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