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【書摘】For A New Liberty|Murray Rothbard

摘錄:For A New Liberty|Murray Rothbard

文:吳莉瑋
圖:Ludwig von Mises Institute

《For A New Liberty》是Murray Rothbard的自由意志主義通識,內容涵蓋了歷史發展(個人認為這部分最為有趣)、所謂「自由主張」的派別比較、全面性的社會議題評論,最後還有未來發展的目標、展望與策略。

不了解自由意志主義(Libertarianism),或者是對於各種細想之下互相矛盾的自由主張感到一頭霧水,相當適合把這本書當成睡前閱讀,看著Rothbard特有的分析以及他一貫的價值觀,總會讓人每晚帶著恍然大悟的驚喜入睡。

本書沒有複雜的經濟學或難懂得專業術語堆砌,相反的,透過歷史巡禮的深度以及現狀議題探討的廣度,即便是自我認定為Rothbadian的我,也會對自己的政治傾向與價值觀有著另一層體會。

最後不免要提醒自己,對於任何看法與觀點,縱使那廂說得有條有理,不經過一輪親身細想的思辨吸收,都不是自己的,不是自己的思想,就沒有辦法抓定心來貫徹,幸好,有這麼一位劇細靡遺地將幾乎所有議題與自由價值觀給連成一氣的理論家,越是閱讀,越是耳目一新。

【書摘】

Page 4 | Location 55-57 | Added on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 3:08:16 PM
It was to defend a pure liberty against the compromises and corruptions of conservatism—beginning with Nixon but continuing with Reagan and the Bush presidencies—that inspired the birth of Rothbardian political economy.
Page 5 | Location 64-68 | Added on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 3:12:42 PM
trimming and compromising for the sake of the times or the audience was just not his way. He knew that he had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to present the full package of libertarianism in all its glory, and he was not about to pass it up. And thus do we read here: not just a case for cutting government but eliminating it altogether, not just an argument for assigning property rights but for deferring to the market even on questions of contract enforcement, and not just a case for cutting welfare but for banishing the entire welfare-warfare state.
Page 6 | Location 81-83 | Added on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 3:15:02 PM
The book is still regarded as “dangerous” precisely because, once the exposure to Rothbardianism takes place, no other book on politics, economics, or sociology can be read the same way again.
Page 7 | Location 103-107 | Added on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:09:42 PM
Historians have long debated the precise causes of the American Revolution: Were they constitutional, economic, political, or ideological? We now realize that, being libertarians, the revolutionaries saw no conflict between moral and political rights on the one hand and economic freedom on the other. On the contrary, they perceived civil and moral liberty, political independence, and the freedom to trade and produce as all part of one unblemished system, what Adam Smith was to call, in the same year that the Declaration of Independence was written, the “obvious and simple system of natural liberty.”
Page 10 | Location 142-144 | Added on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:14:52 PM
While Locke had written of the revolutionary pressure which could properly be exerted when government became destructive of liberty, Trenchard and Gordon pointed out that government always tended toward such destruction of individual rights.
Cato declared, Power must be kept small and faced with eternal vigilance and hostility on the part of the public to make sure that it always stays within its narrow bounds:
Page 13 | Location 188-195 | Added on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:24:18 PM
America, above all countries, was born in an explicitly libertarian revolution, a revolution against empire; against taxation, trade monopoly, and regulation; and against militarism and executive power. The revolution resulted in governments unprecedented in restrictions placed on their power. But while there was very little institutional resistance in America to the onrush of liberalism, there did appear, from the very beginning, powerful elite forces, especially among the large merchants and planters, who wished to retain the restrictive British “mercantilist” system of high taxes, controls, and monopoly privileges conferred by the government. These groups wished for a strong central and even imperial government; in short, they wanted the British system without Great Britain. These conservative and reactionary forces first appeared during the Revolution, and later formed the Federalist party and the Federalist administration in the 1790s.
Page 14 | Location 195-200 | Added on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:25:58 PM
During the nineteenth century, however, the libertarian impetus continued. The Jeffersonian and Jacksonian movements, the Democratic-Republican and then the Democratic parties, explicitly strived for the virtual elimination of government from American life. It was to be a government without a standing army or navy; a government without debt and with no direct federal or excise taxes and virtually no import tariffs—that is, with negligible levels of taxation and expenditure; a government that does not engage in public works or internal improvements; a government that does not control or regulate; a government that leaves money and banking free, hard, and uninflated; in short, in the words of H.L. Mencken’s ideal, “a government that barely escapes being no government at all.”
The Jacksonian libertarians had a plan: it was to be eight years of Andrew Jackson as president, to be followed by eight years of Van Buren, then eight years of Benton. After twentyfour years of a triumphant Jacksonian Democracy, the Menckenian virtually no-government ideal was to have been achieved. It was by no means an impossible dream, since it was clear that the Democratic party had quickly become the normal majority party in the country. The mass of the people were enlisted in the libertarian cause. Jackson had his eight years, which destroyed the central bank and retired the public debt, and Van Buren had four, which separated the federal government from the banking system. But the 1840 election was an anomaly, as Van Buren was defeated by an unprecedentedly demagogic campaign engineered by the first great modern campaign chairman, Thurlow Weed, who pioneered in all the campaign frills—catchy slogans, buttons, songs, parades, etc.—with which we are now familiar.
Page 15 | Location 216-218 | Added on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:31:37 PM
in 1844, the Democrats would be prepared to counter with the same campaign tactics, and they were clearly slated to recapture the presidency that year. Van Buren, of course, was supposed to resume the triumphal Jacksonian march. But then a fateful event occurred: the Democratic party was sundered on the critical issue of slavery, or rather the expansion of slavery into a new territory.
Slavery, the grave antilibertarian flaw in the libertarianism of the Democratic program, had arisen to wreck the party and its libertarianism completely.
The Civil War, in addition to its unprecedented bloodshed and devastation, was used by the triumphal and virtually one-party Republican regime to drive through its statist, formerly Whig, program: national governmental power, protective tariff, subsidies to big business, inflationary paper money, resumed control of the federal government over banking, large-scale internal improvements, high excise taxes, and, during the war, conscription and an income tax. Furthermore, the states came to lose their previous right of secession and other states’ powers as opposed to federal governmental powers. The Democratic party resumed its libertarian ways after the war, but it now had to face a far longer and more difficult road to arrive at liberty than it had before.
Page 16 | Location 240-242 | Added on Thursday, July 18, 2013 11:59:34 AM
It is interesting to note that, by the early nineteenth century, the laissez-faire forces were known as “liberals” and “radicals” (for the purer and more consistent among them), and the opposition that wished to preserve or go back to the Old Order were broadly known as “conservatives.”
Page 17 | Location 254-259 | Added on Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:02:53 PM
For the old conservatism’s frank hatred and contempt for the mass of the public, the new conservatives substituted duplicity and demagogy. The new conservatives wooed the masses with the following line: “We, too, favor industrialism and a higher standard of living. But, to accomplish such ends, we must regulate industry for the public good; we must substitute organized cooperation for the dog-eat-dog of the free and competitive marketplace; and, above all, we must substitute for the nation-destroying liberal tenets of peace and free trade the nation-glorifying measures of war, protectionism, empire, and military prowess.” For all of these changes, of course, Big Government rather than minimal government was required.
Page 18 | Location 259-265 | Added on Thursday, July 18, 2013 12:08:51 PM
in the late nineteenth century, statism and Big Government returned, but this time displaying a proindustrial and pro-general-welfare face. The Old Order returned, but this time the beneficiaries were shuffled a bit; they were not so much the nobility, the feudal landlords, the army, the bureaucracy, and privileged merchants as they were the army, the bureaucracy, the weakened feudal landlords, and especially the privileged manufacturers. Led by Bismarck in Prussia, the New Right fashioned a right-wing collectivism based on war, militarism, protectionism, and the compulsory cartelization of business and industry—a giant network of controls, regulations, subsidies, and privileges which forged a great partnership of Big Government with certain favored elements in big business and industry.
Page 20 | Location 294-299 | Added on Thursday, July 18, 2013 11:14:46 PM
By stressing the virtue of tradition and of irrational symbols, the conservatives could gull the public into continuing privileged hierarchical rule, and to continue to worship the nation-state and its war-making machine. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, the new conservatism adopted the trappings of reason and of “science.” Now it was science that allegedly required rule of the economy and of society by technocratic “experts.” In exchange for spreading this message to the public, the new breed of intellectuals was rewarded with jobs and prestige as apologists for the New Order and as planners and regulators of the newly cartelized economy and society.
To insure the dominance of the new statism over public opinion, to insure that the public’s consent would be engineered, the governments of the Western world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries moved to seize control over education, over the minds of men: over the universities, and over general education through compulsory school attendance laws and a network of public schools.
One of the ways that the new statist intellectuals did their work was to change the meaning of old labels, and therefore to manipulate in the minds of the public the emotional connotations attached to such labels.
Page 21 | Location 311-313 | Added on Thursday, July 18, 2013 11:17:34 PM
If the laissez-faire liberals were confused by the new recrudescence of statism and mercantilism as “progressive” corporate statism, another reason for the decay of classical liberalism by the end of the nineteenth century was the growth of a peculiar new movement: socialism.
Page 22 | Location 328-330 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:10:33 PM
Socialism was a confused and hybrid movement because it tried to achieve the liberal goals of freedom, peace, and industrial harmony and growth—goals which can only be achieved through liberty and the separation of government from virtually everything—by imposing the old conservative means of statism, collectivism, and hierarchical privilege.
But the worst thing about the rise of the socialist movement was that it was able to outflank the classical liberals “on the Left”: that is, as the party of hope, of radicalism, of revolution in the Western World.
Page 23 | Location 346-347 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:19:04 PM
after achieving impressive partial victories against statism, the classical liberals began to lose their radicalism,
Instead of using partial victories as a stepping-stone for evermore pressure, the classical liberals began to lose their fervor for change and for purity of principle. They began to rest content with trying to safeguard their existing victories, and thus turned themselves from a radical into a conservative movement—”conservative” in the sense of being content to preserve the status quo.
