This is the essay and motivation contributed by HJ Lombard as his entry in the recent Freedomfest competition sponsored by Bob Glenister
Freedom is not a thing that can be given. It is not bestowed on us by forces greater or better than us. Freedom is a cumulative experience consisting of a series of individual acts. Freedom can be experienced by a group, but it resides and originates with the individual. Otherwise it would not be true freedom but rather a prison of consensus where the will of the majority subsumes the freedom of the individual.
Education is the key. For those of us that treasure individual freedom, the scope for promoting the topic in formal education is curtailed by a government (like most governments) that incorrectly views the vigorous pursuit of individual freedom as conflicting with majority rule. Nevertheless libertarians must unashamedly seek ways of influencing the education of the youth, for instance by funding debating competitions in schools, to teach children that difference of opinion is healthy and natural, that popularity does not always mean correctness and that rational communication is the only way to constructively live with – if not resolve – differences.
But the task does not stop with encouraging children and adult citizens to recognise their individual freedoms; for real and significant change we need to encourage them to defend the individual freedom of others. Libertarians can do much to promote the principles of individual freedom by publicly celebrating and rewarding any individual that stands up for the rights of another. We need to convince South Africans that there is no greater democratic virtue than defending the freedom of an individual with whom they may have significant differences of opinion.
Because that is the heart of individual freedom: If you are not willing to defend the freedom of an individual with whom you utterly disagree, then a day will come when that person and those that share his/her views will outnumber you.
Why I should be sent to FreedomFest
By HJ Lombard
I am 35; until 4 months ago I was the Parliamentary Researcher for a political party at Parliament, the UDM. I studied political science and joined the UDM shortly after it’s formation upon the completion of my studies. A year later, in 1999 the UDM participated in its first elections and I commenced a 12-year stint as Researcher for the Party at Parliament.
I had always viewed my participation in the UDM, and the broader workings of Parliament, as my personal investment in the advancement of democracy. I proceeded from Plato’s truism that the price good people pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by people worse than them.
In the course of my career I have been involved in such pivotal matters as the Constitutional Court challenge against the introduction of floor-crossing as well as challenging the dissolution of the Scorpions.
I am intimately familiar with the political pulse of the current dispensation and how low individual freedom is rated by many of the current decision-makers. I know I would represent South Africa with pride and honesty at FreedomFest.