‘Thank You’ from the Future!
(The audio of this speech – slightly raunchier: \’We Are Still Here!\’ by Stefan Molyneux )
One of the things that I’ve felt my whole life is that gratitude from the culture that we live in can sometimes be a little lacking – and another of the things I thing about is that we are all philosophers. Everybody who works from first principles, everyone who talks about nonviolence, we all are philosophers – and the one thing that’s very true about philosophers is that they don’t get a lot of ‘sugar,’ they don’t get a lot of love in their own time.
We don’t get a lot of love. Socrates got some hemlock, Spinoza was kicked out of his tribe Aristotle had to flee, Nietzsche went mad – and Ayn Rand, even now after being right for sixty years in a row, she still gets spat on by the main culture, so it is hard! We’ve all faced it, we’ve all had difficulties at work, we’ve all had difficulties in our relationships because of our commitment to ideals. That’s a hard thing to live with.
So – the one place that I go, when I need to feel replenished and strengthened – I go into the future in my mind, to see the world that are trying to build, the world that we want to create, the world that we’re laying the foundations for that we may never live to see… I don’t think we’re going to live to see exactly the kind of world that we want – a world of statelessness, a world without war, a world without incarceration, a world without violence… I don’t think we’re going to live to see it – but that makes it all the more heroic for us to try to build it even though we’re not going to live to see it.
So I go to the future. I remember that I am so happy to live in a world without slavery – and the first people who started talking about the end of slavery, were like us… And the first people who started arguing that women should be equal to men were kind of like us, and they faced a lot of opposition, they faced a lot of skepticism. The first guy who came up and said, “Blacks should be equal to whites,” was not a popular man, and he faced a lot of opposition from everyone around him and the general culture spat on him a lot, and people thought he was crazy or mad or evil or bad – but we all take that stuff for granted now.
Moral change in the world seems to impossible – you stand below it and it looks like a cliff, it’s so high, like a mountain so high that you can’t get over it, you can get through it, you feel like you’re going to beat your head against the wall for the rest of your life and never make a dent…
But then a weird thing happens when the change occurs – when people get over that wall or they walk through that wall – they look back, and it’s like there’s nothing there!
Before the end of slavery, people said (and we’ve all heard these arguments before, right?) – people said: “You know, there’s never been a society without slavery, so… You point to me a society without slavery – you can’t do it! You point to me a society where there’s equality for women, you can do it! You point to me a society where there is no government, and you can’t do it!” That’s all we hear!
Well because we can see it, it will be here! Because the vision is everything!
Without the vision there is no moral growth. We can’t get over that wall unless we see the world of the future so passionately and so powerfully that we can walk through that wall as if it is not even there – and then people will see that it isn’t there – that the barrier is only in the mind!
So if you go to the future – which is where I go to – and think of the people, 100 years, 150 years from now, can you imagine how they’re going to look back at this movement?
I think they’re going to say:
“Those crazy people, what the hell were they thinking? I mean – they have couple of thousand people and some microphones… Some blogs… Some conferences… And what are they facing? They’re up against nuclear weapons and prison systems and aircraft carriers and police and military… What are they thinking? What are they thinking, those crazy brave people – what are they thinking? How can they imagine taking it on?”
But the imagination is everything…
And when they look back at us, these free future people, they’re going to say – and this is what you need to hear, and this is what you need to remember, coming down from the future:
This is what we need to remember every morning when it gets hard, when we get tired, when we read the newspaper, and it’s like: nothing is changing… We need to remember that rolling down from the future, from the people who will live in the world that we’re only beginning to build – they are saying (as we say to everyone who came before us who built the world that we love to live in):
“THANK YOU, EVERYBODY!”
I’m going to tell you what I think they’re going to thank you for – and you need to remember this… They’re going to thank you – the future is going to thank you – for your courage! Your courage, because it is hard, hard, hard work – raising the moral standards of mankind is a brutal slog, and it takes a lot of courage! It takes a lot of courage, because there’s a lot of criticism, there’s a lot of misunderstanding, there’s a lot of fear in those around us. When we shake the foundations of the moral universe that people live in, they freak out! They get frightened, they attack – and it takes a lot of courage. We are all wired for social approval. We all want social approval, because if you didn’t have social approval in the Stone Age, you couldn’t even survive.
Studies have shown, that people experiencing social disapproval, is almost indistinguishable from physical pain, within the brain.
That’s what I mean by courage; we have to fight against the natural conformity of our biological natures, to go against the tribe, against our immediate short-term interests for the sake of a beautiful world to come. That takes courage, and people are going to say, looking down through the lens of time, to this few, we few, we happy, happy few:
“THANK YOU FOR YOUR COURAGE! EVERYBODY WHO STANDS WITH US! THANK YOU FOR BUILDING THIS WORLD THAT WE LOVE!!”
