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A Political Encounter

Libertarian. The very word sends chills down my spine, yet I don't even fully grasp the concept. Whenever I hear it, the words 'lasseiz faire' spring up in my head, conjuring up further images of significant economists people have name dropped on me. Why does that word bring me visions of money? Surely ones political leaning can't be based solely on the pursuit of wealth? As soon as that thought crosses my mind, I realise how naive my mind truly is.

So, I look it up.

According to the god of our times, wikipedia – or more widely, the internet, Libertarianism essentially means liberty above all else. That's an idea I can get behind, to a point. Where does one's liberty end? I choke back the instant thought of 'where my feelings begin'. After reading up on it, I get why my mind considers it a dirty word to me. Modern, western libertarianism seems to be essentially people that propagate a free market at best, and the dissemination of state at worst. And to me, a free market means greedy people being allowed to exercise their greed. After all, it is their liberty to do so.

We didn't really like the concept of liberty where I came from. We preferred the term 'freedom'. When anyone even used the word, it wasn't to state that they posessed liberty, or that they were at liberty to do something. When we said the word liberty, every single time it would be referring to someone taking a 'liberty' from us. If I were to walk into my friends home and immediately take a shit, I would be 'taking liberties' from him, colloquially speaking. But freedom? No-one took our freedom from us. If I wanted to take a shit-liberty in my friends home, he had the freedom to kick my ass. Hell, he had the freedom to kick my ass before I even took that shit. But it wouldn't be ethical.

Now ethics is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Ethics are not universal, but they are shared – if you enter my space, or influence my life, you should act ethically toward me. At the same time, if at your core you believe that the truest of liberties is to act beyond what is commonly ethical – it begins to sound selfish.

You know what else I found out? Apparently the beginnings of libertarianism were in an anarchist, named Joseph Dejacque. He was a libertarian communist. Those two words together sound like an oxymoron, which in turn shows me how far the movement, or at least the term, has strayed away from it's roots. I guess we have America to thank for that.

Unfortunately, she too was American. I couldn't date her. If she's a libertarian, then I guess she's an idiot too.

I liked him. So much so, that we ended up talking about something taboo. Politics. Which I found then, and still find to be odd consdering he professed to know little about it. Hedging my bets didn't work, it never does with this kind of guy; I always end up spilling my guts about what I truly think. My mother said that was the sign of an honest woman. I see it as the sign of a lonely one. As for him? It was like looking at a blank sheet of paper half the time, and an Arabic tome the next. I couldn't read him. Sometimes I'd say what I thought to be the most mundane of things, and he'd riff on that and just talk for what seemed like an eternity – and the other half of the time, I'd say something I thought would truly incense him, and all he had was a dismissive comment. I guess I'm fond of mystery; for the boy truly is mysterious. What vexed me, though? He said he was a socialist. The question for me at this point is whether he is blind, or will he just not see? That word was the only one his husky tone delivered that didn't enchant me. Socialism? And to see the smile erupting on his face as he said it; I can't even tell if he was just screwing with me – I'd have liked to have found out but it was either that or miss my train, so I decided to go to the warmer place. I mean, I wouldn't discount anyone for their views, or at least I don't think I would. But exactly how socialist IS he? If I take the smile with the tone he said it, he might just be a bleeding heart type. I don't think I can abide bleeding heart types… even this one.

Flash Fiction

- Written by Ruben Fisher, Early 2013.


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