made their neighbours very miserable," an insight that should remind us of the disruptive nature of unintended consequences.

Butler Shaffer

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/4.html

Contributed by: peter

A Quote by Butler Shaffer on integrity, mind, and contradiction

We seek integrity in our lives not by ending our inner contradictions – an act that would call into question our prior learning – but by deluding ourselves that our undesired qualities can be transferred to others, who we can then target for punishment. 

Butler Shaffer

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/6.html

Contributed by: peter

A Quote by Butler Shaffer on control, responsibility, self-control, self-ownership, freedom, and division

If it is our desire to live as free men and women, we must abandon our habits of looking outside ourselves for answers. It is to our own minds, our own fears, to which we must have resort. To be "free" is to live without division, and yet the state – as well as other proclaimed authorities – insist that we obey their mandates. To the extent that we must choose between pursuing our own interests and obeying others, we are internally divided into conflicting purposes.

 

How do we end such divisive thinking other than by confronting, and ending, the contradictory thinking that has produced it? Can we understand that trying to overthrow the state, or to reform it, or to select less-demanding leaders, will not end the thinking that has produced it? Neither is the answer to be found in science fiction or utopian/dystopian novels, in which efforts are made to deal with freedom in the setting of imaginary worlds, thus relieving the reader of the responsibility of doing so in reality.

 

It is the existential depths of our own beings that we need to explore if we are to discover the meaning of freedom. When we are prepared to do so, we will begin to discover some important truths about ourselves, one of the most important being that we are, by nature, self-controlling beings. I, alone, can energize my will and my body on behalf of purposes to which I must choose to act. The fact that political systems must resort to violence – and the threat of violence – to persuade us to obey their directives, is the clearest evidence that neither they, nor anyone else, can control our actions.

Butler Shaffer

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/6.html

Contributed by: peter

A Quote by Butler Shaffer on collectivism, individuality, and liberty

What you and I have in common with each other and with everyone else on this planet is a need to mutually protect one another’s individuality. All political systems thrive on collectivism, but liberty is dependent upon a shared love and respect for the inviolability of one another.

Butler Shaffer

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/20.html

Contributed by: peter

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