“Two Toms, John and Me” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Libertarianism

Happy Mani’s Day


Last week the discussion centered around anarchism where I basically stated that I consider it the morally purest and yet most naive idea about government – that is it is best not to have one.  In that post (link), I also stated that the government, if we are going to have one, needs to have certain qualities. This whole idea and the three things I said government needed to have comes direct5ly from my readings of John Locke and the practical application of his principles by two Toms – Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine.  These were in my mind the beginnings of practical classical liberalism which sees its incarnation in the United States of the late 18th century.

It is from these men that much fo my own libertarian philosophy is derived from.  Granting people as much freedom as possible is actually a key to prosperity.  I suppose I do look a little romantically toward the founding of my nation and then look at the current state of things a go – what the serious fuck.  The enlightenment founding fathers were probably the first men to really ask the question of how to have an effective but small government with the maximum amount of liberty and actually put what they wanted more or less in place.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

Through these gentlemen, I come back to my three things needed to do this:

  1.  Recognizing that the citizens are the boss, the government is the servant, not the master.
  2. Having a great concern to defend the rights of individuals, in fact, it should be made as one of the central duties of government.
  3. The citizens should have the means to overthrow said government if it attempts to violate the two above.

As the anarchist reminds us, we don’t need government, but we are probably going to have one, so what we need is safeguarding against tyranny and totalitarianism.

Wants (Freki):

The kind of government then that we want gives us the three above conditions. It starts with the Idea of ‘We the People’ establishing this government and granting it powers and then limiting them. It makes sure the rights of the citizen are spelled out and gives restrictions and limitations on what the government can do in regard to those rights.  Mostly protect them but not interfere.  It also should protect the means to overthrow the government if it becomes tyrannical.  Weapons stay in the hands of civilians.

Reason (Huginn):

Led by Paine and Jefferson and using Locke’s principles all three were maintained in a constitution that granted powers to the government by consent of the governed.  It created a bill fo rights that the government could not strip from the citizen regardless of democratic action.  One of those rights the right to keep and bear arms for the very event and purpose of revolution against tyranny.

Wisdom (Muninn):

What was created was a very wise government that was small.  The problem is as we go along this constitution and the principles behind it are regarded as a tradition rather than law.  This seems to have the same effect as when the Roman republic began to see its traditions erode and tyranny became more possible.

Much the same is happening in the United States right now as the Constitution must be evoked by those who are willing to back it up with force and there seems to be less and less of those people.  I am not one of them but I am also not an idiot.  No government lasts forever.  But the principles of liberty, life, the pursuit of happiness and property ownership, need to remain regardless.


As I consider my reading list for next year I am thinking Locke, Paine and Jefferson need to be among them.  I need to apply my libertarian principles and my sense of practicality to the modern issues fo how to maintain freedom in the face of two parties that seem hell-bent on restricting or limiting rights which they have no authority from the people to limit.  Making sure people can act in self-reliance is a worthy quest.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


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