How to Fight For Personal Liberty

"Marc@FreeMarketsFan" asked me this question during my Twitter Q&A last Thursday:  What is one thing a regular individual can do every day to keep fighting for our personal liberty?


Slaves fight. Enemies fight. People who hate, fight. When you have personal liberty there is no "other". Nobody to fight. There is no "Us" versus "Them" for the person who has found personal liberty.

So the answer is: stop fighting others for personal liberty. They don't have your liberty in a bottle somewhere. They will never give it to you. It's not theirs to give. And you just make enemies and you make your heart and brain angry. Fighting makes you more and more enslaved by your visions of personal liberty that are not outside but inside. You don't have to "keep fighting". The fighting is over.

The government, the corporations, the powers that be, don't care about your personal liberty and never will.

If you are angry, scared, anxious, depressed, about the limitations on your personal liberty then the first thing you have to work on is your own inner self.

You already are free. Deep down, the awareness that creates thoughts, that creates fears and worries, is already free.

The moon exists whether or not there are clouds in front of it that obscure it. Your thoughts and fears are the clouds. But the real you is the moon.

Get back in touch with that feeling, the awareness behind all the thoughts.

This is personal liberty.

And it is only in this way that you can fight for personal liberty on a grander scale, by being a beacon to those who are still lost in the clouds.


[This is my attempt at making a Seth Godin-style post. One time Seth and I were introduced via email. I had seen him an airport a few weeks earlier but was too shy to say hello to him. I responded to the email by paying him what I thought was a compliment. I said that sites like Pinterest and instagram show that people want to see things shaped like photos and I congratulated him because all his posts are about the size of a photo. He wrote back:

"it's not on purpose!

but that's a neat way to look at it..."]

[Oh, the funny thing about the above comment on Seth Godin was that it took someone from India to introduce us, even though we've shared the same book publisher and editor and live just a few miles apart. But that's what's great about "social" media. For me, that's part of personal liberty. I'm free to never leave my house.]

[Oh, one more thing. (which is making this post bigger and bigger). If you like these short-style posts please "Facebook Like" the post so I get an idea of people's interests.]

  • I like substance, if it comes in short or long posts, that’s fine, no pre stablished formulas please

  • your writing has helped me unclutter my mind space significantly. many thanks.

  • AgeOfSophizm

    Pure Awesomeness James! Reminds me of The Four Agreements.

  • Nneka, Working Mystic

    Finally someone says it. I’m jealous I didn’t get to go first:-)

    I got that freeing feeling a couple years ago. It’s done wonders for my work habits. I didn’t think I would ever get there with a full time J-O-B. But I did!

    Short posts, long posts, it doesn’t matter. Your writing is engaging. It gets you from paragraph to paragraph. You don’t waste words. If I think I could skip a sentence that you write, I end up having to go back because I missed something.

  • Derek

    Ambivalent on the length of post. Content is the real meat.

  • Joshua Mendoza

    I like meaty posts. For me, reading you is like sitting down comfortably, hold a cup of coffee and start reading, then look through my window and finally start the day :) I really enjoy reading about your stories.

  • Isaiah

    I liked it, but I don’t want to discourage you from longer posts. I like whatever you decide to write.

  • Lori

    i can’t facebook-like your post because i’m not on facebook so count this as a regular old like.

  • alex beller

    Not trying to make you work extra hard, because I appreciate laziness for than anyone. BUT, the longer posts are gold.

  • brussels goldberg

    Sometimes i fight when my zippper is stuck then i’m peeing all over myself… i never win…

  • Nick

    Great post. I gave up writing a modestly-successful libertarian website last year for this reason. Struggling against the powers that be is not a ticket to greater freedom; you have to start with yourself, and find freedom where you can in your daily existence.

  • James I disagree. The government will erode your personal freedoms if you allow it. It is not yet a ‘FIGHT’ but I intend to be diligent. And that is my advise to those who choose to listen.

    • Yes, by “fighting” we mean exercising your liberties that the “authorities” would like to intimidate you into giving up. Like gun ownership, for example. If you aren’t willing to do that much, you really don’t deserve liberty and eventually you won’t have it. Think of Germany in the 1930s, or Argentina now.

  • CTreporting

    You write from the heart so it doesn’t matter long or short. It’s all good.

  • kamalravikant

    I like this a lot, brining it all back to the inner self.

  • short is great. when i send your website to friends they always say articles are too long…so maybe more shorter ones

  • Kevin McCoy

    I agree with Roberto, substance is what I like, short or long.

  • Hey James,
    I love your articles but will have to disagree on your idea of liberty. Our founding fathers many whom gave everything including risking their life to come to this country seeking liberty. If I am in the middle of a ten by ten foot jail I don’t have liberty. I can pretend to have liberty. Goverment is a necessary evil that has to be checked often so we don’t lose the freedom we have and so desire. There are people who will do anything for power (Hitler) and if not dealt with will take away our liberty.

  • mikeyhell

    I don’t know if this helps, but some philosophers distinguish between the related concepts of liberty and freedom. Liberty is the condition that exists when there are no *external* forces trying to deprive one of his or her natural rights, e.g., taxation deprives one of the right to keep what one earns. In other words, liberty occurs when one lives without the influence of coercive external forces. In contrast, freedom is the *internal* state that you describe, James. Being free means to possess systems of ethics and morality and a sense of self-determination to follow these systems. To harbor moral or ethical contradictions or to stifle one’s own sense of self direction is to be unfree. Nearly all of us are internally unfree—that’s what this blog is about—and we are constantly having our liberties threatened by all manner of control freaks. In my view liberty is meaningless without a sense of inner freedom as the supporting and directing foundation.

  • Paul Bonneau

    Some people have a talent for getting a concept across in a very few well-chosen words. I think this connects with the audience better, so I try to emulate them. However, occasionally, one just has to settle for a long post because it can’t reasonably be shortened.

  • Andrew

    I thought this was a divergence from the usual quality and thoughtful posts you put out. I hope you end this experiment and stick with the posts you have been doing. They are way better than this “short” and superficial type of post.

  • Bill

    Love this one.

  • I can pretend to have liberty.

  • I disagree with you here James. We cannot be apathetic to the loss of liberties, that is a losing attitude. Change happens by many small and seemingly minute activities which all add up to awareness then changing attitudes and then finally legislation/action. We will not stand idly by as politicians run over the Constitution

    • Toshon Jennings

      I will not presume to speak for James, but what I got from it is that personal freedom runs much deeper than the Constitution, that the idea of being chained fundamentally by a document created by other humans (who also happen to be dead, currently) would be a failure to practice true personal liberty. It’s a decision that you make, every moment. It’s the difference between giving/not giving to a homeless person based on what you personally feel, understand, & desire, & giving/not giving because you’re hopeful/afraid that someone will make you feel good/bad for what you feel, understand, & desire. Documents are made to fulfill the words of people; people are not made to fulfill the words of a document.

  • Toshon Jennings

    I like the short length, but I also get a lot from the longer ones. I think it’s that it fits the subject matter–these types of messages seem to be better conveyed by brevity because of their depth (think fortune cookie), where other ones are better served at length. I suppose the consensus is somewhere around “some of both.” Thanks for another great post.