While it may be true, when it comes to the material world, that a picture is worth a thousand words, I doubt the same holds true when it comes to the realm of ideas and even when considering a picture there’s the inescapable fact that a picture must be created by something or someone and that a picture therefore, also begins with an idea.
Ideas are created in the mind by the act of thinking which is communicated by language even if it is only communicated in one’s own mind. The language by which an idea is communicated is made up of words that are defined by even more words to form the language that form the thoughts which create the ideas that create a picture.
So it seems evident that without all these factors the manifestation of a picture is not even possible and while a picture may show us something materially, a non material or philosophical idea can only find it’s ultimate expression and understanding in the form of words. Choosing the right words therefore, is ultimately critical in conveying an idea.
In the material or physical realm, concepts such as heat for example, are more fully understood when experienced. No matter how many times we told our five-year-old son that the boiling water is hot and will burn him, he did not fully understand the definition of Hot and Burn until he laid hold of the pot’s handle and poured the boiling water down his shoulder and arm. Now, as an adult, he is reminded of the very definite meaning of those terms every time he sees the scar tissue (a picture) left on his flesh by the boiling water.
As seen above, the transference of a material or physical concept isn’t really that difficult. However, the transference of an idea can be downright frustrating at times. First. All people are not of the same language. Second. Even those who are of the same language do not all possess equal quantities of the terminology of that language. Third. Of the words which they do have in common, each word does not likely have the exact same meaning or nuance to each and every person in that language group. So we can see that the communication of an idea from one mind to another in an exacting way can be a challenge to say the least.
Even if one has a great apologia and all other things are equal there’s another potential problem when trying to communicate an idea. Many people, having been educated in government schools, may lack critical thinking skills and or have underdeveloped skills in logic and sound reasoning and be unable to reach rational conclusions about the validity and or veracity of an idea. But even with all that, I’ve found that when people are presented with a logical, well reasoned idea, they are receptive.
What I’m trying to convey here is that communicating an idea effectively takes a lot of work! It takes consistency, patience, tact, choosing the right words, making the right analogies and everything else including the kitchen sink when trying to win the hearts and minds of others to a point of view. (e.g.libertarianism) A point of view that many may have almost no familiarity or may have a great deal of misinformation about.
The acceptance of ideas into a culture ultimately are responsible for whatever worldview the people in that culture may have and therefore, I would argue, are very determinate of the sort of world they end up with. That being the case, I’m really just attempting to point out the necessity of thoroughly fleshing out ideas before accepting them as legitimate. Even if they are wildly popular or generally accepted as being true, it’s still important to look at them from every possible angle, attempting to fully understand them and coming to the most rational conclusion possible with the information available at any given point in time.
While exploring and considering any idea it may be important also to understand what the motivation is behind an idea being propagated. Many have purported an idea or philosophy for their own nefarious purposes, as I think is evident in the realm of the political class, who rely upon the ideas and ideologies of the intellectual elite to maintain power over the masses. And in turn, the intellectual class is rewarded for their part, through the promotion of their ideas via book sales, positions in media, political advisories, other appointments to high positions and the like. All this is done, in my view, to make the average person believe in the legitimacy of both the political class’s and the intellectual elite’s authority and it has been largely effective for many centuries.
However, some ideas, I believe, may be purported for more ethical and moral reasons. Some of these ideas, as in the case of Libertarianism, while somewhat theoretical, can be shown logically (a priori) to be superior to any of the current or past systems of governmental authoritarianism which obviously haven’t worked out in favor of individual liberty and freedom to this point in history.
In the socio-political-economic realm an idea whose time has come, in my opinion, is Libertarianism and Anarcho-Capitalism. It’s not right/left – liberal/conservative – It’s liberty; it’s justice; it’s freedom; it’s property rights and the axiom that no one can aggress against anyone else’s person or property except in defense of their own person or property. It’s the idea that the “state” does not serve the people; never has and never will and therefore should not exist since the function that the state and it’s government now fulfills can be accomplished mush better, cheaper and more effectively by voluntary cooperation of individuals and groups of people without the coercion of the state.
Whether the “ruling class” has been appointed or taken power by force the results have always been the same. Maybe it’s time to consider that individuals may be able to run their own lives more effectively than the politicians. If we don’t like what the world has become maybe it’s time to consider another way of thinking about things that’s altogether different than what we’ve been taught through political institutions which have been run by those wishing to maintain their power and position over us. Maybe it’s time to create a new picture. A picture that doesn’t include overlords who make their living from the productive lives of others. A picture that depicts true liberty and true freedom by doing away with statism.
Now there’s a picture worth a thousand words and then some.
See also: “For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto” By Murray N. Rothbard