Should individuals be free to interact with others as they see fit or should all human interactions be regulated and governed?
That is the question that every law passed answers. It’s ironic that most people view themselves as peaceful but they view everyone else as evil. Every law from Banking Regulations to Free Medical Care aims at the fundamental question: Are humans fundamentally evil? If left free would individuals violate or respect the Natural Rights of Others? Stated differently if you know that no one is watching do you try to steal from your neighbor? Do you try to kill that old lady for her pocket book?
I belive this is one aspect of the freedom argument that most people skirt around. Most people believe that Human Nature is fundamentally evil. They believe that humans will violate the Natural Rights of others to meet their own needs every chance they get. This is the reason why Government has no limits to its scope. Once that premise is accepted there is no end to the kinds of transactions that governments will be called upon to regulate.
Look at the TSA scanners and patdowns. Those searches assume that every individual who is boarding a plane is planning to murder all the passengers on board. Every regulation of business assumes that individuals within those companies are seeking to steal and defraud those who purchase their products and services.
If Humans have to be “regulated” in order for a peaceful society to exist then everyone should be advocating for a Total State. Because we are not safe from anyone including ourselves. That is exactly the attitude that is gaining wider and wider acceptance everyday.
The Total State adherents believe that no man on Earth (except themselves and their ilk) will behave peacefully toward their fellow-man. Conservatives and Liberals both hold this fundamental truth. Liberals believe that the “Greedy” will destroy the weak and the Conservatives believe the “infidels” will either blow up the faithful or the “infidels” will rebel against God and thus bring down God’s wrath upon the faithful as well as the “infidels”. Either way individuals will not and fundamentally can not coexist in a peaceful society, and its only with the omnipresent gaze and the iron hand of government can humans live in close proximity with each other.
But this assumption is acutally is disproven throughout history. It is always those who sought power to rule over others who have killed, pillaged and destroyed thoughtout the history of government on Earth. Who conscripts the armies of the world? Who directs the battleships? Who confiscates tribute, which today is called taxes. Who lies and obfuscates in order to remain in power? It is predominantly those who seek and hold public office.
I don’t believe that humans are fundamentally evil. Because I don’t believe I am. Do you believe that you are? Do you believe your family is fundamentally evil? Do you believe your friends are? Do you believe that your co-workers are? Do you believe that they are at their heart murderers, thieves and liars?
If you answered yes to these questions then you need to have the Government, which is Legalized Force, to intervene, surveil and govern all interactions between yourself and yourself, between yourself and your family, between yourself and your friends, and between yourself and your co-workers and between yourself and your customers. (I define customers as anyone who purchases your product or service. For most of us that is our boss.) That is the only logical conclusion to the idea that we are all evil and must be watched so that we do not hurt ourselves or anyone else we come into contact with.
Ayn Rand believed that there was actually no conflict between the competing interests of Rational Men. She belived that rational men only gain what they can earn. That concept even applies to love, because two men can never have the same love from a woman. Who ever a woman chooses to love, the other man could never have what she is giving to the other man. That is the essence of the absence of competition.
Rational individuals will only get what someone else is willing to give them in return for their product or service. If a customer wants to buy from a “competitor” the only recourse for a rational man is to improve his product, sell it at a cheaper price or look for other customers. A rational man never uses force to extract involuntarily something that he wants from another individual. A rational man only trades for what he wants.
I believe the whole idea of the evilness of man comes down the static concept of the World. That is a belief that there are limited resources and man being an animal will compete to get as much as he can, no matter who he has to kill, steal from or deceive to do it. This is a very pessimisitce and limited view of life. If there is truly a static “Pie” of all things and everyone must fight to get their “share” then I can see where some folks would think everyone would use force instead of trading to sustain and increase their life.
But look at the material wealth and abundance of food created in the last 200 years beacause of the energies of the Free People of America and to a lesser extent Europe. Could anyone have imagined the “pie” that exists today existing in 1812 or even 1912 or even in 1976? No. The idea of a static world or a static economy is insane. Life is change.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” Heraclitus
Most Collectivists hold as the definition of individualism as the strong exploiting the weak. This could not be farther from the truth. It is a simplistic Collectivist view of the world. The main question besides the fact that peaeful trade improves everyone’s life withing a society is the question “Who defines who is strong and who is weak?” And more importantly who is going to be the one’s to “correct” the behavior of the strong, how will they have the resources to do so and until everyone is “equalized” won’t there always be those who will have more wealth than others? So the end game of all the Collectivist has to be Communism in which everyone is “equalized”.
And when these Collectivists get into power aren’t they now the “Strong” in Society? I would define anyone who has at their disposal a Trillion Dollar Military as the “Strong”. And if humans are fundamentally evil , then the more power they acquire the more evil they are. Then wouldn’t it hold true that those who hold the “reigns of power” of Government are the most evil, because they are the most powerful in Society? You can see the absurdity of the Central Planners argument.
