As stated on the book’s cover, The Psychology of Liberty “is a visionary journey explaining a novel political system of freedom and justice named Self-Governing Capitalism. Objectivity and logic are utilized to discover truth both psychologically and politically. The book paints an inspiring picture of a world in which objective values of individuals are held supreme.”
As of 2007, I released it (and everything else on this site) into the public domain, or copylefted it, which means that you don’t need to get permission to use what suits you. As the saying goes, all rites reversed; reprint what you like. If you want the full explanation as to why “intellectual property” is not a valid form of property (contrary to what I mistakenly wrote in this first book of mine), please check out chapter six of Complete Liberty: The Demise of the State and the Rise of Voluntary America, my second book.
So, is there in fact a rational ideal in the political context? The Psychology of Liberty answers with a resounding yes. It describes a noncontradictory political system called Self-Governing Capitalism. The “unalienable Rights” outlined by the Founders of the United States of America, particularly “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”—and just as importantly, property—are analyzed in the philosophical context of past and present cultures and in today’s coercive governmental and status-quo-oriented social institutions.
Both personal and political enlightenment are explored with the guidance of logic, the method of noncontradictory identification. This yields a social/political system in which individuals and groups treat each other with understanding and respect. A culture of high self-esteem, happiness, voluntarism, and accompanying justice is thereby promoted.
This totally free market system is one in which people embrace objective values and enforce only those laws that are based on the principle of individual rights (i.e., objective laws). In other words, people decide to interact with others in voluntary, mutually advantageous ways, rather than in coercive, aggressive, destructive, arbitrary and haphazard ways. A new society therefore emerges from the idea that initiating force against others is contradictory; only retaliatory force (i.e., self-defense) is justifiable.
To achieve this ideal political vision naturally requires much understanding of ourselves—of human nature. For example, by grasping the nature of conceptual knowledge, we can determine the requirements of living with others on Earth. This also entails examination of the nature of reality. Both greater introspection and extrospection are needed, which involves raising the level of our awareness about key issues and problems—problems that are personal, societal, and global. Though these are not small tasks, they are still within our capability and, when accomplished, provide amazing benefits. Motivation is key, and this book hopefully can serve as a motivator.
Of course, there is still more to explore and explain, as well as alter, since original publication of this book in 2000. In 2010 I discovered an invaluable methodology called Nonviolent Communication (NVC) devised by psychologist Marshall Rosenberg, which can be transformational, both internally and interpersonally. This “language of life,” as Rosenberg called it, enables one to become fluent in “giraffe,” a feelings-and-needs vocabulary and perspective that highly values honest and empathetic understanding for conflict resolution, integration, and wholesome connection. Giraffe is resourceful and adept at working with “jackal,” the widespread and all-too-familiar moralistic judgment in our culture, which can be translated into clear observations, feelings and needs, and specific, doable requests. Both The Psychology of Liberty and Complete Liberty fall short of giraffe fluency in various places, which I consider unfortunate. However, Complete Liberty Inside Out incorporates NVC and even has a chapter dedicated to it.
In 2019 I encountered another transformative set of ideas that allow for a paradigm shift in human organization and stage of development. This new stage of development is called Teal, and it crucially involves three components: self-management; wholeness; and, evolutionary purpose. On my counseling site I created a page featuring my own highlights of Frederic Laloux’s groundbreaking 2014 book, titled Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness. Here is Laloux’s invaluable Teal resources site:
Clearly, we need to delve extensively into human nature and psychology in order to realize the social and cultural changes necessary to bring about a free market that’s filled with authentic, benevolent, and intensely curious individuals, groups, and organizations—people who can attain and maintain BRIE, an acronym devised by interpersonal neurobiologist Dan Siegel, which stands for Balance, Resilience, Insight, and Empathy. Since society is composed of individuals who can interact in win/win ways, much focus is placed on personal enlightenment in all three of my books. Philosophy and mental health need to be examined with reason, our means of apprehending reality and gaining knowledge, and with emotional attunement, our means of noticing the aspects of our internal world, heeding evaluative signals and appraisals based on met and unmet needs. As psychologist Nathaniel Branden noted, we need to think clearly in order to feel deeply, and we need to feel deeply in order to think clearly.
As mentioned in the The Psychology of Liberty’s preface, the philosophical ideas of Ayn Rand and the psychological ideas of Nathaniel Branden proved invaluable in the book’s creation. Thus, I encourage readers to peruse their works. With the encountering of great ideas comes the necessary critical examination of them in relation to one’s own experiences, learning, and perspectives. Eventually, if one is so motivated, an objective method of discernment can be realized.