Many sports fans are familiar with the "Curse of the Billy Goat" which superstitious people believe caused the Chicago Cubs to lose the 1945 World Series and has kept the Cubs out of the World Series ever since. But a person does not have to be superstitious to wonder if the "Curse of the Nolan Chart" has kept libertarians out of serious contention in the league of politics for 45 years.
The Nolan Chart was created by David Nolan in 1969. Fast forward 45 years to 2014 and two U.S. Senators, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, who are very liberty-minded conservatives (for example, both wanting to end today's police state and abolish the IRS), are hoping to use the 2016 Presidential race to influence the national debate and awaken people's minds.
These two political firebrands are making it possible for the 2016 Presidential race to offer the best chance for at least some important liberty ideas to really permeate the minds of average people who rarely think about political principles. But will the promising work of these two liberty-minded senators be sabotaged by the "Curse of the Nolan Chart?"
What is the "Curse of the Nolan Chart?"
Is a curse really only a false mindset which influences people in the direction of self-sabotage? What if all these years there was a temptation in the minds of many Chicago Cubs players and fans to "leave the door open" to the possibility there just might a force barring them from the World Series? Could such a mental seed planted be just enough to sabotage success?
The Nolan Chart asks people to do more than merely "leave the door open" to a false mindset. It encourages libertarians to sabotage their minds in two ways. Consider the foundation premise of the Nolan Chart:
"Conservatives tend to favor economic freedom more than social freedom, liberals tend to favor social freedom more than economic freedom."
In the first place, this characterization is false because it is far too broad a generalization. In order to hang onto such an idea in mind, one would have to resort to selective perception, seeing those situations which would supply evidence favoring, while "not seeing" those situations which supply evidence against such a characterization. One who sees clearly is hard pressed to find either a liberal or conservative who does not favor curtailing both conceptions of freedom. Selective perception in this respect is a form of self-sabotage, but it is not the entirety of the "curse."
The deeper falsity perpetrated by the Nolan Chart is the thought that economic freedom and social freedom are separate. In truth, there is only freedom. In every situation where a freedom perceived as "social" is taken away by political dictatorship, its economic foundation is also taken away. With every violation of economic freedom by politicians and bureaucrats, social possibilities become essentially only privileges granted permission. Again, in order to hang onto the belief that there are two separate kinds of freedom, social and economic, one would have to consistently ignore reality, since anyone seeing the entire picture of any situation recognizes that the situation has both economic and social aspects.
There are other problems with the Nolan Chart, but these two false conceptions mentioned above, and believed religiously by many, many libertarians constitute the "Curse of the Nolan Chart."
By seeing through the colored lenses of pigeon-holed generalities, many libertarians fail to realize that underneath the surface appearances presented by the mistaken beliefs of those who are labeled "liberal" and "conservative" are individual human beings with the same interests on a deep level as themselves and everyone else. Because these labels are designed to foster a sense of "they are my enemies," many libertarians spend a great deal of time and energy resisting liberals and conservatives. But no one ever used walls of resistance to help another individual recognize his innate libertarian impulses and heal his faulty thinking. It doesn't work that way. Resistance creates resistance coming back at you.
Further, by refusing to see economic freedom as the root while social freedoms are the branches, many libertarians spend incalculable time and effort campaigning for the branches (and in the process resisting people whose mistaken ideas they could otherwise be helping to heal) while allowing the root to continue to be hacked away.
What is the solution to a curse? How about a change of the way one thinks?
What if libertarians were to associate with people without resistance, without labeling them as liberals or conservatives and putting up walls? With no walls present, deeper energies tend to come into resonance. Liberals and conservatives might inexplicably find themselves less able to ignore their own inner libertarian impulses. Some might even wake up in the middle of the night with the epiphany, "Shit! I'm a dictator!"
What if libertarians campaigned entirely on economic freedom, working to preserve a healthy root which would by nature nourish healthy branches for everyone in every respect? What dictatorship is possible in social behaviors when dictatorship itself is not economically feasible?
The liberty movement proceeds by fits and starts, by steps forward and momentary faltering, by the efforts of those who are not always perfect and pure, like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul. The question each libertarian must ask is, "Will I flow with the flow of this natural movement ... or will I buy into the curse and sabotage those who would help far more than hurt my cause?"
To understand the insane psychology of modern "liberal progressives," read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged."
"God's laws will keep your minds at peace, because peace IS His Will, and His laws are established to uphold it. His are the laws of freedom, but yours are the laws of bondage. Since freedom and bondage are irreconcilable, their laws CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD TOGETHER. The laws of God work only for your good, and there ARE no other laws beside His. Everything else is merely lawLESS, and therefore chaotic." -Jesus Christ in A Course in Miracles