Frederic Bastiat lived during the time of increasing Socialism as we do today. In his time as now men were competing to come up new ways to “organize society”. He was an ardent opponent to all State planning. He would be well at home in the Liberty Movement of today.
For me Bastiat was a progenitor of the Anarcho-Capitalist movement even though his writings are overwhemingly in favor of a laissez-faire minarchist state.
“Even in the absence of all law, society would resist such acts (murder, theft, fraud), and consequently such resistance is a general law of humanity”.
He believed that Government should be only constituted to defend life, liberty and justly earned property. But his writings on the “harmonious nature of man” lays actually the foundation for the elimination of any Government.
What keeps you from violating the Natural Rights of others? Is it the fear of Hell or Jail? Or is the fact that you know that if you violate the Natural Rights of others you can not prosper in the long run? Is it because you know that eventually the truth will be found out and no one will want to interact with you because of your previous actions?
If you look at most world religions at their basic core is the Golden Rule. Most people practice that on a daily basis. And they wouldn’t if it did not help promote peaceful relations with other individuals. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Or stated differently don’t do anything to someone else you don’t want them to do to you.
I personally like the second version because it is a more “negative” view of action. It simply means I don’t want to be killed, stolen from or lied to. So I do not do that to others. We can only control our own actions. We can not control the actions of others ( Unless you are a Government Official).
Society is nothing more than the collection of individuals. Like Marcus Aurelius wrote “I am a Rational and Social Animal.”
Humans seek to interact socially with other individuals for many reasons. Ayn Rand wrote that the human animal is unique in the fact we can benefit from the passing down of knowledge from others and improve our lives trading with other humans.
A society is a mechanism in which individuals can learn from and trade with other human beings. . How long can any society exist if members are allowed to kill at will, steal whatever they like or deceive those who seek to trade with them? I tell you not very long. This is a fundamental economic Law. It doesn’t matter if gangs are running rampant in a small town killing, extorhting and stealing property or if its on a completely systematic way when a Government is based upon Collectivist principles. Eventually production is reduced and the standard of living for everyone including those who hold the reigns of power or the head of the maurading gang deterirorate because Collectivism destroys, it never creates.
But if humans are evil then there isn’t an instance of human interaction (including the transaction of love) in which the Government should not be involved in. If you are fundamentally evil and the only thing holding you back from murdering and stealing from your fellow-man is the threat of death or imprisonment then we need an unlimited Government to regulate and govern every human interaction.
That is what all Collectivism trends towards. What is ironic is that the mechanism of Government through which the Planners use in an attempt t0 extinguish Human evil is in itself an implement of murder, theft and deception. Its like trying to put out a match with a flame thrower.
When you go buy Zaxby’s and they serve you your food, do you think that the people fying up your chicken fingers want you to die of Salmonella? Of course not. They want you to enjoy your delicious chicken fingers and then come back and buy from them again. And if you get sick there and its traced back to them they will go out of business because others will stop buying their chicken fingers.
That is a simple example of Rational Self-Interest and that is the basis for all peaceful human interactions. Iits not the government but a person’s own Rational Self Intersest which impels each of us to try to improve and increase our own life which in turn compels us to trade peacefully with others.
I’m not saying there aren’t criminals in this world. But they are small in comparison to the criminals who currently populate the Government. Has any other criminal in the world stolen trillion dollars, killed 100′s of millions of people or lie to millions of people everyday? Has anyone criminal orgainzation printed up trillions of counterfeit hundred dollar bills? No. Only the State can get away with that bull mess.
Government is the problem and Liberty is the Solution.
In reality its the thoughts in the minds of individuals who believe that individuals are evil and that huge intrusive destructive government is necessary which is the real problem. Only when the minds of men change will there be an external peaceful political revolution, one in which Government is chained down once again to its role of protecting your Natural Right to your life, liberty and earned property.
But as I’ve written in previous posts its only when a third of the population wants to be free, believes they can live peaceably with other individuals in society and have the courage to be self-responsible will the Collectivist ideas fall out of favor along with government based upon those ideas. Everything man made was first fashioned in the minds of men.
I belive that only when individuals are free to trade with other individuals will the most peaceful society possible exist. I’m not talking about a Utopia. I’m talking about a world in which individuals are free to pursue their own uniqueness and uncover their potential. And the only way to do that is to freely and peacebly trade with their fellow-man.
I don’t believe humans are fundamentally evil. Every human being has to live. The best way to live is in peace. The freer individuals are the more peaceful they are. That is a fact. I want to live in the freest and most peaceful world I can. That is why I’m working to reach 2.3 billion people to spark their personal mental revolution that will lead eventually to an external peaceful political revolution.
Freedom is a good thing. And like Mises wrote “Freedom always means freedom from Government”. Not freedom from the responsibility of peaceably interacting with ourselves and our fellow man.
AdvocateofLiberty, Peace and Loving Life