In short, the liberals left the field wide open for socialism to become the party of hope and of radicalism, and even for the later corporatists to pose as “liberals” and “progressives” as against the “extreme right wing” and “conservative” libertarian classical liberals,
Page 24 | Location 357-359 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:14:28 PM
In contrast to the eighteenth-century liberals’ total hostility to the executive and to bureaucracy, the nineteenth-century liberals tolerated and even welcomed the buildup of executive power and of an entrenched oligarchic civil service bureaucracy.
Page 25 | Location 371-373 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:22:21 PM
There were two grave consequences of this shift from natural rights to utilitarianism. First, the purity of the goal, the consistency of the principle, was inevitably shattered. For whereas the natural-rights libertarian seeking morality and justice cleaves militantly to pure principle, the utilitarian only values liberty as an ad hoc expedient.
Second, and equally important, it is rare indeed ever to find a utilitarian who is also radical, who burns for immediate abolition of evil and coercion.
The abolitionist is such because he wishes to eliminate wrong and injustice as rapidly as possible. In choosing this goal, there is no room for cool, ad hoc weighing of cost and benefit.
Page 26 | Location 384-385 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:27:29 PM
The utilitarians wound up as apologists for the existing order, for the status quo, and hence were all too open to the charge by socialists and progressive corporatists that they were mere narrow-minded and conservative opponents of any and all change.
Generally, statist historians have smeared such social Darwinist laissez-faire liberals as Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner as cruel champions of the extermination, or at least of the disappearance, of the socially “unfit.” Much of this was simply the dressing up of sound economic and sociological free-market doctrine in the then-fashionable trappings of evolutionism. But the really important and crippling aspect of their social Darwinism was the illegitimate carrying-over to the social sphere of the view that species (or later, genes) change very, very slowly, after millennia of time.
Page 27 | Location 398-400 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:35:11 PM
In short, ignoring the fact that liberalism had had to break through the power of ruling elites by a series of radical changes and revolutions, the social Darwinists became conservatives preaching against any radical measures and in favor of only the most minutely gradual of changes.
Page 30 | Location 447-450 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:54:11 PM
The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. This may be called the “nonaggression axiom.” “Aggression” is defined as the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else. Aggression is therefore synonymous with invasion.
If no man may aggress against another; if, in short, everyone has the absolute right to be “free” from aggression, then this at once implies that the libertarian stands foursquare for what are generally known as “civil liberties”: the freedom to speak, publish, assemble, and to engage in such “victimless crimes” as pornography, sexual deviation, and prostitution (which the libertarian does not regard as “crimes” at all, since he defines a “crime” as violent invasion of someone else’s person or property). Furthermore, he regards conscription as slavery on a massive scale. And since war, especially modern war, entails the mass slaughter of civilians, the libertarian regards such conflicts as mass murder and therefore totally illegitimate. All of these positions are now considered “leftist” on the contemporary ideological scale.
Page 31 | Location 456-462 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:03:10 PM
On the other hand, since the libertarian also opposes invasion of the rights of private property, this also means that he just as emphatically opposes government interference with property rights or with the free-market economy through controls, regulations, subsidies, or prohibitions. For if every individual has the right to his own property without having to suffer aggressive depredation, then he also has the right to give away his property (bequest and inheritance) and to exchange it for the property of others (free contract and the free market economy) without interference. The libertarian favors the right to unrestricted private property and free exchange; hence, a system of “laissez-faire capitalism.” In current terminology again, the libertarian position on property and economics would be called “extreme right wing.”
the libertarian sees no inconsistency in being “leftist” on some issues and “rightist” on others. On the contrary, he sees his own position as virtually the only consistent one, consistent on behalf of the liberty of every individual.
The libertarian, in short, insists on applying the general moral law to everyone, and makes no special exemptions for any person or group.
Page 32 | Location 488-489 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:07:45 PM
The libertarian therefore considers one of his prime educational tasks is to spread the demystification and desanctification of the State among its hapless subjects.
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If anyone but the government proceeded to “tax,” this would clearly be considered coercion and thinly disguised banditry. Yet the mystical trappings of “sovereignty” have so veiled the process that only libertarians are prepared to call taxation what it is: legalized and organized theft on a grand scale.
Roughly, there are three broad types of foundation for the libertarian axiom, corresponding to three kinds of ethical philosophy: the emotivist, the utilitarian, and the natural rights viewpoint.
The emotivists assert that they take liberty or nonaggression as their premise purely on subjective, emotional grounds.
Page 34 | Location 506-507 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:14:29 PM
By ultimately taking themselves outside the realm of rational discourse, the emotivists thereby insure the lack of general success of their own cherished doctrine.
Another problem with the utilitarian is that he will rarely adopt a principle as an absolute and consistent yardstick to apply to the varied concrete situations of the real world. He will only use a principle, at best, as a vague guideline or aspiration, as a tendency which he may choose to override at any time.
To say that a utilitarian cannot be “trusted” to maintain libertarian principle in every specific application may sound harsh, but it puts the case fairly.
Page 35 | Location 532-533 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:17:48 PM
Dedicated to justice and to logical consistency, the natural-rights libertarian cheerfully admits to being “doctrinaire,” to being, in short, an unabashed follower of his own doctrines.
“Natural rights” is the cornerstone of a political philosophy which, in turn, is embedded in a greater structure of “natural law.”
Page 36 | Location 535-537 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:18:54 PM
Natural law theory rests on the insight that we live in a world of more than one—in fact, a vast number—of entities, and that each entity has distinct and specific properties, a distinct “nature,” which can be investigated by man’s reason, by his sense perception and mental faculties.
Specifically, while the behavior of plants and at least the lower animals is determined by their biological nature or perhaps by their “instincts,” the nature of man is such that each individual person must, in order to act, choose his own ends and employ his own means in order to attain them.
Since men can think, feel, evaluate, and act only as individuals, it becomes vitally necessary for each man’s survival and prosperity that he be free to learn, choose, develop his faculties, and act upon his knowledge and values.
Violent interference with a man’s learning and choices is therefore profoundly “antihuman”; it violates the natural law of man’s needs.
Page 37 | Location 552-553 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:22:21 PM
The libertarian welcomes the process of voluntary exchange and cooperation between freely acting individuals; what he abhors is the use of violence to cripple such voluntary cooperation and force someone to choose and act in ways different from what his own mind dictates.
The right to self-ownership asserts the absolute right of each man, by virtue of his (or her) being a human being, to “own” his or her own body; that is, to control that body free of coercive interference.
Page 45 | Location 679-682 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:39:51 PM
There is no existing entity called “society”; there are only interacting individuals. To say that “society” should own land or any other property in common, then, must mean that a group of oligarchs—in practice, government bureaucrats—should own the property, and at the expense of expropriating the creator or the homesteader who had originally brought this product into existence.
Page 46 | Location 692-695 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:52:06 PM
The pioneer, the homesteader, the first user and transformer of this land, is the man who first brings this simple valueless thing into production and social use. It is difficult to see the morality of depriving him of ownership in favor of people who have never gotten within a thousand miles of the land, and who may not even know of the existence of the property over which they are supposed to have a claim.
Page 49 | Location 738-739 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 11:03:44 PM
The libertarian, however, is an individualist; he believes that one of the prime errors in social theory is to treat “society” as if it were an actually existing entity.
The individualist holds that only individuals exist, think, feel, choose, and act; and that “society” is not a living entity but simply a label for a set of interacting individuals.
Treating society as a thing that chooses and acts, then, serves to obscure the real forces at work. If, in a small community, ten people band together to rob and expropriate three others then this is clearly and evidently a case of a group of individuals acting in concert against another group. In this situation, if the ten people presumed to refer to themselves as “society” acting in “its” interest, the rationale would be laughed out of court; even the ten robbers would probably be too shamefaced to use this sort of argument. But let their size increase, and this kind of obfuscation becomes rife and succeeds in duping the public.
Page 50 | Location 757-759 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 11:09:02 PM
The individualist view of “society” has been summed up in the phrase: “Society” is everyone but yourself. Put thus bluntly, this analysis can be used to consider those cases where “society” is treated, not only as a superhero with superrights, but as a supervillain on whose shoulders massive blame is placed.
Consider the typical view that not the individual criminal, but “society,” is responsible for his crime. Take, for example, the case where Smith robs or murders Jones. The “old-fashioned” view is that Smith is responsible for his act. The modern liberal counters that “society” is responsible. This sounds both sophisticated and humanitarian, until we apply the individualist perspective. Then we see that what liberals are really saying is that everyone but Smith, including of course the victim Jones, is responsible for the crime. Put this baldly, almost everyone would recognize the absurdity of this position. But conjuring up the fictive entity “society” obfuscates this process.
Nonsense this obvious can be circumvented only by conjuring up society as devil, as evil being apart from people and what they do.”
Page 51 | Location 777-781 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 11:12:21 PM
The central core of the libertarian creed, then, is to establish the absolute right to private property of every man: first, in his own body, and second, in the previously unused natural resources which he first transforms by his labor. These two axioms, the right of self-ownership and the right to “homestead,” establish the complete set of principles of the libertarian system. The entire libertarian doctrine then becomes the spinning out and the application of all the implications of this central doctrine.
Page 52 | Location 789-794 | Added on Saturday, July 20, 2013 11:14:19 PM
Further, a man may exchange not only the tangible objects he owns but also his own labor, which of course he owns as well. Thus, Z may sell his labor services of teaching farmer X’s children in return for some of the farmer’s produce. It so happens that the free-market economy, and the specialization and division of labor it implies, is by far the most productive form of economy known to man, and has been responsible for industrialization and for the modern economy on which civilization has been built. This is a fortunate utilitarian result of the free market, but it is not, to the libertarian, the prime reason for his support of this system.
Page 54 | Location 821-822 | Added on Sunday, July 21, 2013 12:48:47 PM
Freedom is a condition in which a person’s ownership rights in his own body and his legitimate material property are not invaded, are not aggressed against.