They’re going to say – I think, they’re going to say, “Thank you, for your love. For your love.”
Because there’s a cheap kind of love in the world… And the cheap kind of love is like – welfare from the government. “Oh, there’s poor people! Let’s shovel some money at them”, “Oh, there’s some people we think should be better educated, let’s shovel some schools at them.” That is cheap love. That is pseudo-love. That is fake love.
The real love is to stand for principles of non-violence, voluntary cooperation, and to love humanity enough, to know, that if we set humanity free, the world can be beautiful, the world can be a paradise, the world can be utopia!
We don’t need government guns to make the world a better place! The guns will make it worse, always!
People think that if you stop pointing guns at people, everything gets worse. But we know; we have a love of humanity, a trust in the soul and nature of man, that if we put down the guns, humanity… rises.
People think you put down the guns, humanity attacks. No! You put down the guns, people are liberated. They come up. They flower – into beautiful, peaceful, wonderful communities.
So, the future will say, “Thank you, for your true love of humanity enough to trust that if you put down the weapons, everybody will be beautiful.”
They will thank us for our integrity. They will thank you for your integrity. That even though it’s hard, that even though you face criticisms, even though people will REJECT you for what it is you’re doing, that you’re still holding true to the ideals of the north star… of non-aggression!
So simple! Stop using violence to get things done. It’s so simple and so hard! They will thank us for our integrity!
Because – what we’re doing, is building brick by brick. Every time we have a conversation, that’s a brick – every time we send someone to material that is valuable, that’s a brick – every time we stand up to a bully, every time we stand up to an abuser, that’s a brick – every time we help somebody who’s been ground down – help them rediscover their humanity, that’s a brick.
These are little “brick-by-bricks.” It’s hard to see the whole cathedral of the future that we are building. But it is a beautiful place that we are building. And, I would love – wouldn’t you love – to just go forward 150 years, or a 100 years, and just see; see this world?
I see it in my mind’s eye, it’s so clear, I really do. I really do. A world without war! The eternal dream of humanity! Without war! Because we know – we know for a fact – those of us who understand all of this (and everybody coming to Libertopia is in that number) – we know that when you have no state, you have no war.
A world without prisons! A world where people can interact in a peaceful way without fear of jail. A world where you can just walk up to a damn plane… and get on it!
A world where the money in your pocket today, is going to be the money in your pocket tomorrow, and not some wad of toilet paper you’re embarrassed about!
So, I just wanted to point that out. This is something that I use. Because people say to me, “Well, how can you remain so optimistic?” And, it’s because I don’t view the world around me as the standard of value that I’m bringing to the world. Because people don’t want to be confronted with this stuff. Even if society slides into an ultimate crap-hole, they still don’t want to be reminded of this stuff. It’s like everyone would rather just go into that crap-hole, rather than wake up and see the basic reality of the society that they live in!
But I go – and I hope that you’ll think about doing it too – I go to the future. And I think of everyone that I look back at, and admire, who has helped to build a world where what we’re doing is even possible! That’s an incredible advancement, that what we’re doing is even possible!
And so, think about the people in the future. The people whose peaceful, sunlit, happy, stateless, gunless world – and I mean “gunless” in terms of the statist guns – the world that we’re building for these people, which we won’t get to live in, but which is going to be the most beautiful thing in the world – it will never, ever go back! It will never go back! We’re not going to have slavery back in the way that it used to be. Women are never going to be subjugated in the way that they used to be, and once we get rid of the state, it’s done! Forever!
This crap is not going to regrow! It is not going to come back! That’s how important what it is we’re doing! We’re putting a nail in the coffin, a stake in the heart of the greatest vampiric predator the world has ever known!
And this fight has been fought for thousands of years. But it is not going to be thousands of years to come, because we’re all together, we all know each other, we can all communicate with each other, and the information can go out in a way that has never occurred before.
It took thousands of years to get here, but it’s only dozens more to go. I genuinely believe that. And, for those of us who have kids, we know how important it is that we build a world that they can live in without the fears that we all grew up with; the fears of nuclear war, the fears of environmental depredations, so funded and driven by the state.
This has been going on for a long time, this battle. We have an incredible propulsion mechanism in these communities, and the communications technology that we have at the moment, which is an incredible gift for us, as liberty activists.
I’m just going to finish up by reminding you to visit the future, and to get the accolades that roll down from the future to us. They will! They will! Everybody who comes to Libertopia is going to have a free private school named after them in the future!
So, I’m going to just end up by saying that – yes, this battle’s been going on for a long time. And it is a battle of good versus evil, there’s no doubt about it. And – I’m going to close with a line from one of my favorite speeches in a movie – Morpheus:
“It has been a long time coming, but we are going to win. Because we are still here!”
Stefan Molyneux will be speaking at Libertopia Festival 2011 in San Diego
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