"In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense; and have no other preliminaries to settle with the reader, than that he will divest himself of prejudice and prepossession, and suffer his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves; that he will put on rather than off, the true character of a man, and generously enlarge his views beyond the present day." - Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Economic Vs. Personal Freedoms

 "The control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself."
- Hilaire Belloc, The Servile State

One of the major mistakes made by leftists/progressives/socialists/statists is the idea that economic and personal liberties are divisible and by giving up some economic freedom we can gain a proportional or greater amount of personal freedom. This could not be further from the truth, as state control of the economy is no less than state control of everyday life.

Really, the "economic sphere" of your life covers the same area as your "personal sphere." An economy isn't just graphs and numbers and dollar signs; it's billions of people acting on a voluntary, individual basis through a multitude of means and organizations to achieve their own personal goals. It's not something that can be accurately measured or quantified, and this is also the reason why all state-run economies eventually collapse.

Therefore, if the government implements taxes and laws and regulations that infringe on our "economic" rights, we don't somehow gain personal liberties, as statists illogically believe. It's a net loss of freedom, and inevitably leads to a totalitarian state. It's completely irrational, ridiculous even, to think that we can be freer by giving up our freedoms.

It's not called the Statue of Non-economic Liberty

Economic freedom is one's right to his or her life and property. No one has the right to deprive someone of those things. When someone is assaulted, burglarized, killed, or held captive, we recognize these actions as criminal. Yet for some reason we allow the most oppressive tool known to man - government - to act outside the few moral values that the vast majority of people on earth can actually agree upon. Walt Whitman, among others, regularly praised the dignity and liberty of the individual. From Whitman's "Duties of Government" (1846):

"One point, however, must not be forgotten--ought to be put before the eyes of the people every day; and that is, although government can do little positive good to the people, it may do an immense deal of harm. . . . the Democratic principle . . . would prevent all this harm. It would have no man's benefit achieved at the expense of his neighbors. It would have no one's rights infringed upon and that, after all, is pretty much the sum an substance of the prerogatives of government. How beautiful and harmonious a system! How it transcends all other codes, as the golden rule, in its brevity, transcends the ponderous tomes of the philosophic lore! While mere politicians, in their narrow minds, are sweating and fuming with their complicated statutes, this one single rules, rationally construed and applied, is enough to form the starting point of all that is necessary in government: to make no more laws than those useful for preventing a man or body of men from infringing on the rights of other men."

There's a man who knows what's up.
Instead, we allow our government the power of taxation, or "legal plunder," in the words of Frederic Bastiat, the power to seize private property through "eminent domain," the power to tell us how to run our business, the power to decide how much our money is worth through the Federal Reserve, and the power to detain citizens without charges or a trial, among other abuses. All of these abuses are grounded in a disrespect of the right to life and property.

This sweeping government power is sold to us as a way to "protect" us from "the rich" and "the corrupt" and lead us to prosperity and blah, blah, blah. However, with a powerful government, all we're doing is making it easier to abuse us for those that are rich and powerful and corrupt. In his book, The Revolution: A Manifesto, Ron Paul states:

"The rich are more than happy to secure for themselves a share of the loot - for example, in the form of subsidized low-interest loans (as with the Export-Import Bank), bailouts when their risky loans go sour, or regulatory schemes that hurt their smaller competitors or make it harder for new ones to enter an industry."

Instead of having to go around to get each and every individual state legislature and executive to pass a law (which would require the inclusion of hundreds if not thousands of people and millions or billions of dollars in the scheme), all the elites have to do is go straight to D.C.

Once we sacrifice our economic liberties and give the federal government power over and the authority to regulate the economy, we're effectively hanging a gigantic FOR SALE sign over not only our country, but our daily lives. Freedom, whether it's considered personal, economic, or political, is not divisible.

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