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Sat., Nov. 13, 2010, 3:50 p.m.

Libertarianism or altruism— which is it?

David Horsey,,
Libertarianism versus altruism
David Horsey,, Libertarianism versus altruism

Good afternoon, Netizens...

We will take a brief step off the pathway of yesterday's police-assisted-suicide and pot grow operation here in Spokane and take an introspective look back at a time of altruism that had its beginnings in New Mexico and beyond. Today's David Horsey cartoon shows a vision of Libertarianism, perhaps one that not everyone will subscribe to, but one which seems to have a certain popularity in modern times.

Are you old enough to remember the Hippie philosophies of the late 60's and 70's? While I will concede many elements of that age in our history were without much merit, particularly those which were based largely upon psychedelic drug use. Back in that era, some subcultures were based either in part or in total upon the use of LSD, peyote or various other mind-altering drugs, but there were a small number of altruistic communities which were based upon communal living, but without drugs.

Whenever I think seriously of the alternatives to Horsey's view of Libertarianism, I reflect back on a wonderful character I met at Woodstock named Hugh Romney, AKA Wavy Gravy, who became known around the world for his infamous line, “What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000...”. Well, lesser people perhaps might have ridden that flash in the pan to other ends, but for The Hog Farm and Wavy Gravy, it hasn't ended there.

He's nearing 70 years old now, and is still a walking public service announcement for compassion and giving to those in need. He runs a day care for needy kids, founded an organization to help the blind and regularly contributes to a handful of other charitable organizations around the world. If you want to read the entire litany of his multitude of accomplishments, turn your browsers to and take a brief walk back through his history.

Then go to your most-private corner and ask yourself are you a Libertarian as defined by David Horsey's cartoon, are you a Libertarian cut from another cloth or, if you had the means, would you rather be an altruist cut from the same cloth as Wavy Gravy? I can hardly wait to see some of the comments about this question, since it is a tough question, really.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.