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Traits of True Teachers of Liberty: #5 Joy

"Tread on me? That's funny! I'm free!"

The libertarian core lifestyle is "live and let live," where "let live" is one of the main corollaries to the fundamental axiom "live life to the fullest." [See Traits Of True Teachers Of Liberty #2] Therefore to really recognize those who are truly teaching liberty it is necessary to understand what it means to live life to the fullest.

Ayn Rand did her best to portray fictional heroes who lived life to the fullest. Her novel The Fountainhead begins with the words, "Howard Roark laughed." Then a few paragraphs later in her narrative: "He laughed at the thing which had happened to him that morning and at the things which now lay ahead." That morning Roark had been expelled from Architectural school. The authorities were doing their best to tread on Roark and squash his future. But Roark could only feel the laughter of his deep-seated inner joy. His freedom did not depend on any authorities.

In Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, liberal-progressive dictatorship has caused the country to fall apart, all hell has broken loose, and Dagny Taggart has dedicated herself to the impossible task of saving Taggart Transcontinental Railroad or die trying. Her assistant, Eddie Willers, is in emotional chaos and he finds his occasional cafeteria acquaintance, John Galt, the novel's hero, sitting at a lunch table. Eddie joins Galt and begins venting his troubles and frustrations, rambling on. Galt listens, saying little. Suddenly Eddie focuses on Galt:

"You know, I never thought you cared whether you saw me or not, me or anybody, you seemed so complete in yourself, and that's why I liked to talk to you, because I felt that you always understood, but nothing could hurt you - and it made me feel free, as if ... as if there were no pain in the world. Do you know what's strange about your face? You look as if you've never known pain, or fear, or guilt."

Did you catch Eddie's admission? "And it made me feel free." Do you see how Galt was a true teacher of freedom? He taught wordlessly by being free of pain, or fear, or guilt inside himself.

Later in their conversation Galt laughs joyously. Willers responds, "Stop it, will you? Why do you laugh like that?" It doesn't take much for a joyous laugh to erupt spontaneously from Galt.  Without pain, fear or guilt, his inner natural joy is always happily percolating just beneath the surface ready to burst forth.

Our true nature is joy. When we are free, we can't help feeling joy. Yes, we can imprison our joy, lock it down, hold it captive inside ... by creating pain, by thinking there is something to fear, or by letting guilt grip us. And such pain, fear, or guilt would teach bondage to the world. But our joy teaches freedom ... and our joy attracts people to us to learn from us.

It is impossible to truly teach liberty without joy because those who are not experiencing joy are in some way restricting themselves inside, and those who restrict themselves are teaching restriction to the world, not liberty.

Some libertarians like to think of themselves as porcupines. But true teachers of liberty do not get their quills up and squeal "Don't tread on me!" True teachers of liberty are more likely to laugh with joy like Howard Roark, and with sparkling eyes pronounce something like:

"Tread on me? 
That's funny!
I'm free!"

To fully grasp how insane the psychology of modern "liberal progressives" really is, read Ayn Rand's novel "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

"I think of myself as a freedom zealot."


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