On the other hand, to the libertarian, “crime” is an act of aggression against a man’s property right, either in his own person or his materially owned objects. Crime is an invasion, by the use of violence, against a man’s property and therefore against his liberty.
Page 55 | Location 827-829 | Added on Sunday, July 21, 2013 12:49:50 PM
The libertarian, then, is clearly an individualist but not an egalitarian. The only “equality” he would advocate is the equal right of every man to the property in his own person, to the property in the unused resources he “homesteads,” and to the property of others he has acquired either through voluntary exchange or gift.
Page 56 | Location 850-852 | Added on Sunday, July 21, 2013 12:53:06 PM
Property rights are human rights, and are essential to the human rights which liberals attempt to maintain. The human right of a free press depends upon the human right of private property in newsprint.
In fact, there are no human rights that are separable from property rights. The human right of free speech is simply the property right to hire an assembly hall from the owners, or to own one oneself; the human right of a free press is the property right to buy materials and then print leaflets or books and to sell them to those who are willing to buy. There is no extra “right of free speech” or free press beyond the property rights we can enumerate in any given case.
Page 58 | Location 884-886 | Added on Sunday, July 21, 2013 12:59:17 PM
in the system of criminal punishment in the libertarian world, the emphasis would never be, as it is now, on “society’s” jailing the criminal; the emphasis would necessarily be on compelling the criminal to make restitution to the victim of his crime.
Page 59 | Location 892-893 | Added on Sunday, July 21, 2013 1:01:08 PM
the critical difference between libertarians and other people is not in the area of private crime; the critical difference is their view of the role of the State—the government.
For libertarians regard the State as the supreme, the eternal, the best organized aggressor against the persons and property of the mass of the public. All States everywhere, whether democratic, dictatorial, or monarchical, whether red, white, blue, or brown.
Service to the State is supposed to excuse all actions that would be considered immoral or criminal if committed by “private” citizens. The distinctive feature of libertarians is that they coolly and uncompromisingly apply the general moral law to people acting in their roles as members of the State apparatus. Libertarians make no exceptions.
Page 60 | Location 908-909 | Added on Sunday, July 21, 2013 1:04:31 PM
the “rightist” libertarian is not opposed to inequality, and his concept of “coercion” applies only to the use of violence.
Page 61 | Location 924-925 | Added on Sunday, July 21, 2013 1:07:11 PM
To guard against private criminals we have been able to turn to the State and its police; but who can guard us against the State itself? No one.
as we have discovered in the past century, no constitution can interpret or enforce itself; it must be interpreted by men. And if the ultimate power to interpret a constitution is given to the government’s own Supreme Court, then the inevitable tendency is for the Court to continue to place its imprimatur on ever-broader powers for its own government. Furthermore, the highly touted “checks and balances” and “separation of powers” in the American government are flimsy indeed, since in the final analysis all of these divisions are part of the same government and are governed by the same set of rulers.
Page 64 | Location 967-968 | Added on Sunday, July 21, 2013 11:51:14 PM
Crime is crime, aggression against rights is aggression, no matter how many citizens agree to the oppression. There is nothing sacrosanct about the majority; the lynch mob, too, is the majority in its own domain.
Page 65 | Location 982-985 | Added on Sunday, July 21, 2013 11:56:08 PM
Nowhere has the coercive and parasitic nature of the State been more clearly limned than by the great late nineteenth-century German sociologist, Franz Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer pointed out that there are two and only two mutually exclusive means for man to obtain wealth. One, the method of production and voluntary exchange, the method of the free market, Oppenheimer termed the “economic means”; the other, the method of robbery by the use of violence, he called the “political means.”
In short, private crime is, at best, sporadic and uncertain; the parasitism is ephemeral, and the coercive, parasitic lifeline can be cut at any time by the resistance of the victims. The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for predation on the property of the producers; it makes certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society.
Page 67 | Location 1025-1027 | Added on Monday, July 22, 2013 12:07:20 AM
If the State is a group of plunderers, who then constitutes the State? Clearly, the ruling elite consists at any time of (a) the full-time apparatus—the kings, politicians, and bureaucrats who man and operate the State; and (b) the groups who have maneuvered to gain privileges, subsidies, and benefices from the State.
Page 69 | Location 1049-1051 | Added on Monday, July 22, 2013 12:10:01 AM
If states have everywhere been run by an oligarchic group of predators, how have they been able to maintain their rule over the mass of the population? The answer, as the philosopher David Hume pointed out over two centuries ago, is that in the long run every government, no matter how dictatorial, rests on the support of the majority of its subjects.
Page 70 | Location 1066-1070 | Added on Monday, July 22, 2013 12:14:19 AM
The masses do not create their own abstract ideas, or indeed think through these ideas independently; they follow passively the ideas adopted and promulgated by the body of intellectuals, who become the effective “opinion moulders” in society. And since it is precisely a moulding of opinion on behalf of the rulers that the State almost desperately needs, this forms a firm basis for the age-old alliance of the intellectuals and the ruling classes of the State.
Page 74 | Location 1131-1133 | Added on Monday, July 22, 2013 12:32:19 AM
Since most men tend to love their homeland, the identification of that land and its population with the State is a means of making natural patriotism work to the State’s advantage. If, then, “Ruritania” is attacked by “Walldavia,” the first task of the Ruritanian State and its intellectuals is to convince the people of Ruritania that the attack is really upon them, and not simply upon their ruling class.
Page 75 | Location 1140-1143 | Added on Monday, July 22, 2013 12:34:00 AM
Often the call upon the public to yield more resources is couched in a stern call by the ruling elite for more “sacrifices” for the national or the common weal. Somehow, however, while the public is supposed to sacrifice and curtail its “materialistic greed,” the sacrifices are always one way. The State does not sacrifice; the State eagerly grabs more and more of the public’s material resources.
Page 76 | Location 1148-1151 | Added on Monday, July 22, 2013 12:35:12 AM
The general opinion—carefully cultivated, of course, by the State itself—is that men enter politics or government purely out of devoted concern for the common good and the public weal. What gives the gentlemen of the State apparatus their superior moral patina? Perhaps it is the dim and instinctive knowledge of the populace that the State is engaged in systematic theft and predation, and they may feel that only a dedication to altruism on the part of the State makes these actions tolerable.
For example, a thief who presumed to justify his theft by saying that he was really helping his victims by his spending, thus giving retail trade a needed boost, would be hooted down without delay. But when this same theory is clothed in Keynesian mathematical equations and impressive references to the “multiplier effect,” it carries far more conviction with a bamboozled public.
The increasing use of scientific jargon, especially in the social sciences, has permitted intellectuals to weave apologia for State rule which rival the ancient priestcraft in obscurantism. For example, a thief who presumed to justify his theft by saying that he was really helping his victims by his spending, thus giving retail trade a needed boost, would be hooted down without delay. But when this same theory is clothed in Keynesian mathematical equations and impressive references to the “multiplier effect,” it carries far more conviction with a bamboozled public.
Page 88 | Location 1336-1337 | Added on Monday, July 22, 2013 1:12:55 AM
It is only because we have become accustomed over thousands of years to the existence of the State that we now give precisely this kind of absurd answer to
It is only because we have become accustomed over thousands of years to the existence of the State that we now give precisely this kind of absurd answer to the problem of social protection and defense.
The libertarian creed can now be summed up as (1) the absolute right of every man to the ownership of his own body; (2) the equally absolute right to own and therefore to control the material resources he has found and transformed; and (3) therefore, the absolute right to exchange or give away the ownership to such titles to whoever is willing to exchange or receive them. As we have seen, each of these steps involves property rights, but even if we call step (1) “personal” rights, we shall see that problems about “personal liberty” inextricably involve the rights of material property or free exchange. Or, briefly, the rights of personal liberty and “freedom of enterprise” almost invariably intertwine and cannot really be separated.
Page 96 | Location 1468-1472 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 12:41:27 AM
there can be no more blatant case of involuntary servitude than our entire system of conscription. Every youth is forced to register with the selective service system when he turns eighteen. He is compelled to carry his draft card at all times, and, at whatever time the federal government deems fit, he is seized by the authorities and inducted into the armed forces. There his body and will are no longer his own; he is subject to the dictates of the government; and he can be forced to kill and to place his own life in jeopardy if the authorities so decree. What else is involuntary servitude if not the draft?
Page 97 | Location 1476-1481 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 2:38:25 PM
This act of conscripting is just as much a deed of unjustifiable aggression—of kidnapping and possibly murder—as the alleged aggression we are trying to guard ourselves against in the first place. If we add that the draftees owe their bodies and their lives, if necessary, to “society” or to “their country,” then we must retort: Who is this “society” or this “country” that is being used as a talisman to justify enslavement? It is simply all individuals in the territorial area except the youths being conscripted. “Society” and “country” are in this case mythical abstractions that are being used to cloak the naked use of coercion to promote the interests of specific individuals.
On the market, people can and do obtain food, shelter, clothing, medical care, etc. Why can’t they hire defenders as well? Indeed, there are plenty of people being hired every day to perform dangerous services: forest firefighters, rangers, test pilots, and... police and private guards and watchmen. Why can’t soldiers be hired in the same way?
Page 99 | Location 1516-1517 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 2:46:33 PM
If a man signs up for seven years and then quits, he should be allowed to leave. He will lose pension rights, he will be morally criticized, he may be blacklisted from similar occupations, but he cannot, as a self-owner, be enslaved against his will.
Page 101 | Location 1543-1547 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:00:43 PM
It is no doubt convenient for a long-suffering public to be spared the disruptions of a strike. Yet the “solution” imposed was forced labor, pure and simple; the workers were coerced, against their will, into going back to work. There is no moral excuse, in a society claiming to be opposed to slavery and in a country which has outlawed involuntary servitude, for any legal or judicial action prohibiting strikes—or jailing union leaders who fail to comply. Slavery is all too often more convenient for the slavemasters.
