Below is an op-ed piece I wrote for my campus newspaper at Oklahoma State University three years ago when I was a senior, which should intrigue you. Enjoy! -------------------------------------------- The Moral Case for Liberty All right, let's pretend that every welfare program has brought hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Let's assume Social Security and Medicare have prevented millions of senior citizens from dying of disease and starvation. Let's imagine public schooling has given every poor child an education they otherwise wouldn't get. And let's suppose that infrastructure would not exist if government weren't providing it. How can any of this be moral? How do we justify taking innocent people's money and property from them -- at gunpoint, if necessary -- when they haven't signed any contract agreeing to it? Do the ends really justify the means? Today most of us have come to accept this collective action "for the common good." We feel comfortable that it makes things possible that otherwise couldn't be accomplished. But nevertheless, many of us fail to question the moral premises behind it. If an action enhances the quality of the lives of individuals, it is good. Bad is the opposite. The individual "rights" to life, liberty, and property come from us realizing that if we want to get the most out of life, these rights are necessary. Violating them is immoral because it harms individuals. If one person robs somebody for his own "common good" or hires a hit man, would that be ethical? What if ten people claim to be the government and do the exact same thing? Would that make it any better? What if 1,000 or a million folks initiate force against the individual or pay someone to do so? Where exactly do we draw the line between moral and immoral? The truth is we can't draw it anywhere. Stealing is stealing -- no matter how you look at it. Even in the most dire situation where we must thieve in order to save someone's life, it should be expected that we repay those people afterward unless they waive it off. Moving on, let's pretend that every law concerning drugs, guns, and censorship has made our streets totally safe and 100 percent drug-free. Let's assume the legal-tender laws have sustained the value of our currency and have prevented millions of people from losing their life savings. Let's imagine that every trade and immigration restriction has saved countless American jobs and has kept our culture "pure." And finally, let's suppose every government regulation has abolished all pollution and unsafe factories in the United States. How can any of this be moral, either? As long as an individual, entrepreneur, or property owner hasn't harmed anyone else or made threats, what justification do we have to dictate -- at gunpoint, if necessary -- how and where he should live his life on private property? When we try to force our choices and values on others, isn't this the very essence of evil and tyranny? Doesn't this make us the bad guy? "But no," some will say. "We must do unto others before they do unto us! They surely will hurt someone if left to their own devices." So then if I walk into a restaurant and see a stranger give me a dirty look, what if I think he is going to beat me up? Should I just march over to him and punch him in the face? How could this be ethical? Would it make the situation better or worse? Many citizens constantly complain about various companies overcharging their consumers and underpaying their employees. With today's "energy crisis," many are calling for price controls and a higher minimum wage. Nonetheless, how can it be moral for us to interfere -- at gunpoint, if necessary -- with the prices and wages that people have voluntarily agreed upon? Remember, those companies simply are providing us with gasoline, electricity, healthcare, and jobs. They don't have to do that. They could just shut their doors forever and we'd be dreadfully doomed until other entrepreneurs come along. The main questions this column boils down to are as follows: Do the ends justify the means? Do we have an ethical right to win at any cost -- even if we have to use detrimental and destructive ways to achieve our goals? The answer is clear. Freedom, peace, and harmony within can never be achieved by pointing our guns at individuals who have harmed no one. Aggression is no way for us to promote universal love among our neighbors. So if we snap back into reality and observe the crumbling schools, the polluted landscape, and the skyrocketing healthcare costs, we will soon discover that wrongful means also justify miserable ends.