Henry Hazlitt,Economics in One Lesson
First book of the year! It’s a re-read, but still a fave.
Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.
Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.
|—||Vaclav Havel,The Power of the Powerless(1978)|
Murray Rothbard,Anatomy of the State
Getting ready for the first lecture of Mises University 2012! This rather short work by Rothbard has been on my to-read list for some time, glad to have the opportunity to finally read it since it’s awesome.
Vaclav Havel,The Power of the Powerless(1978)
Still reading, and it just keeps getting better.
His full speech here.
So I’m going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts. We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more. […] There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back.
Because voluntary trade creates a mutual value surplus, the wealthy (at least the ones who got that way by facilitating voluntary trades) have already been ‘giving back’ to society, by leaving the people they traded with better off than they were before. In fact to the extent that this wealth was created through voluntary trade, and without depending on the coercion of the state, these wealthy people have already benefitted society much more than have those who didn’t become wealthy.
They know they didn’t -look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
Education, bridges, roads: Notice that these examples are all areas where government uses threats of violence to prevent or severely limit the emergence of private alternatives to the ‘services’ it provides.
It’s true that we all benefit from one another. But we don’t need coercive wealth transfer in order for this to happen.
The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
The private sector was already heavily involved in research on getting computers to talk to each other. As I understand it, what the government did was to buy the rights to use a cluster of these ideas to use for military purposes—legally preventing others from developing them further (if anyone reading knows can confirm that this is/isn’t accurate, please let me know).
The US government bought the ARPANET project (the fledgling internet) for military purposes, and its research was directed in this direction too. The purpose of this intervention was certainly not so that (private) companies could ‘make money off the internet’.
Whether or not the government invented the internet depends on how we interpret the words ‘invented’ and ‘internet’—whose meanings can both be contested. What we can be much more confident about is the much less ambiguous claim that government involvement severely delayed the arrival of the internet as we know it.
It did this by buying the rights to an idea, by crowding out private research in this field (hiring the best and the brightest from the voluntary sector), and by forbidding the use of the internet for commercial purposes until the early nineties. After that restriction was lifted its growth rate exploded, and the internet finally entered the life of the ‘average joe’. More details on the history of the internet in this wikipedia article.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.
‘Doing things together’ in Obamaspeak, apparently means using coercive wealth redistribution. We shouldn’t let these euphemisms bamboozle us: Voluntary cooperation is pro-social, coercion is anti-social.
There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
Trying to do things in isolation versus doing things on the basis of coercive wealth transfer is a false dichotomy. Genuinely ‘working together’ implies cooperating voluntarily, not a regime in which people hand over their resources to the state under the threat of violence for disobedience.
Last paragraph = awesome.
|—||Andrew P. Napolitano|
|—||The Declaration of Independents by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch|
|—||The Declaration of Independents by Nick Gillespie & Matt Welch|
|—||Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation’s in-house libertarian (via statehate)|
Small-government “compassionate conservatism” and liberal “hope and change” visualized.