Thursday, September 30, 2010

Peace, Love, and LiberTea

Not so long ago I was on the road and discovered a delightful product called Peace Tea. It seemed interesting and the art was nice, so I tried all four flavors. Each can has messages of peace on them, and it just so happened that one of them was very libertarian.

On the Razzleberry flavor can the messages are emblazoned:

"Don't tread on me."
"We are all in this together."
"True freedom comes with great responsibility"
and of course: "We must think for ourselves."

Let's give some thought to this, just as the Peace Tea creators would desire.

"Don't tread on me" is a statement of the utmost power. It is in fact the most rational and complete statement of peace one can make. To say this is to say that so long as you do not tread on my life, liberty, or property, then I will make no aggression toward you. What could be more peaceful? This exemplifies the libertarian non-aggression axiom.

Paired with the above statement is, "We are all in this together," which could hold a number of messages. Perhaps this gives an additional reason not to tread on another's life, liberty, or property; that we are all experiencing the same grievances at the hands of the State. We are all in this together in that sense.

"True freedom comes with great responsibility." This is possibly the most libertarian statement that is on this can. One of the foundational principles of libertarianism is personal responsibility. This is the not-so-radical notion that the State's role is not to take care of us, and that people must exercise personal responsibility in their personal decisions.

Furthermore, with the freedom that we seek, we take on responsibility for not just our selves, but our communities, our country, the whole world, and the entire universe. In the absence of Statist controls on human behavior we have the responsibility to take care of these matters ourselves, voluntarily.

"We must think for ourselves." As bastions of one of the few remaining philosophies of individualism left in the modern world we simply must think for ourselves. If you are reading this, then it is likely enough that you march to your own drum beat, to quote Thoreau. But why? Why must we think for ourselves?

Because in the absence of independent thought, government-created thought will take its place. Let us never have our minds guided by the state. Let us never be told how to dress, what to say, where to say it, whom to associate with, and whom or what to worship. Currently the Bill of Rights still secures much of this in the United States, but in many places in the world people are not so fortunate. Once it has been won, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

So in conclusion, are we to suppose that these deeper meanings were also intended by the artists that designed this can of tea? Possibly not. But after all, that is not the point!

"Peace Tea is all about one single and perfect and fundamental truth: To evoke an emotion, or perhaps even more importantly, an action. Peace Tea is whatever you want it to be."



Eric Sharp
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Regular Columnist, THL
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