Boxing is an unnatural act. Cos everything in it is backwards. You wanna move to the left, you don’t step left, you push on the right toe. To move right, you use your left toe. Instead of running from the pain – like a sane person would do, you step into it.
– Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris in Million Dollar Baby
I love the movie Million Dollar Baby for many reasons, but one of them is the portrayal of the training itself. Boxing, like many disciplines, requires one to actively abandon many natural inclinations and replace them with behavior that works. As humans, we have an impressive set of instincts, instincts that have served us well as a species for thousands of years; however, those same instincts can sometimes hinder us, sometimes fatally.
Such is the case with libertarianism. One of the primary reasons the philosophy has not become mainstream is that, on its surface, it can go contrary to many of the inclinations people have been conditioned to accept. For hundreds of years, we have come to rely on the state so completely for so many things that the mere thought of doing things any other way makes us profoundly uncomfortable.
Take guns, for example. Libertarians generally advocate the unfettered right to bear arms, and this doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. They see violence committed with the assistance of firearms, and the natural inclination is to restrict or ban the use of firearms. This attitude may continue even after examples are presented demonstrating that gun bans don’t work and that communities filled with responsible gun owners are safer than others. You can usually get people to warm up to gun rights, though, once you combine the examples with logical thinking. It is not logical, for example, to help the public protect themselves by disarming them.
Then consider drugs. Utah Liberty has covered this elsewhere. Drugs are bad, so our first inclination is to ban them. We are then presented with data showing that drug bans result in increased usage and an increase in violent crime. It takes only a few minutes of logical thought to persuade most people that criminalizing drug usage is not the way to go.
Then there’s the minimum wage. When people are poor, our first inclination is to force employers to pay them more. What we don’t at first foresee is that this forces employers to lay off workers so that they can afford to pay the remaining workers the increased wage. This had disastrous results in American Samoa in 2007 when Congress passed the Fair Minimum Wage Act. Nearly one third of the workers in the territory lost their jobs as one tuna cannery was forced to shut down and another to cut back severely. If you asked these workers if they’d rather be working for $3.26 an hour or unemployed, which do you think they’d pick?
I think presenting libertarian ideals to the people of Utah will have its challenges along these lines. We are a very conservative, traditional people. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is this conservatism that gives Utahns our sense of justice and decency. Our religious heritage teaches us that free agency is good and coercion is bad. If we can take these principles and extend them to the realm of political action, Utah can be a formidable force in the fight for freedom.
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