Pilots as Libertarians
Recently, on one of the flying mailing lists I participate in, a discussion arose about the number of libertarian attitudes that regularly appeared. Here are my thoughts.
I might suggest that some of that is engendered by the same impetus that creates pilots.
Everyone who has successfully solo'd an aircraft has reached a level of self-reliance that is hard to attain in almost every other pursuit.
When the wheels leave the ground and you're 20 ft. off the deck, ultimately there is one person in the entire world who can save your life, and that's you. That's both frightening and liberating.
There is no one to give you a hand. No one to subsidize your expertise. No one to mask your failings. No one who cares to hear your complaining that it's not fair, or it's too hard, or listen to "I should be given a landing because I deserve it, other people have them".
The only thing preventing you from dying is confidence in your own abilities and mind.
The ability and desire to voluntarily embrace that total self-reliance is something that most others do not choose to pursue. Many are thrown into circumstances that will allow them to respond to similar levels of self-reliance, but the personality type that chooses to do so, and chooses to do so repeatedly, is a limited commodity.
That spark of self-reliance that makes a pilot would of course often be reflected in other aspects of a pilots life and work, and usually be there before that person takes to the air. Economic realities being what they are, I might even suggest that the monetary success that allows someone to pursue flying, or in our case own an aircraft, has one pillar of it's founding in the firm belief that "I am the sole master of my success".
And we know that it works. We know that belief in our abilities, alone and with death as the spur, results in a wonderfully liberating success.
It may never be spoken aloud, or even thought to ourselves except in some murky way, but it is part of who we are.
So it is not remarkable that we might wish to share our key to success with others, and wish to challenge others to reach for the same ego-satisfying level of awareness of our inner confidence. It's also not remarkable that some of us would have less tolerance of those who choose not to acknowledge their own ability to be self-reliant, since it seems so clear to us that it can be done.
Does it mean ignorance and callousness towards those who honestly can't? I don't personally thnk so, I dare say I would stack my annual charitable contributions up against anyone elses', I have no desire to punish those who truly can't.
But I am also proud to say that I have no tolerance for those who could, but won't, take responsibility for their own lives, and I will not choose to subsidize their intellectual laziness, and I have no obligation to listen to their complaints.