Throughout our lives we encounter individuals who profess certain ideas or principles, whether political or otherwise, yet display behavior quite the opposite of their words. After repeatedly witnessing such hypocrisy one learns not to trust the words of such a person. If we can not be held accountable for our actions and words then why bother taking anyone seriously?
In the “New Libertarian Manifesto” Samuel Konkin III speaks of the importance of consistency. He writes:
“The basic principle which leads a libertarian from statism to his free society is the same which the founders of libertarianism used to discover the theory itself. That principle is consistency. Thus, the consistent application of the theory of libertarianism to every action the individual libertarian takes creates the libertarian society.
Many thinkers have expressed the need for consistency between means and ends and not all were libertarians. Ironically, many statists have claimed inconsistency between laudable ends and contemptible means; yet when their true ends of greater power and oppression were understood, their means are found to be quite consistent. It is part of the statist mystique to confuse the necessity of ends-means consistency; it is thus the most crucial activity of the libertarian theorist to expose inconsistencies.” (*)
Konkin understood the importance of consistency when it came to libertarian/anarchist philosophy and I believe we can take it even further. Remove the strictly libertarian mindset from the sentences and we see they are still applicable to any individual regardless of political or philosophical association.
“the application of consistency
of the theory of libertarianism to every action the individual takes creates the libertarian a more consistent society.”
Obviously, as Konkin states, Statists are quite consistent as well. They may claim to be for certain principles yet their actions show their true nature and intentions. One can assume the Statists in power are either completely unaware of their actions or are in fact total and complete liars.
Konkin continues, “a lot more than statism would need to be eliminated from individual consciousness for this society to exist. Most damaging of all to this perfectly free society is its lack of a mechanism of correction. All it takes is a handful of practitioners of coercion who enjoy their ill-gotten plunder in enough company to sustain them – and freedom is dead. Even if all are living free, one “bite of the apple,” one throwback, reading old history or rediscovering evil on his own, will “unfree” the perfect society.”
I agree with Konkin here. It will take more then the elimination of Statism, dependence on government, to create a free society. We can spread the ideas of liberty, anarchy, self-rule, an understanding of why force is immoral and the like, but until we as individuals go deeper within ourselves to examine our own inconsistencies we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes and, I believe, create a new form of Statism.
Now let’s talk about another man who spoke about the importance of consistency: Siddartha Gautama. Siddartha, also known as the Buddha, believed mindfulness and self-awareness were two keys to eliminating suffering. He believed one could attain a new understanding of oneself, and move past the dualistic understanding of reality by meditating and turning the focus inside.
With a consistent application of compassion, and self reflection the Buddhist sees a way to free the people from themselves and thus create a more free society. We see the importance of consistency here:
“The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, And let it spring from love Born out of concern for all beings.”
What you create in thought form becomes your words. After repeatedly listening to your thoughts and your words your actions begin to reflect the same line of thinking. So if one is of the Statist mindset one speaks from that same Statist perspective and it follows that ones action and character would also reflect that same Statist position. On the other hand if one is pursuing the ideas of compassion, the Non-Aggression Principle, self-rule and reflection, it follows that ones thoughts, words and actions will reflect the same.
This is also in line with Voluntaryist philosophy. Author Albert Jay Nock said it best, “Ages of experience testify that the only way society can be improved is by the individualist method …, that is, the method of each ‘one’ doing his very best to improve ‘one.'” Voluntaryists believe that this is the quiet, peaceful, patient way of changing society because it concentrates on bettering the character of men and women as individuals. The voluntaryist hope is that as the individual units change, the improvement of society will take care of itself. In other words, “if one take care of the means, the end will take care of itself.”
To bring the point home I would like to personalize this. As an activist, and a human being I strive for consistency. I speak of Anarchist principles, and Spiritual values. However, lately I have not found my actions to be consistent with my words. There has been a disconnect. I have strayed from my own regular meditation and self-reflection. As a result my external world has not been consistently honest with my internal world.
In an effort to remain honest, compassionate, and consistent I have begun a self-imposed exile of facebook, most of the internet and the majority of my activist activities for the coming weeks. I truly believe the ideas of Agorism, Anarchy, and self awareness through some form of spiritual practice are the keys to creating a more conscious free society. In the same way Anarchists see a flaw in seeking externally for State help I see equal importance in not seeking externally for institutional Religious help but rather, once again, turning inward.
Let’s remain consistently compassionate, and peaceful in our thoughts, words, and actions. The rest will follow. I leave you with another quote from the Buddha:
“To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others”
(*) Samuel Konkin quotes taken from the New Libertarian Manifesto Chapter 2 Agorism: Our Goal