July 16, 2013 by Liberty
When you’re watching someone you care about put faith in the government, it can become scary. I’m currently watching my parents grow old with the idea that social security is going to be there to help them through retirement. There is a very good chance that it will last but at the rate government is going, it’s looking worse by the day. I’ve tried discussing economics with them. I’ve tried encouraging them to find alternative methods to support themselves. Nothing changes.
This is a subject that doesn’t get much discussion in libertarian circles despite it being on a lot of people’s minds. I’m writing this to add a little perspective for anyone else struggling to get through to loved ones.
Whenever I get worried I need to force myself to remember the concept of the white man’s burden. The white man’s burden is the idea that whites are responsible for helping the “less civilized and less intelligent primitive(black) nations around the world.” Helping always starts with a good intention but often leads to horrible things that no one likes to think about. Instead of the people dying in their own wars they got killed in our wars. Instead of being subject to their own tyranny they become subject to someone else’s tyranny.
The white man’s burden was a condescending belief that we somehow know better.
As libertarians, we can get caught up in that as well. It’s condescending for us to assume that we know what is right for anyone else in the world. I watch my parent’s choices and I have to hope that I’m wrong because, the sad fact is, there is very little that can be done.
Many people will refuse to consider any evidence that you present. Many people pretend not to understand it and move on with their life. Many people just don’t really care. Sadly, you can’t save a person that doesn’t want to be on the lifeboat (without violating their rights, that is.) They have the right to ignore you for whatever reason they choose (logical or illogical.)
Let go of the libertarian burden. You are not and cannot be responsible for saving everyone. Save who you can, do what you can to make it better for everyone, and move on.