Page 102 | Location 1549-1552 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:02:17 PM
But the remedy for this self-contradictory policy, as well as for the disruptive power of labor unions, is not to pass laws outlawing strikes; the remedy is to remove the substantial body of law, federal, state, and local, that confers special governmental privileges on labor unions. All that is needed, both for libertarian principle and for a healthy economy, is to remove and abolish these special privileges.
Given a choice, the natural tendency of the State is to add to its power, not to cut it down; and so we have the peculiar situation of the government first building up unions and then howling for restrictions against their power.
Page 103 | Location 1564-1567 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:05:19 PM
one branch of the Department of Agriculture pays farmers to restrict their production, while another branch of the same agency pays them to increase their productivity. Irrational, surely, from the point of view of the consumers and the taxpayers, but perfectly rational from the point of view of the subsidized farmers and of the growing power of the bureaucracy.
Similarly, the government’s seemingly contradictory policy on unions serves, first, to aggrandize the power of government over labor relations, and second, to foster a suitably integrated and Establishment-minded unionism as junior partner in government’s role over the economy.
Part of the essence of slavery, after all, is forced work for someone at little or no pay. But the income tax means that we sweat and earn income, only to see the government extract a large chunk of it by coercion for its own purposes. What is this but forced labor at no pay?
the employer is forced to expend time, labor, and money in the business of deducting and transmitting his employees’ taxes to the federal and state governments—yet the employer is not recompensed for this expenditure. What moral principle justifies the government’s forcing employers to act as its unpaid tax collectors?
Page 104 | Location 1589-1592 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:09:20 PM
To add insult to injury, the individual taxpayer, in filling out his tax form, is also forced by the government to work at no pay on the laborious and thankless task of reckoning how much he owes the government. Here again, he cannot charge the government for the cost and labor expended in making out his return. Furthermore, the law requiring everyone to fill out his tax form is a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, prohibiting the government from forcing anyone to incriminate himself.
Page 105 | Location 1597-1600 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:17:37 PM
The high costs of tax collecting for the government have another unfortunate effect—perhaps not unintended by the powers-that-be. These costs, readily undertaken by large businesses, impose a disproportionately heavy and often crippling cost upon the small employer. The large employer can then cheerfully shoulder the cost knowing that his small competitor bears far more of the burden.
But compelling testimony from anyone for any reason is forced labor—and, furthermore, is akin to kidnapping, since the person is forced to appear at the hearing or trial and is then forced to perform the labor of giving testimony.
Page 106 | Location 1619-1621 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:22:43 PM
The libertarian believes that a criminal loses his rights to the extent that he has aggressed upon the rights of another, and therefore that it is permissible to incarcerate the convicted criminal and subject him to involuntary servitude to that degree.
In the libertarian world, however, the purpose of imprisonment and punishment will undoubtedly be different; there will be no “district attorney” who presumes to try a case on behalf of a nonexistent “society,” and then punishes the criminal on “society’s” behalf. In that world the prosecutor will always represent the individual victim, and punishment will be exacted to redound to the benefit of that victim. Thus, a crucial focus of punishment will be to force the criminal to repay, make restitution to, the victim.
Page 108 | Location 1643-1646 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:28:27 PM
The policeman who apprehends a criminal and arrests him, and the judicial and penal authorities who incarcerate him before trial and conviction—all should be subject to the universal law. In short, if they have committed an error and the defendant turns out to be innocent, then these authorities should be subjected to the same penalties as anyone else who kidnaps and incarcerates an innocent man.
The granting of bail is a halfhearted attempt to ease the problem of incarceration before trial, but it is clear that the practice of bail discriminates against the poor. The discrimination persists even though the rise of the business of bail-bonding has permitted many more people to raise bail. The rebuttal that the courts are clogged with cases and therefore cannot grant a speedy trial is, of course, no defense of the system; on the contrary, this built-in inefficiency is an excellent argument for the abolition of government courts.
Page 109 | Location 1656-1663 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:32:05 PM
there is another cornerstone of the judicial system which has unaccountably gone unchallenged, even by libertarians, for far too long. This is compulsory jury service. There is little difference in kind, though obviously a great difference in degree, between compulsory jury duty and conscription; both are enslavement, both compel the individual to perform tasks on the State’s behalf and at the State’s bidding. And both are a function of pay at slave wages. Just as the shortage of voluntary enlistees in the army is a function of a pay scale far below the market wage, so the abysmally low pay for jury service insures that, even if jury “enlistments” were possible, not many would be forthcoming. Furthermore, not only are jurors coerced into attending and serving on juries, but sometimes they are locked behind closed doors for many weeks, and prohibited from reading newspapers. What is this but prison and involuntary servitude for noncriminals?
Have we forgotten that free labor is happier and more efficient than slave labor? The abolition of jury-slavery should be a vital plank in any libertarian platform. The judges are not conscripted; neither are the opposing lawyers; and neither should the jurors.
Page 110 | Location 1671-1672 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:34:25 PM
One of the most shameful areas of involuntary servitude in our society is the widespread practice of compulsory commitment, or involuntary hospitalization, of mental patients.
Compulsory commitment and compulsory “therapy,” moreover, are far more likely to aggravate and perpetuate “mental illness” than to cure it. All too often, Szasz points out, commitment is a device for incarcerating and thereby disposing of disagreeable relatives rather than a genuine aid to the patient.
The guiding rationale for compulsory commitment is that the patient might well be “dangerous to himself or to others.” The first grave flaw in this approach is that the police, or the law, is stepping in, not when an overt aggressive act is in the process of occurring, but on someone’s judgment that such an act might someday take place. But this provides an open sesame for unlimited tyranny.
Page 111 | Location 1688-1691 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:42:23 PM
the fundamental libertarian creed holds that every individual is capable of free will and free choice; that no one, however likely to commit a crime in the future based on a statistical or any other judgment, is inevitably determined to do so; and that, in any case, it is immoral, and itself invasive and criminal, to coerce anyone who is not an overt and present, rather than a suspected, criminal.
Page 113 | Location 1723-1724 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:51:37 PM
It is far more principled, as well as more truly humane, to treat every prisoner in accordance with objective criminal law.
Page 114 | Location 1739-1745 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:57:51 PM
In our view, “incitement” can only be considered a crime if we deny every man’s freedom of will and of choice, and assume that if A tells B and C: “You and him go ahead and riot!” that somehow B and C are then helplessly determined to proceed and commit the wrongful act. But the libertarian, who believes in freedom of the will, must insist that while it might be immoral or unfortunate for A to advocate a riot, that this is strictly in the realm of advocacy and should not be subject to legal penalty. Of course, if A also participates in the riot, then he himself becomes a rioter and is equally subject to punishment. Furthermore, if A is a boss in a criminal enterprise, and, as part of the crime, orders his henchmen: “You and him go and rob such and such a bank,” then of course A, according to the law of accessories, becomes a participant or even leader in the criminal enterprise itself.
If advocacy should never be a crime, then neither should “conspiracy to advocate,” for, in contrast to the unfortunate development of conspiracy law, “conspiring” (i.e., agreeing) to do something should never be more illegal than the act itself.
Page 115 | Location 1750-1752 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 4:00:12 PM
What the law of libel and slander does, in short, is to argue a “property right” of someone in his own reputation. Yet someone’s “reputation” is not and cannot be “owned” by him, since it is purely a function of the subjective feelings and attitudes held by other people.
A person’s reputation fluctuates all the time, in accordance with the attitudes and opinions of the rest of the population. Hence, speech attacking someone cannot be an invasion of his property right and therefore should not be subject to restriction or legal penalty. It is, of course, immoral to level false charges against another person, but once again, the moral and the legal are, for the libertarian, two very different categories.
Page 118 | Location 1792-1796 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 4:07:28 PM
In a purely libertarian world, where all streets are privately owned, the various street owners will decide, at any given time, whether to rent out the street for demonstrations, whom to rent it to, and what price to charge. It would then be clear that what is involved is not a “free speech” or “free assembly” question at all, but a question of property rights: of the right of a group to offer to rent a street, and of the right of the street owner either to accept or reject the offer.
Page 119 | Location 1809-1811 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 11:46:31 PM
Because every station and every broadcaster must always look over its shoulder at the FCC, free expression in broadcasting is a sham. Is it any wonder that television opinion, when it is expressed at all on controversial issues, tends to be blandly in favor of the “Establishment”?
Page 120 | Location 1827-1829 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 11:50:04 PM
The solution for radio and television? Simple: Treat these media precisely the same way the press and book publishers are treated. For both the libertarian and the believer in the American Constitution the government should withdraw completely from any role or interference in all media of expression.
Page 121 | Location 1836-1844 | Added on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 11:53:03 PM
One might ask what difference it makes to the consumer whether he pays the advertising costs indirectly or pays directly for each program he buys. The difference is that these are not the same consumers for the same products. The television advertiser, for example, is always interested in (a) gaining the widest possible viewing market; and (b) in gaining those particular viewers who will be most susceptible to his message. Hence, the programs will all be geared to the lowest common denominator in the audience, and particularly to those viewers most susceptible to the message; that is, those viewers who do not read newspapers or magazines, so that the message will not duplicate the ads he sees there. As a result, free-TV programs tend to be unimaginative, bland, and uniform. Pay-TV would mean that each program would search for its own market, and many specialized markets for specialized audiences would develop—just as highly lucrative specialized markets have developed in the magazine and book publishing fields. The quality of programs would be higher and the offerings far more diverse.
We have to pay a certain amount for a loaf of bread, for shoes, for dresses because they are all scarce. If they were not scarce but superabundant like air, they would be free, and no one would have to worry about their production or allocation.
Page 123 | Location 1864-1871 | Added on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 12:00:49 AM
Most people believe that this is precisely the reason the airwaves were nationalized; that before the Radio Act of 1927, stations interfered with each other’s signals and chaos ensued, and the federal government was finally forced to step in to bring order and make a radio industry feasible at last. But this is historical legend, not fact. The actual history is precisely the opposite. For when interference on the same channel began to occur, the injured party took the airwave aggressors into court, and the courts were beginning to bring order out of the chaos by very successfully applying the common law theory of property rights—in very many ways similar to the libertarian theory—to this new technological area. In short, the courts were beginning to assign property rights in the airwaves to their “homesteading” users. It was after the federal government saw the likelihood of this new extension of private property that it rushed in to nationalize the airwaves, using alleged chaos as the excuse.
