A wonderful essay from the Munchkin Wrangler:
I believe that profit is not a dirty word, and “making money” is not a low or dishonorable motivation. The desire to make a buck is what has driven progress throughout history. I believe that commerce, the voluntary exchange of goods and values, is the best motivator for peaceful cooperation, and that the restriction of commerce promotes strife and poverty.
I believe that my life is my own. I am no one’s property or sacrificial animal. I have a right to exist for my own sake, and I don’t have to be ashamed of it. I do not exist to be numbered, counted, categorized, stamped, herded, and milked. I am not a cog in a machine, a sheep in a herd, or a number on a census.
I believe that taxation is equal to forced labor. I believe there is no moral or practical difference between taking the wages of a day or a week from a person to pay for a schoolhouse, and ordering them at gunpoint to spend a day or a week building that schoolhouse directly.
I believe that property rights are the basis for all other rights. If I am not free to dispose of the fruits of my labor as I see fit, all other rights are meaningless. Those who deny property rights cannot claim to be defenders of individual rights.
I believe that the term “individual rights” is a tautology. Rights can only ever be individual.
I believe that there is only one proper role for government, and that is the protection of individual rights. I also believe that no government in history has ever limited itself to that role.
I believe that my neighbor has the right to worship God, Allah, Vishnu, Odin, the Great Pumpkin, or any other deity. I have the right to worship all of those gods, or none of them, and neither of us has the right to force our beliefs on the other. That includes trying to make me live by the tenets of your faith under the guise of “majority rights”–one man’s pork dinner, bourbon, or steak is another man’s abomination, sin, or blasphemy. Worry about your own standing with your deity, not mine.
I believe that a crime without a victim is no crime at all. If an action doesn’t violate another’s person or property, no crime has been committed.
I believe that thoughts can never be a crime, nor can they be an excuse for a more severe punishment. I believe that beating a person because you want their wallet is every bit as despicable as beating them because you don’t like the color of their skin.
I believe that no group has rights beyond those of any of its individual members. There is no magic or alchemy that gives a mob special rights that trump the rights of the individual.
I believe that democracy and majority rule are not automatic mandates for anyone. Without a properly constrained government, fifty-one percent of the tribe can vote themselves the right to pee in the cornflakes of the other forty-nine percent. A tyranny of the majority is still a tyranny.
I believe that any economic system that isn’t centered around rational self-interest is fatally flawed. No amount of altruism or appeals to charity will motivate a man like the prospect of making money for himself.
I believe that forced charity is no charity at all, and forced virtue cannot claim credit for itself anymore than a eunuch can claim credit for chastity.
I believe that it is not my right or obligation to raise and educate your children, nor is it your right or obligation to raise and educate mine.
I believe that it is none of my business what goes on in my neighbor’s bedroom, nor is it any of his business what goes on in mine, as long as no one’s right are violated. Bugger a goat for all I care, as long as it is above the age of consent.
I believe that you cannot have a right to anything that necessitates a financial obligation on the part of someone else. You have a right to life, liberty, and honestly acquired property, not to any sort of monetary or material thing. The former merely requires your fellow citizens to leave you alone; the latter requires them to work for you free of charge.
I believe that it is the height of ignorance to judge an individual not by their actions, but by their ancestry, gender, nationality, religion, dietary preferences, or the melanin content of their skin.
I believe that emotions are not substitutes for facts when it comes to describing and understanding reality. Wishing something to be something other than what it is won’t make it so, no matter how many people wish for it.
I believe that the most effective way to ruin something is to put the government in charge of it. I also believe that the most effective way to corrupt a religion is to mix it with government.
I believe that the desire to become President should automatically be a disqualifying factor.
I believe that anyone in favor of “free” government services has no understanding of economics.
I believe that patriotism isn’t measured by flags or bumper stickers, but by your willingness to defend the rights of someone with whom you disagree completely and profoundly.
I believe that freedom of speech especially extends to unpopular or repulsive speech. Popular and uncontroversial speech does not need protection; dissent does.
I believe that the IQ of a crowd is the IQ of its least intelligent member, divided by half. I do not believe in the wisdom of the masses–intelligence is not an additive quality, but force is, and the threat or application of force is the only tool available to any crowd.
I believe that I am the only person qualified to run my life, that I have the absolute right to be my own master, and that no amount of laws and Constitutions ever written can grant me that right or take it away.
This I believe.
As do I, my friends. Enjoy the weekend.