Is there a libertarian way of thinking?

What do libertarians do that most smart people do?  
In the classic book “Thinking Better” psychologists David Lewis and James Greene identified programs, or patterned ways of thinking, as the key to making quick, accurate evaluations. They observed that this was the approach to thinking employed by the smartest people.
This is exactly how libertarians think!
The libertarian approach uses various principles, facts, examples, and bits of logic to make thinking more efficient and accurate. Here at the Zero Aggression Project we call these tools…
Mental Levers
A lever allows you to do more work with less effort. The approach to thinking that uses such tools is…
Leveraged Thinking
Too many people think randomly. With few or no principles to guide them, they have to re-analyze each issue from scratch. Sometimes people like to justify this random approach by giving it a nice sounding name — they call it “independent thinking.” But what is that approach to thinking independent from? Principles? Facts? History? Logic?
In practice, such “independent thinking” is simply random thinking. It’s unreliable and time-consuming. It inevitably leads to error and self-contradiction. Imagine if you tried to do math or engineering, or run a court of law that way. The result would be chaos. Even worse…
Random thinking makes people vulnerable to emotional manipulation by political con-men and the ambulance-chasing media. Mental Levers are the cure for this. They anchor your thinking to sound principles, rules, logic, and facts.
The Zero Aggression Principle (ZAP) is a good example of a Mental Lever.
Voluntaryist-libertarians use the ZAP to judge all political questions. For every issue ask yourself the following questions…

  • Does the proposed policy require a threat of force to make innocent people act against their own conscience or preference? If the answer is yes, then you should oppose it.
  • Would you feel justified using force against your neighbors and friends to enforce this policy? If the answer is NO, then you should NOT be willing to have politicians, bureaucrats, or police impose this policy on your behalf.

The voluntaryist-libertarian philosophy is rich in Mental Levers
We’ve assembled many of them into collections here in the Mental Levers section of our website. We plan to add many more in the future. They include…

Take a look. Use our levers to engage in leveraged thinking! Please also…
Share them on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Link to them in discussions on the internet. One of our Mental Levers will often be the exact right thing to say in some point during a discussion. Use them. Spread these concepts far and wide.
Is there a libertarian way of thinking? Yes there is — it uses facts and principles at Mental Levers. Can these Mental Levers be taught? Yes, they can. And teaching begins with sharing.
ZAP The State and have a nice day,
Perry Willis & Jim Babka
Co-creators of the Zero Aggression Project

Show Comments 1


  1. Well said, Perry!

    I he Eugenics philosophy that sprang up at Harvard University around 1900, held that democracy had to be suspended, because some people did not vote intelligently. The various “less-evolved” people could not be allowed to vote because they weren’t thinking clearly.

    Elitism pretends to advance Democracy while actually preserving Statism: It can only function by pretending that the use of force is justified, by the goal of “correct thinking”.

    Voluntaryism does the opposite. Instead of seizing power first, and then trying to use it to do good, we invite people to do good, using the abilities they already have at hand.

    This does two things for us.

    We cause good things to happen, voluntarily.

    And we dispel the idea, that it requires political power, to do good.

    It was the mistaken belief that most of us needed leaders to force us to do good, that tricked us to believe that allowing ourselves to be pushed around, was some sort of necessary compromise, for doing good. Seeing that we can do good, in spite of politics and not because of politics, frees everyone from the craving for political power.

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