Page 125 | Location 1911-1917 | Added on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 12:07:01 AM
Neither side deals with the crucial point: that the good, bad, or indifferent consequences of pornography, while perhaps an interesting problem in its own right, is completely irrelevant to the question of whether or not it should be outlawed. The libertarian holds that it is not the business of the law—the use of retaliatory violence—to enforce anyone’s conception of morality. It is not the business of the law—even if this were practically possible, which is, of course, most unlikely—to make anyone good or reverent or moral or clean or upright. This is for each individual to decide for himself. It is only the business of legal violence to defend people against the use of violence, to defend them from violent invasions of their person or property. But if the government presumes to outlaw pornography, it itself becomes the genuine outlaw—for it is invading the property rights of people to produce, sell, buy, or possess pornographic material.
Page 126 | Location 1923-1924 | Added on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 12:51:37 AM
To outlaw violent films because they might someday induce someone to commit a crime is a denial of man’s free will, and a total denial, of course, of the right of those who will not commit crimes to see the film.
It should be clear, too, that prohibition of pornography is an invasion of property right, of the right to produce, sell, buy, and own.
Sometimes it seems that the beau ideal of many conservatives, as well as of many liberals, is to put everyone into a cage and coerce him into doing what the conservatives or liberals believe to be the moral thing. They would of course be differently styled cages, but they would be cages just the same.
Page 127 | Location 1937-1937 | Added on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 12:53:52 AM
The concept of “morality” makes no sense unless the moral act is freely chosen.
The libertarian, in contrast to so many conservatives and liberals, does not want to place man in any cage. What he wants for everyone is freedom, the freedom to act morally or immorally, as each man shall decide.
Page 129 | Location 1962-1963 | Added on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 1:04:24 AM
If labor and persons in general are to be free, then so should there be freedom for prostitution. Prostitution is a voluntary sale of a labor service, and the government has no right to prohibit or restrict such sales.
It should be clear that advocacy of freedom for prostitution does not, for the libertarian, in the least imply advocacy of prostitution itself.
Page 131 | Location 1992-1994 | Added on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 1:09:21 AM
If we are to treat the fetus as having the same rights as humans, then let us ask: What human has the right to remain, unbidden, as an unwanted parasite within some other human being’s body? This is the nub of the issue: the absolute right of every person and hence every woman, to the ownership of her own body.
Even in the stronger case where the mother originally wanted the child, the mother, as the property owner in her own body, has the right to change her mind and to eject it.
Wiretapping is a contemptible invasion of privacy and of property right, and of course should be outlawed as an invasive act.
Page 132 | Location 2017-2021 | Added on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 1:17:37 AM
It is proper to invade the property of a thief, for example, who has himself invaded to a far greater extent the property of others. Suppose the police decide that John Jones is a jewel thief. They tap his wires, and use this evidence to convict Jones of the crime. We might say that this tapping is legitimate, and should go unpunished: provided, however, that if Jones should prove not to be a thief, the police and the judges who may have issued the court order for the tap are now to be adjudged criminals themselves and sent to jail for their crime of unjust wiretapping.
Page 133 | Location 2023-2026 | Added on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 1:18:16 AM
Certainly equality of liberty requires that the law applies to everyone; therefore any invasion of the property of a non-criminal by anyone should be outlawed, regardless of who committed the deed. The policeman who guessed wrong and thereby aggressed against a noncriminal should therefore be considered just as guilty as any “private” wiretapper.
Page 135 | Location 2069-2070 | Added on Thursday, July 25, 2013 9:17:57 AM
Only the overt commission of a crime should be illegal, and the way to combat crimes committed under the influence of alcohol is to be more diligent about the crimes themselves, not to outlaw the alcohol.
Page 136 | Location 2075-2077 | Added on Thursday, July 25, 2013 9:19:35 AM
Once again: Every man has the right to choose. Propagandize against cigarettes as much as you want, but leave the individual free to run his own life. Otherwise, we may as well outlaw all sorts of possible carcinogenic agents—including tight shoes, improperly fitting false teeth, excessive exposure to the sun, as well as excessive intake of ice cream, eggs, and butter which might lead to heart disease.
Page 137 | Location 2086-2090 | Added on Thursday, July 25, 2013 9:26:11 AM
The common law makes a vital distinction between a crime that is a malum in se and one that is merely a malum prohibitum. A malum in se is an act which the mass of the people instinctively feel is a reprehensible crime which should be punished. This coincides roughly with the libertarians’ definition of a crime as an invasion of person or property: assault, theft, and murder. Other crimes are activities made into crimes by government edict: it is in this far more widely tolerated area that police corruption occurs.
Page 139 | Location 2118-2119 | Added on Thursday, July 25, 2013 11:30:51 AM
If, as libertarians believe, every individual has the right to own his person and property, it then follows that he has the right to employ violence to defend himself against the violence of criminal aggressors.
Page 140 | Location 2131-2135 | Added on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 4:28:48 PM
It should be clear that no physical object is in itself aggressive; any object, whether it be a gun, a knife, or a stick, can be used for aggression, for defense, or for numerous other purposes unconnected with crime. It makes no more sense to outlaw or restrict the purchase and ownership of guns than it does to outlaw the possession of knives, clubs, hatpins, or stones. And how are all of these objects to be outlawed, and if outlawed, how is the prohibition to be enforced? Instead of pursuing innocent people carrying or possessing various objects, then, the law should be concerned with combatting and apprehending real criminals.
Page 145 | Location 2211-2216 | Added on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 4:52:44 PM
A crucial fallacy of the middle-class school worshippers is confusion between formal schooling and education in general. Education is a lifelong process of learning, and learning takes place not only in school, but in all areas of life. When the child plays, or listens to parents or friends, or reads a newspaper, or works at a job, he or she is becoming educated. Formal schooling is only a small part of the educational process, and is really only suitable for formal subjects of instruction, particularly in the more advanced and systematic subjects. The elementary subjects, reading, writing, arithmetic and their corollaries, can easily be learned at home and outside the school.
America was built by citizens and leaders, many of whom received little or no formal schooling, and the idea that one must have a high-school diploma—or nowadays, an A.B. degree—before he can begin to work and to live in the world is an absurdity of the current age.
Page 149 | Location 2281-2283 | Added on Thursday, August 1, 2013 10:38:41 AM
One of the most common uses of compulsory public schooling has been to oppress and cripple national ethnic and linguistic minorities or colonized peoples—to force them to abandon their own language and culture on behalf of the language and culture of the ruling groups.
Page 150 | Location 2284-2285 | Added on Thursday, August 1, 2013 1:22:29 PM
One of the most potent stimuli for discontent and rebellion by these oppressed peoples was the desire to rescue their language and heritage from the weapon of public schools wielded by their oppressors.
Page 153 | Location 2336-2339 | Added on Thursday, August 1, 2013 2:00:29 PM
In contrast to the private, profit-making business, the government bureaucrat is neither interested in efficiency nor in serving his customers to the best of his ability. Having no need to make profits and sheltered from the possibility of suffering losses, the bureaucrat can and does disregard the desires and demands of his consumer-customers. His major interest is in “not making waves,” and this he accomplishes by even-handedly applying a uniform set of rules, regardless of how inapplicable
Page 154 | Location 2344-2347 | Added on Thursday, August 1, 2013 2:01:50 PM
If the decision is for traditional discipline in the schools, then the more progressive-minded parents lose out, and vice versa; and the same is true for all the other critical decisions. The more that education becomes public, the more will parents and children be deprived of the education they feel they need. The more that education becomes public, the more will heavy-handed uniformity stamp out the needs and desires of individuals and minorities.
Page 156 | Location 2374-2377 | Added on Thursday, August 1, 2013 2:07:33 PM
A compulsory public press would rightly be considered an invasion of the basic freedom of the press; is not scholastic freedom at least as important as press freedom? Aren’t both vital media for public information and education, for free inquiry and search for the truth? In fact, the suppression of free schooling should be regarded with even greater horror than the suppression of a free press, since here the tender and unformed minds of children are more directly involved.
Page 160 | Location 2445-2447 | Added on Thursday, August 1, 2013 2:18:34 PM
One crucial task of libertarians is to highlight the common cause of all groups of parents against the State’s educational tyranny. Of course, it must also be pointed out that parents can never get the State off their educational backs until the public school system is totally abolished and schooling becomes free once more.
Page 162 | Location 2480-2483 | Added on Thursday, August 1, 2013 2:25:36 PM
A “right,” philosophically, must be something embedded in the nature of man and reality, something that can be preserved and maintained at any time and in any age. The “right” of self-ownership, of defending one’s life and property, is clearly that sort of right: it can apply to Neanderthal cavemen, in modern Calcutta, or in the contemporary United States. Such a right is independent of time or place.
Page 163 | Location 2485-2486 | Added on Thursday, August 1, 2013 2:26:27 PM
To speak of a “right” as something which can only be fulfilled in modern industrial conditions is not to speak of a human, natural right at all.
the libertarian “right” of self-ownership does not require the coercion of one set of people to provide such a “right” for another set. Every man can enjoy the right of self-ownership, without special coercion upon anyone.
Page 169 | Location 2587-2588 | Added on Sunday, August 4, 2013 2:16:18 PM
The libertarian ethic is not to impose equal slavery on everyone, but to arrive at equal freedom.
Page 171 | Location 2607-2615 | Added on Sunday, August 4, 2013 2:22:13 PM
The libertarian prescription for our educational mess can, then, be summed up simply: Get the government out of the educational process. The government has attempted to indoctrinate and mould the nation’s youth through the public school system, and to mould the future leaders through State operation and control of higher education. Abolition of compulsory attendance laws would end the schools’ role as prison custodians of the nation’s youth, and would free all those better off outside the schools for independence and for productive work. The abolition of the public schools would end the crippling property tax burden and provide a vast range of education to satisfy all the freely exercised needs and demands of our diverse and varied population. The abolition of government schooling would end the unjust coerced subsidy granted to large families, and, often, toward the upper classes and against the poor. The miasma of government, of moulding the youth of America in the direction desired by the State, would be replaced by freely chosen and voluntary actions—in short, by a genuine and truly free education, both in and out of formal schools.
