Real Power is the degree to which a person has control over their own circumstances.
Rollo Tomassi, Rational Male
“Freedom” and “liberty” are not directly tied to anarchism or libertarianism, but let’s be honest: Most people interested or enthusiastic about the ideology are drawn to the notion of greater control over their lives. They don’t like how government, and others, tell them what to do and use coercion or aggression to make it happen.
Much time and thought has been given to implementing libertarian principles in the political realm. My quick thought is that it is also where libertarians run into the most trouble trying to maintain their beliefs while actually achieving something meaningful.
Recently I contemplate the many ways in which people can live their lives outside of state control or regulations. What are productive things people engage in that don’t put them at risk?
Another way I looked at it was this: if you lost everything tomorrow except your life, what would you have left?
The answer: knowledge.
Knowledge “is” power because it’s all in your mind. To be sure, you need a place to store the material you use to learn, whether it’s a bookshelf or a Kindle. But beyond that, your knowledge is yours and yours alone. Learning a valuable skill gives you greater control over your circumstances, because you rely less on others. Neither the government nor others can take take it away.
The only way for them to deprive you of knowledge is by killing you, and by then it’s a moot point.
I would suggest that perhaps less time should be spent theorizing about situations that will never arise and obsessing over the latest decree issued by government; instead, devote one’s efforts toward obtaining relevant, worthwhile knowledge that will guide you and aid you, even if the worst should happen. If nothing else, it offers something to comfort us if that happens. Our greatest wealth and treasure cannot be stolen or “redistributed” to others.
Imagine you lost it all, except the clothes on your back and the knowledge in your mind: What would you want to know?