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Thursday, September 22, 2005


In these uncertain times (when are things not uncertain?) with costly natural disasters, a war and growing entitlements to pay for, some people are calling for sacrifice. I’m not one to make the usual gratuitous calls for sacrifice or to advocate austerity (root-canal economics). Under these circumstances it would be more helpful than ever to “go-for-growth”. In this light, I’m calling for a truly serious sacrifice. The following can best capture the nature of this sacrifice:
Let Us Now Try Liberty

God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies. He has provided a social form as well as a human form. And these social organs of persons are so constituted that they will develop themselves harmoniously in the clean air of liberty. Away, then, with quacks and organizers! Away with their rings, chains, hooks, and pincers! Away with their artificial systems! Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations!

And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.

In case you do not recognize the above quote, it is the concluding section of a work titled The Law authored by Frederic Bastiat in the 1840s. I hope to highlight in a future post why the expressed sentiments were so salient given the intellectual and political environment in which Bastiat lived.

Here is the sacrifice I am calling for: to whomever it applies, give up the socialist fantasy, let us pursue that which actually works.


johnt said...

Only one problem,Frank S Meyer in his In Defense of Freedom pointed out that all systems work,given the goals and assumptions of the system and system managers. A hard point to swallow but true. It's fascinating to observe collectivists criticise the shortcomings of free enterprise as if anything human would be perfect. Conversely no failure,no matter the scope or duration,of government catches their eye, or brain. You may well ponder why.

Howard said...

I think Bastiat was railing against the grand central plans and system of "scientific socialism" which arose in his time. He believed it would turn in to Communism and the other flavors of totalitarianism. Guess he got that right. Short of permanent anarchy, people will create a system of rules and laws to promote order. If such a system does not also allow for substantial freedom so that people can adapt to changing circumstances - the whole thing will inevitably fail.

You've read Frank Meyer - good!