Page 182 | Location 2787-2789 | Added on Sunday, August 4, 2013 6:55:35 PM
“To seek and accept direct public relief all too often invites the curse of idleness and fosters the other evils of dole. It destroys one’s independence, industry, thrift and self-respect.”
Page 183 | Location 2792-2793 | Added on Sunday, August 4, 2013 6:56:10 PM
The inspiring example of the Mormon Church is a demonstration that the major determinant of who or how many people go on public welfare is their cultural and moral values rather than their level of income.
Page 184 | Location 2802-2809 | Added on Sunday, August 4, 2013 6:58:57 PM
Professor Banfield, in his brilliant book, The Unheavenly City, has demonstrated the importance of what he calls “upper-class” or “lower-class” culture in influencing the values of their members. The definitions of “class” in Banfield are not strictly income or status levels, but they tend to overlap strongly with these more common definitions. His definitions of class center on the different attitudes toward the present and the future: upper- and middle-class members tend to be future-oriented, purposeful, rational, and self-disciplined. Lower-class people, on the other hand, tend to have a strong present-orientation, are capricious, hedonistic, purposeless, and therefore unwilling to pursue a job or a career with any consistency. People with the former values therefore tend to have higher incomes and better jobs, and lower-class people tend to be poor, jobless, or on welfare. In short, the economic fortunes of people tend over the long run to be their own internal responsibility, rather than to be determined—as liberals always insist—by external factors.
Page 187 | Location 2853-2855 | Added on Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:32:33 PM
If people wish to be “spontaneous,” let them do so on their own time and with their own resources, and let them then take the consequences of this decision, and not use State coercion to force the hardworking and “unspontaneous” to bear those consequences instead. In short, abolish the welfare system.
The left-liberal attitudes of social workers discourage the poor directly by fostering the idea of welfare as a “right” and as a moral claim upon production. Furthermore, the easy availability of the welfare check obviously promotes present-mindedness, unwillingness to work, and irresponsibility among the recipients—thus perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty-welfare.
Page 190 | Location 2899-2902 | Added on Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:42:06 PM
Since welfare families are paid proportionately to the number of their children, the system provides an important subsidy for the production of more children. Furthermore, the people being induced to have more children are precisely those who can afford it least; the result can only be to perpetuate their dependence on welfare, and, in fact, to develop generations who are permanently dependent on the welfare dole.
Page 195 | Location 2984-2986 | Added on Monday, August 5, 2013 1:23:49 AM
There is plenty of income redistribution in this country: to Lockheed, to welfare recipients, and so on and on, but the “rich” are not being taxed to pay for the “poor.” The redistribution is within income categories; some poor are forced to pay for other poor.
Page 196 | Location 2989-2991 | Added on Monday, August 5, 2013 1:24:56 AM
The object of this discussion is not, of course, to advocate a “really” progressive income tax structure, a real soaking of the rich, but to point out that the modern welfare state, highly touted as soaking the rich to subsidize the poor, does no such thing.
Soaking the rich would not only be profoundly immoral, it would drastically penalize the very virtues: thrift, business foresight, and investment, that have brought about our remarkable standard of living. It would truly be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Page 208 | Location 3185-3187 | Added on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 1:42:28 PM
It should be emphasized that the Keynesian theory did not win out by carefully debating and refuting the Austrian position; on the contrary, as often happens in the history of social science, Keynesianism simply became the new fashion, and the Austrian theory was not refuted but only ignored and forgotten.
Page 216 | Location 3295-3299 | Added on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 1:55:55 PM
governments have come up with a much more complex and sophisticated, and much less visible, means of doing the same thing: of organizing increases in the money supply to give themselves more money to spend and to subsidize favored political groups. The idea was this: instead of stressing the printing of money, retain the paper dollars or marks or francs as the basic money (the “legal tender”), and then pyramid on top of that a mysterious and invisible, but no less potent, “checkbook money,” or bank demand deposits. The result is an inflationary engine, controlled by government, which no one but bankers, economists, and government central bankers understands—and designedly so.
Page 217 | Location 3318-3321 | Added on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 1:59:10 PM
In short, when the commercial banks lend money to an individual, a business firm, or the government, they are not relending existing money that the public laboriously had saved and deposited in their vaults—as the public usually believes. They lend out new demand deposits that they create in the course of the loan—and they are limited only by the “reserve requirements,” by the required maximum multiple of deposit to reserves (e.g., 6:1).
Page 225 | Location 3436-3440 | Added on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 2:16:38 PM
The Ricardians realized that the major evil was the preceding inflationary boom caused by government intervention in the money and banking system, and that the recession, unwelcome though its symptoms may be, is really the necessary adjustment process by which that interventionary boom gets washed out of the economic system. The depression is the process by which the market economy adjusts, throws off the excesses and distortions of the inflationary boom, and reestablishes a sound economic condition. The depression is the unpleasant but necessary reaction to the distortions and excesses of the previous boom.
Page 226 | Location 3453-3455 | Added on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 2:18:39 PM
The Austrian, or Misesian, theory of the business cycle built on the Ricardian analysis and developed its own “monetary overinvestment” or, more strictly, “monetary malinvestment” theory of the business cycle.
Page 249 | Location 3802-3804 | Added on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 12:47:11 AM
“Discrimination,” in the sense of choosing favorably or unfavorably in accordance with whatever criteria a person may employ, is an integral part of freedom of choice, and hence of a free society. But of course in the free market any such discrimination is costly, and will have to be paid for by the property owner concerned.
Page 265 | Location 4047-4050 | Added on Thursday, August 15, 2013 9:10:07 PM
It is the slicing off of territorial areas into single, governmental monopolies that leads to mass destruction—for then if the single monopoly government of Walldavia confronts its ancient rival, the government of Ruritania, each can wield weapons of mass destruction and even nuclear warfare because it will be the “other guy” and the “other country” they will hurt.
Page 268 | Location 4099-4102 | Added on Thursday, August 15, 2013 9:17:26 PM
We should all be more familiar with the increasing use of private arbitration, even in our present society. The government courts have become so clogged, inefficient, and wasteful that more and more parties to disputes are turning to private arbitrators as a cheaper and far less time-consuming way of settling their disputes.
Page 275 | Location 4200-4207 | Added on Thursday, August 15, 2013 10:52:20 PM
the major body of Anglo-Saxon law, the justly celebrated common law, was developed over the centuries by competing judges applying time-honored principles rather than the shifting decrees of the State. These principles were not decided upon arbitrarily by any king or legislature; they grew up over centuries by applying rational—and very often libertarian—principles to the cases before them. The idea of following precedent was developed, not as a blind service to the past, but because all the judges of the past had made their decisions in applying the generally accepted common law principles to specific cases and problems. For it was universally held that the judge did not make law (as he often does today); the judge’s task, his expertise, was in finding the law in accepted common law principles, and then applying that law to specific cases or to new technological or institutional conditions. The glory of the centuries-long development of the common law is testimony to their success.
Page 283 | Location 4320-4326 | Added on Friday, August 16, 2013 11:29:09 PM
In contrast to such utopians as Marxists or left-wing anarchists (anarchocommunists or anarcho-syndicalists), libertarians do not assume that the ushering in of the purely free society of their dreams will also bring with it a new, magically transformed Libertarian Man. We do not assume that the lion will lie down with the lamb, or that no one will have criminal or fraudulent designs upon his neighbor. The “better” that people will be, of course, the better any social system will work, in particular the less work any police or courts will have to do. But no such assumption is made by libertarians. What we assert is that, given any particular degree of “goodness” or “badness” among men, the purely libertarian society will be at once the most moral and the most efficient, the least criminal and the most secure of person or property.
Contrast this built-in corrective mechanism to the present-day government courts. Judges are appointed or elected for long terms, up to life, and they are accorded a monopoly of decision-making in their particular area. It is almost impossible, except in cases of gross corruption, to do anything about venal decisions of judges. Their power to make and to enforce their decisions continues unchecked year after year. Their salaries continue to be paid, furnished under coercion by the hapless taxpayer.
But in the totally free society, any suspicion of a judge or court will cause their customers to melt away and their “decisions” to be ignored. This is a far more efficient system of keeping judges honest than the mechanism of government.
Page 284 | Location 4345-4350 | Added on Saturday, August 17, 2013 12:08:30 AM
There is a myth that the “American System” provides a superb set of “checks and balances,” with the executive, the legislature, and the courts all balancing and checking one against the other, so that power cannot unduly accumulate in one set of hands. But the American “checks and balances” system is largely a fraud. For each one of these institutions is a coercive monopoly in its area, and all of them are part of one government, headed by one political party at any given time. Furthermore, at best there are only two parties, each one close to the other in ideology and personnel, often colluding, and the actual day-to-day business of government headed by a civil service bureaucracy that cannot be displaced by the voters.
Page 285 | Location 4361-4363 | Added on Saturday, August 17, 2013 12:09:59 AM
In a libertarian society there would be no need for a massive revolution to stop the depredation of gangster-States; there would be a swift turning to the honest police forces to check and put down the force that had turned bandit.
what is the State anyway but organized banditry? What is taxation but theft on a gigantic, unchecked, scale? What is war but mass murder on a scale impossible by private police forces? What is conscription but mass enslavement? Can anyone envision a private police force getting away with a tiny fraction of what States get away with, and do habitually, year after year, century after century? There is another vital consideration that would make it almost impossible for an outlaw police force to commit anything like the banditry that modern governments practice. One of the crucial factors that permits governments to do the monstrous things they habitually do is the sense of legitimacy on the part of the stupefied public.
