By: Roger Landry (TLB) On this episode of Eradicating Programmed Ignorance we Present Robin Koerner. Robin is a devout Researcher, an Author, Publisher, Partner and Contributor to The Liberty Beacon Project and a personal friend. Robin is a transplanted British citizen who worked long and hard to earn his American citizenship, something he is both proud of, and concerned for, as the events of today’s America and the tyranny being perpetrated on the We The People unfold right before his eyes. I could spend hours discussing the accolades Robin is entitled to … but that is what the show is for.
Today we will be discussing his book “If You Can Keep It, Why we nearly lost it, and how we can Get It Back” Please watch what is sure to be a lively and informative hour of TLBTV, and be sure to read the fine thoughts of Jeffery Tucker as he reviews Robin’s outstanding book. Find out how to order the book, and much more about Robin at the links below this article.
“If there is a lesson in all of this it is that our Constitution is neither a self-actuating nor a self-correcting document. It requires the constant attention and devotion of all citizens. There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.” The brevity of that response should not cause us to under-value its essential meaning: democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health”. Dr. Richard Beeman
Introduction to Robin Koerner’s “If You Can Keep It” by Jeffrey Tucker
In modern times, the case for human liberty in its classical form has been radically, horribly, destructively misrepresented and hence misunderstood. It is not a plan for the sociopolitical order, imposed by intellectuals with an ideology. It is not an ethic of individualism that insists that dogs should eat dogs. It is not a partisan plot to skew the affairs of government for capital and against labor, or for any one group against any other group. It is not a slogan for a would-be junta wielding perfect knowledge of the way all things should work.
The case for liberty is for a social process that is free to discover the best social institutions to enliven and realize human dignity through choice and with love. In order for that to happen, we need what might be called, in the tradition of C.S. Lewis, mere liberty: the freedom to own, act, speak, think, and innovate. The exercises of such rights is incompatible with government management of the economy and the social order.
It seems rather simple, right? I think so. But brilliant ideas come in simple and effervescent packages. This is a good description of Robin Koerner’s provocative and revisionist work, which I am humbled to introduce. It is a work of stunning erudition and sincerity. I also happen to agree with it. I’ve been struggling toward a similar thesis for a good part of my writing career, though I’m certain Robin has gone beyond even my most mature thought.
We need this book now. Too much is at stake for the cause of liberty to fail to expand its circle of friends. I’ve personally never met anyone who is against their own liberty. No one seeks to be a slave. No one wants all choice taken away, property stolen, and our bodies chained to a prescribed regime. To possess volition is part of what it means to be a living human being.
Our minds have to function. and what we think needs to be realizable. We seek to coordinate our choices with others in a way that benefits ourselves. We learn in the course of our lives that our own good is not incompatible with the good others. A sign of a mature person and a developed society is that there is no separation between the good of one and the good of many.
If all this is true, how did it come to be that we are ruled by regimes that negate all the above? The modern state knows no limits to its power. There is no aspect of life into which it does not intrude. How has that affected us as individuals, as communities? It has taken away our liberty and hence part of our humanity. This is why the cause of liberty must be clear on what it opposes. We seek to end government as we know it. But that is not the whole of what we seek. We also favor something beautiful. Explaining what this looks like and the rhetorical apparatus that necessarily accompanies this is the greatest value of Koerner’s book.
Three sections of this book gripped me especially. I’m intrigued at Koerner’s deep analysis of prevailing political biases and how they reflect personal life conditions in an intractable way. This is a result of an intrusive state apparatus that everyone is seeking to control in their own interest. In absence of such an apparatus, political biases would still exist though their exercise would take different and socially constructive forms. The implication here is that it is absolutely necessary for the whole of society to be somehow converted to a libertarian vision in order that liberty is sustained. What we need is a minimum set of rules that reflect commonly held moral standards such as the golden rule. Again, liberty does not seek to displace cultural or religious heterogeneity but rather give it a new and productive life as a source of unity rather than division.
I also appreciate Koerner’s extended explanation of money and its meaning in society. This is a major complaint against the free economy, that somehow it permits money to taint morality and beautiful aesthetics. He explains that money really is an organic outgrowth of human exchange, an essential institution that makes it easier to serve each other in a peaceful and rational way. People tend to think of money as crude and gritty and materialistic. In Koerner’s rendering, money as an institution is a proxy for the realization of human aspirations.
The third aspect of the book that truly sweeps me away with its insight and depth is his section on liberty as a realization of a civilization of love. I know that time is short and that people don’t read as carefully as they should. But this section deserves close study by every advocate of liberty. It will change the way you think and speak about the topic.
I have my own personal reasons for celebrating the appearance of this work. More than two years ago, writing my daily column, it occurred to me that libertarians might have picked up some bad habits in the course of their politicking. They might have a tendency toward a kind of reductionism, thinning out the core ideas to a single principle and applying it in ways that are contrary to the liberal spirit. I broke down camps within libertarianism into two archetypes: brutalist (named after the architectural school of thought) and humanitarianism. The essay was since translated into a dozen languages and prompted the greatest controversy of any of my mature writings. What I never had time to do was spell out what this humanitarian vision of liberty looks like in its fullest presentation. This is what Koerner’s book has done: completed something that I only discerned in its barest outlines.
The cause of human liberty does not need another didactic treatise that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that vast majority of humanity is living a lie and roiling in fallacious attachment to evil. What we need is a compelling case for why liberty can serve everyone right where we are today, regardless of life station, cultural preferences, language, or religion. We need writings that humanize what we favor. We need to understand that libertarianism is, at its root, liberal in spirit, inseparable from the historical forces that unleashed the most wonderful flowering of human dignity in the whole of human experience. This is what Koerner has done, and I absolutely celebrate the intellectual passion that led to this book’s creation.
Book available at www.IfYouCanKeepIt.us
Click on the image below to visit TLB Project on twitter …
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.
TLB has other above the fold articles, videos and stories available by clicking on “HOME” at the top of this post. Never miss a new post, sign up for E-Mail alerts at the bottom of the Home page and get a link dropped right to your in-box.
TheLibertyBeacon.com contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.