I belong to myself. I was born with that right. I own myself. My life belongs to me.
Everybody has the same right—the right not to be bothered by other people.
Because I belong to myself, I can wear anything I want. If I own my own life, I could wear no clothes, even. It might be silly, it might be cold, but it’s my own life.
If I belong to myself, nobody should be able to decide for me what I want to do. You have actually given up some of your life by feeding old people or picking up cans from the highway. I should decide for myself. Or else why is it called “volunteerism”?
Because I own myself, if I want to I can sign up for the military, but if I don’t want to I shouldn’t have to.
If I own my own life then other people own their own lives. Some people don’t even know it—most people don’t even know it. They should know that they have the right not to be interfered with—that everybody has the right not to be interfered with.
If other people learned to respect their own rights, then they might start respecting mine.
Editor’s comments: This essay won the second annual Liberty Round Table Essay Contest, age 1-12 category (age 8). I was impressed enough when I read this essay to request permission to reprint it in Prometheus. There are few statements more succinct and emotionally powerful than Rylla Smith’s brief essay.
First published: The Libertarian Enterprise, #40, July, 1998. Reprinted with permission.
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