Page 286 | Location 4375-4380 | Added on Saturday, August 17, 2013 12:13:11 AM
Once the public had tasted the joys, prosperity, freedom, and efficiency of a libertarian, State-less society, it would be almost impossible for a State to fasten itself upon them once again. Once freedom has been fully enjoyed, it is no easy task to force people to give it up. But suppose—just suppose—that despite all these handicaps and obstacles, despite the love for their new-found freedom, despite the inherent checks and balances of the free market, suppose anyway that the State manages to reestablish itself. What then? Well, then, all that would have happened is that we would have a State once again. We would be no worse off than we are now, with our current State. And, as one libertarian philosopher has put it, “at least the world will have had a glorious holiday.”
Page 287 | Location 4391-4393 | Added on Saturday, August 17, 2013 12:15:09 AM
One of the great evils of the nation-state is that each State is able to identify all of its subjects with itself; hence in any inter-State war, the innocent civilians, the subjects of each country, are subject to aggression from the enemy State. But in a libertarian society there would be no such identification, and hence very little chance of such a devastating war.
Page 290 | Location 4431-4434 | Added on Saturday, August 17, 2013 12:30:40 AM
The main reason a conquering country can rule a defeated country is that the latter has an existing State apparatus to transmit and enforce the victor’s orders onto a subject population. Britain, though far smaller in area and population, was able to rule India for centuries because it could transmit British orders to the ruling Indian princes, who in turn could enforce them on the subject population. But in those cases in history where the conquered had no government, the conquerors found rule over the conquered extremely difficult.
Page 297 | Location 4532-4541 | Added on Monday, August 19, 2013 4:58:55 PM
What we need is more economic growth, not less; more and better technology, and not the impossible and absurd attempt to scrap technology and return to the primitive tribe. Improved technology and greater capital investment will lead to higher living standards for all and provide greater material comforts, as well as the leisure to pursue and enjoy the “spiritual” side of life. There is precious little culture or civilization available for people who must work long hours to eke out a subsistence living. The real problem is that productive capital investment is being siphoned off by taxes, restrictions, and government contracts for unproductive and wasteful government expenditures, including military and space boondoggling. Furthermore, the precious technical resource of scientists and engineers is being ever more intensively diverted to government, instead of to “civilian” consumer production. What we need is for government to get out of the way, remove its incubus of taxation and expenditures from the economy, and allow productive and technical resources once again to devote themselves fully to increasing the well-being of the mass of consumers. We need growth, higher living standards, and a technology and capital equipment that meet consumer wants and demands; but we can only achieve these by removing the incubus of statism and allowing the energies of all of the population to express themselves in the free-market economy.
Page 304 | Location 4641-4647 | Added on Monday, August 19, 2013 11:03:45 PM
The way of production for primitive man was “hunting-and-gathering”: the hunting of wild animals and the gathering of fruits, berries, nuts, and wild seeds and vegetables. Primitive man worked passively within his environment instead of acting to transform it; hence he just lived off the land without attempting to remould it. As a result, the land was unproductive, and only a relatively few tribesmen could exist at a bare subsistence level. It was only with the development of agriculture, the farming of the soil, and the transformation of the land through farming that productivity and living standards could take giant leaps forward. And it was only with agriculture that civilization could begin. But to permit the development of agriculture there had to be private property rights, first in the fields and crops, and then in the land itself.
Page 307 | Location 4700-4702 | Added on Monday, August 19, 2013 11:12:35 PM
only private property rights will insure an end to pollution—invasion of resources. Only because the rivers are unowned is there no owner to rise up and defend his precious resource from attack.
Page 309 | Location 4718-4724 | Added on Monday, August 19, 2013 11:15:50 PM
The vital fact about air pollution is that the polluter sends unwanted and unbidden pollutants—from smoke to nuclear radiation to sulfur oxides—through the air and into the lungs of innocent victims, as well as onto their material property. All such emanations which injure person or property constitute aggression against the private property of the victims. Air pollution, after all, is just as much aggression as committing arson against another’s property or injuring him physically. Air pollution that injures others is aggression pure and simple. The major function of government—of courts and police—is to stop aggression; instead, the government has failed in this task and has failed grievously to exercise its defense function against air pollution.
Before the mid and late nineteenth century, any injurious air pollution was considered a tort, a nuisance against which the victim could sue for damages and against which he could take out an injunction to cease and desist from any further invasion of his property rights. But during the nineteenth century, the courts systematically altered the law of negligence and the law of nuisance to permit any air pollution which was not unusually greater than any similar manufacturing firm, one that was not more extensive than the customary practice of fellow polluters. As factories began to arise and emit smoke, blighting the orchards of neighboring farmers, the farmers would take the manufacturers to court, asking for damages and injunctions against further invasion of their property. But the judges said, in effect, “Sorry. We know that industrial smoke (i.e., air pollution) invades and interferes with your property rights. But there is something more important than mere property rights: and that is public policy, the ‘common good.’ And the common good decrees that industry is a good thing, industrial progress is a good thing, and therefore your mere private property rights must be overridden on behalf of the general welfare.” And now all of us are paying the bitter price for this overriding of private property, in the form of lung disease and countless other ailments. And all for the “common good”!
Page 311 | Location 4747-4754 | Added on Monday, August 19, 2013 11:19:38 PM
To cap the crimes of the judges, legislatures, federal and state, moved in to cement the aggression by prohibiting victims of air pollution from engaging in “class action” suits against polluters. Obviously, if a factory pollutes the atmosphere of a city where there are tens of thousands of victims, it is impractical for each victim to sue to collect his particular damages from the polluter (although an injunction could be used effectively by one small victim). The common law, therefore, recognizes the validity of “class action” suits, in which one or a few victims can sue the aggressor not only on their own behalf, but on behalf of the entire class of similar victims. But the legislatures systematically outlawed such class action suits in pollution cases. For this reason, a victim may successfully sue a polluter who injures him individually, in a one-to-one “private nuisance” suit. But he is prohibited by law from acting against a mass polluter who is injuring a large number of people in a given area!
Noise, too, is a form of air pollution. Noise is the creation of sound waves which go through the air and then bombard and invade the property and persons of others. Only recently have physicians begun to investigate the damaging effects of noise on the human physiology. Again, a libertarian legal system would permit damage and class action suits and injunctions against excessive and damaging noise: against “noise pollution.”
The argument that such an injunctive prohibition against pollution would add to the costs of industrial production is as reprehensible as the pre-Civil War argument that the abolition of slavery would add to the costs of growing cotton, and that therefore abolition, however morally correct, was “impractical.”
Page 313 | Location 4788-4791 | Added on Monday, August 19, 2013 11:24:19 PM
Robert Poole cogently defines pollution “as the transfer of harmful matter or energy to the person or property of another, without the latter’s consent.”22 The libertarian—and the only complete—solution to the problem of air pollution is to use the courts and the legal structure to combat and prevent such invasion.
Page 314 | Location 4800-4806 | Added on Monday, August 19, 2013 11:27:28 PM
The Friedmanites concede the existence of air pollution but propose to meet it, not by a defense of property rights, but rather by a supposedly utilitarian “cost-benefit” calculation by government, which will then make and enforce a “social decision” on how much pollution to allow. This decision would then be enforced either by licensing a given amount of pollution (the granting of “pollution rights”), by a graded scale of taxes against it, or by the taxpayers paying firms not to pollute. Not only would these proposals grant an enormous amount of bureaucratic power to government in the name of safeguarding the “free market”; they would continue to override property rights in the name of a collective decision enforced by the State. This is far from any genuine “free market,” and reveals that, as in many other economic areas, it is impossible to really defend freedom and the free market without insisting on defending the rights of private property.
Friedman’s statement, in fact, is of a piece with the typically conservative, “If you don’t like it here, leave,” a statement that implies that the government rightly owns the entire land area of “here,” and that anyone who objects to its rule must therefore leave the area.
Page 315 | Location 4823-4825 | Added on Monday, August 19, 2013 11:29:41 PM
A libertarian society would be a full-liability society, where everyone is fully responsible for his actions and any harmful consequences they might cause.
Page 316 | Location 4826-4832 | Added on Monday, August 19, 2013 11:30:38 PM
In addition to betraying its presumed function of defending private property, government has contributed to air pollution in a more positive sense. It was not so long ago that the Department of Agriculture conducted mass sprayings of DDT by helicopter over large areas, overriding the wishes of individual objecting farmers. It still continues to pour tons of poisonous and carcinogenic insecticides all over the South in an expensive and vain attempt to eradicate the fire ant.25 And the Atomic Energy Commission has poured radioactive wastes into the air and into the ground by means of its nuclear power plants, and through atomic testing. Municipal power and water plants, and the plants of licensed monopoly utility companies, mightily pollute the atmosphere. One of the major tasks of the State in this area is therefore to stop its own poisoning of the atmosphere.
Page 318 | Location 4870-4871 | Added on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 2:54:13 PM
Pending the dissolution of States, libertarians desire to limit, to whittle down, the area of government power in all directions and as much as possible.
Page 322 | Location 4919-4924 | Added on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:13:07 PM
There are several fatal flaws in this concept of collective security against “aggression.” One is that when Walldavia, or any other States, leap into the fray they are themselves expanding and compounding the extent of the aggression, because they are (1) unjustly slaughtering masses of Graustarkian civilians, and (2) increasing tax-coercion over Walldavian citizens. Furthermore, (3) in this age when States and subjects are closely identifiable, Walldavia is thereby leaving Walldavian civilians open to retaliation by Graustarkian bombers or missiles. Thus, entry into the war by the Walldavian government puts into jeopardy the very lives and properties of Walldavian citizens which the government is supposed to be protecting. Finally, (4) conscription-enslavement of Walldavian citizens will usually intensify.
There is another crucial flaw in the collective security concept. The idea of entering a war in order to stop “aggression” is clearly an analogy from aggression by one individual upon another.
But “aggression” only makes sense on the individual Smith-Jones level, as does the very term “police action.” These terms make no sense whatever on an inter-State level. First, we have seen that governments entering a war thereby become aggressors themselves against innocent civilians; indeed, become mass murderers.
