Winner of the First Annual Libertas Essay Contest’s Grand Prize

After a lot of excellent reading, Libertas Institute staff helped narrow down the top essays submitted as part our our essay contest.

The contest’s theme—how to live free in an unfree world—sparked a variety of enlightening and inspiring thoughts on how we can better promote libert in Utah. Read all the submissions here.

The essay selected as this year’s winner was “Taking My Humanity Back” by Robert Hunt. This essay inspires Utahns to radicalism by recognizing the illegitimacy of the state’s many interventions into interpersonal relationships. Once recognized, Robert suggests working in whatever way possible to reduce the state’s influence in our lives.

This idea is far more profound than it may appear on the surface. The rise of the modern state has diminished the sense of community between neighbors. By delegating more tasks and responsibilities to the state, individuals have, in the aggregate, stopped caring for one another. In promoting the collective, the individual has become de-emphasized and in many cases derided.

The state dehumanizes us because it is so often utilized as a separate mechanism by which people do things to one another that they would never tolerate doing themselves. In an email discussing his essay, Robert writes, “It is difficult for most of us to grasp the idea that the state is just made up of a bunch of individuals most of whom don’t know you and most of whom have only their own self interest at heart.” In other words, the state is not a separate entity that can possess authority different from that which has been delegated to it by the individuals over which it governs. Put more simply, the state is simply a group of individuals, and nothing more; it cannot have any more authority than the individuals who compriseit.

Despite this simple truth, humans support and consent to dehumanizing actions through the state all the time, as Robert notes in his essay. As the great French economist Frédéric Bastiat once wrote, “The State is the great fiction through which everyone endeavours to live at the expense of everyone else.”

It is for this fundamental reason that the state must be opposed—a radical idea to be sure. The cause of liberty demands nothing less.

Congratulations to Robert and our other essay contest winners!