Thursday, January 22, 2009

Do I write this badly?

I hope not. [Update: Manfred Schieder's first languages are German and Spanish. Sorry I didn't check that before I wrote this. In that case, his English is much better than my German and, at least sometimes, my English.]

From Preparing for Capitalism, by Manfred F. Schieder:
By no means must any of the many worldwide existing types of collectivism be copied nor must those whose purpose is the establishment of the new type of society act, as collectivists usually do to reach their purposes, like a wild steer on the loose in a glass-shop. The technique to be used by the defenders of Capitalism must be very different, since our purposes are different as well. Against collectivists, who are interested in reaching sheer power, which is an evident sign of despotism, liberals are interested in production, a sign of personal liberty and a constant move towards general well-being. Hence, whoever thinks that he can enter any compromise with the antagonist or copy a certain "technique" of his, commits a contradiction in terms.

It is an example of bad writing, but he has a good excuse, and I think he's saying something important.
Now, whoever takes even just one instant of his time to study the tangle of laws, decrees, regulations, fidelity oaths and rules of behavior, will immediately notice that the total sum of the labyrinth was not established, through the millennia, to insure the freedom of the individual citizen but to protect government from him and insure its predominance and continuous enlargement.

Ayn Rand provided the sustaining argument for what I described above in her major work "Atlas Shrugged": "The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a police officer, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law. But a government that initiates the employment of force against men who had forced no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmare infernal machine designed to annihilate morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man's deadliest enemy, from the role of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against victims deprived of the right of self-defense. Such a government substitutes for morality the following rule of social conduct: you may do whatever you please to your neighbor, provided your gang is bigger than his is."

Schieder is calling us to train in administration for the day when the current mess goes completely to $#!*.

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