Page 323 | Location 4937-4940 | Added on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:16:36 PM
But there is yet another fatal flaw in the analogy with individual aggression. When Smith beats up Jones or steals his property we can identify Smith as an aggressor upon the personal or property right of his victim. But when the Graustarkian State invades the territory of the Belgravian State, it is impermissible to refer to “aggression” in an analogous way.
No State has any legitimate property; all of its territory is the result of some kind of aggression and violent conquest. Hence the Graustarkian State’s invasion is necessarily a battle between two sets of thieves and aggressors: the only problem is that innocent civilians on both sides are being trampled upon.
Page 325 | Location 4974-4977 | Added on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:22:39 PM
The libertarian foreign policy, then, is not a pacifist policy. We do not hold, as do the pacifists, that no individual has the right to use violence in defending himself against violent attack. What we do hold is that no one has the right to conscript, tax, or murder others, or to use violence against others in order to defend himself.
Page 326 | Location 4988-4991 | Added on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:25:09 PM
For empirically, taking the twentieth century as a whole, the single most warlike, most interventionist, most imperialist government has been the United States. Such a statement is bound to shock Americans, subject as we have been for decades to intense propaganda by the Establishment on the invariable saintliness, peaceful intentions, and devotion to justice of the American government in foreign affairs.
Page 327 | Location 5002-5005 | Added on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:26:56 PM
In the name of “national self-determination” and “collective security” against aggression, the American government has consistently pursued a goal and a policy of world domination and of the forcible suppression of any rebellion against the status quo anywhere in the world. In the name of combatting “aggression” everywhere—of being the world’s “policeman”—it has itself become a great and continuing aggressor.
Page 330 | Location 5043-5046 | Added on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:34:06 PM
Throughout the tragic Vietnamese conflict, the United States maintained the fiction that it was a war of “aggression” by the Communist North Vietnamese State against a friendly and “pro-Western” (whatever that term may mean) South Vietnamese State which had called for our aid. Actually, the war was really a doomed but lengthy attempt by an imperial United States to suppress the wishes of the great bulk of the Vietnamese population and to maintain unpopular client dictators in the southern half of the country, by virtual genocide if necessary.
In its broadest sense, imperialism may be defined as aggression by State A against the people of country B, followed by the subsequent coercive maintenance of such foreign rule. In our example above, the permanent rule by the Graustark State over formerly northeastern Belgravia would be an example of such imperialism. But imperialism does not have to take the form of direct rule over the foreign population. In the twentieth century, the indirect form of “neoimperialism” has increasingly replaced the old-fashioned direct kind; it is more subtle and less visible but no less effective a form of imperialism.
Page 334 | Location 5109-5112 | Added on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:29:21 PM
this is the language of Empire. The Roman Empire never doubted that it was the defender of civilization. Its good intentions were peace, law and order. The Spanish Empire added salvation. The British Empire added the noble myth of the white man’s burden. We have added freedom and democracy. Yet the more that may be added to it the more it is the same language still. A language of power.
Page 335 | Location 5131-5132 | Added on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:32:34 PM
A State can only “die” by defeat in war or by revolution. In war, therefore, the State frantically mobilizes its subjects to fight for it against another State, under the pretext that it is fighting to defend them.
Page 337 | Location 5158-5164 | Added on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:38:38 PM
The bulk of our scientists and engineers has been diverted from basic research for civilian ends, from increasing productivity and the standard of living of consumers, into wasteful, inefficient, and nonproductive military and space boondoggles. These boondoggles are every bit as wasteful but infinitely more destructive than the vast pyramid building of the Pharaoh. It is no accident that Lord Keynes’s economics have proved to be the economics par excellence of the corporate liberal State. For Keynesian economists place equal approval upon all forms of government spending, whether on pyramids, missiles, or steel plants; by definition all of these expenditures swell the gross national product, regardless of how wasteful they may be. It is only recently that many liberals have begun to awaken to the evils of the waste, inflation, and militarism that Keynesian corporate liberalism has brought to America.
Page 338 | Location 5166-5171 | Added on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:39:56 PM
The goal of satisfying consumers as efficiently as possible has been increasingly replaced by the currying of favors by government contractors, often in the form of highly wasteful “cost-plus” contracts. Politics, in field after field, has replaced economics in guiding the activities of industry. Furthermore, as entire industries and regions of the country have come to depend upon government and military contracts, a huge vested interest has been created in continuing the programs, heedless of whether they retain even the most threadbare excuse of military necessity. Our economic prosperity has been made to depend on continuing the narcotic of unproductive and antiproductive government spending.
Page 350 | Location 5349-5353 | Added on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 10:12:31 PM
Many dictatorships have turned inward, cautiously confining themselves to preying on their own people: examples range from premodern Japan to Communist Albania to innumerable dictatorships in the Third World today. Uganda’s Idi Amin, perhaps the most brutal and repressive dictator in today’s world, shows no signs whatever of jeopardizing his regime by invading neighboring countries. On the other hand, such an indubitable democracy as Great Britain spread its coercive imperialism across the globe during the nineteenth and earlier centuries.
While public opinion has to be gauged in either case, the only real difference between a democracy and a dictatorship on making war is that in the former more propaganda must be beamed at one’s subjects to engineer their approval. Intensive propaganda is necessary in any case—as we can see by the zealous opinion-moulding behavior of all modern warring States. But the democratic State must work harder and faster. And also the democratic State must be more hypocritical in using rhetoric designed to appeal to the values of the masses: justice, freedom, national interest, patriotism, world peace, etc. So in democratic States, the art of propagandizing their subjects must be a bit more sophisticated and refined.
Page 351 | Location 5364-5367 | Added on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 10:15:13 PM
What we have said about democracy and dictatorship applies equally to the lack of correlation between degrees of internal freedom in a country and its external aggressiveness. Some States have proved themselves perfectly capable of allowing a considerable degree of freedom internally while making aggressive war abroad; other States have shown themselves capable of totalitarian rule internally while pursuing a pacific foreign policy. The examples of Uganda, Albania, China, Great Britain, etc., apply equally well in this comparison.
For war and a phony “external threat” have long been the chief means by which the State wins back the loyalty of its subjects. As we have seen, war and militarism were the gravediggers of classical liberalism; we must not allow the State to get away with this ruse ever again.19
Page 356 | Location 5456-5457 | Added on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 3:00:41 PM
There is no magic formula for strategy; any strategy for social change, resting as it does on persuasion and conversion, can only be an art rather than an exact science.
Page 357 | Location 5461-5462 | Added on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 3:01:15 PM
Education, in turn, has two vital aspects: calling people’s attention to the existence of such a system, and converting people to the libertarian system.
Libertarians must, therefore, engage in hard thinking and scholarship, put forth theoretical and systematic books, articles, and journals, and engage in conferences and seminars. On the other hand, a mere elaboration of the theory will get nowhere if no one has ever heard of the books and articles; hence the need for publicity, slogans, student activism, lectures, radio and TV spots, etc. True education cannot proceed without theory and activism, without an ideology and people to carry that ideology forward.
Page 358 | Location 5480-5483 | Added on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 3:04:59 PM
Libertarianism, while vital and true, cannot be merely graven in stone tablets; it must be a living theory, advancing through writing and discussion, and through refuting and combatting errors as they arise. The libertarian movement has dozens of small newsletters and magazines ranging from mimeographed sheets to slick publications, constantly emerging and dying. This is a sign of a healthy, growing movement, a movement that consists of countless individuals thinking, arguing, and contributing.
there is another critical reason for “talking to ourselves,” even if that were all the talking that was going on. And that is reinforcement—the psychologically necessary knowledge that there are other people of like mind to talk to, argue with, and generally communicate and interact with.
Page 359 | Location 5502-5505 | Added on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 3:08:44 PM
The major problem with the opportunists is that by confining themselves strictly to gradual and “practical” programs, programs that stand a good chance of immediate adoption, they are in grave danger of completely losing sight of the ultimate objective, the libertarian goal. He who confines himself to calling for a two percent reduction in taxes helps to bury the ultimate goal of abolition of taxation altogether.
Page 371 | Location 5684-5684 | Added on Friday, August 30, 2013 7:17:28 PM
Our hope is to convert the mass of the people who are being victimized by State power, not those who are gaining by it.
Page 373 | Location 5704-5706 | Added on Saturday, August 31, 2013 12:57:42 AM
Ever since the acceleration of statism at the turn of the twentieth century, big businessmen have been using the great powers of State contracts, subsidies and cartelization to carve out privileges for themselves at the expense of the rest of the society.
Page 374 | Location 5723-5726 | Added on Saturday, August 31, 2013 1:03:50 AM
Privilege implies exclusion, so there will always be a host of businesses and businessmen, large and small, who will have a solid economic interest in ending State control over their industry. There are therefore a host of businessmen, especially those remote from the privileged “Eastern Establishment,” who are potentially receptive to free-market and libertarian ideas.
Campus youth is one group that has been prominent in the rising libertarian movement. This is not surprising: college is the time when people are most open to reflection and to considering basic questions of our society. As youth enamored of consistency and unvarnished truth, as collegians accustomed to a world of scholarship and abstract ideas, and not yet burdened with the care and the often narrower vision of adult employment, these youngsters provide a fertile field for libertarian conversion.
Page 376 | Location 5754-5757 | Added on Saturday, August 31, 2013 1:13:32 AM
In short, the potential appeal of libertarianism is a multiclass appeal; it is an appeal that cuts across race, occupation, economic class, and the generations; any and all people not directly in the ruling elite are potentially receptive to our message. Every person or group that values its liberty or prosperity is a potential adherent to the libertarian creed.
Page 385 | Location 5897-5899 | Added on Monday, September 2, 2013 7:49:45 PM
Crisis situations always stimulate interest and a search for solutions. And this crisis has inspired numbers of thinking Americans to realize that government has gotten us into this mess, and that only liberty—the rolling back of government—can get us out. We are growing because the conditions are ripe. In a sense, as on the free market, demand has created its own supply.