Freedom vs. Unlimited Majority Rule 

The concept of freedom rests on a government limited to the protection of individual rights, while the concept of democracy rests on a government run by unlimited majority rule; we need to stop confusing these two opposite ideas. 

By Peter Schwartz 

America’s foreign policy has led to a bizarre contradiction. President Bush claims to be pursuing freedom in the world, so that Americans will be safer. Yet this campaign’s results–a more zealous proponent of terrorism in the Palestinian Authority, and the prospect of theocracy in Iraq–are posing even greater threats to us. 

The cause of this failure is Mr. Bush’s hopeless view that tyranny is reversed by the holding of elections–a view stemming from the widespread confusion between freedom and democracy. 

Ask a typical American if there should be limits on what government may do, and he would answer: yes. He understands that each of us has rights which no law–regardless of how much public support it happens to attract–is entitled to breach. An advocate of democracy, however, would answer: no. 

The essence of democracy is unlimited majority rule. It is the notion that the government should not be constrained, as long as its behavior is sanctioned by majority vote. It is the notion that the function of government is to implement the “will of the people.” It is the notion we are espousing when we tell the Iraqis, the Palestinians and the Afghanis that the legitimacy of their new governments rests essentially on their being democratically approved.  

And it is the notion that was repudiated by the founding of the United States. 

America’s defining characteristic is freedom. Freedom exists when there are limitations on government, limitations imposed by the principle of individual rights. America was established as a republic, under which government is restricted to protecting our inalienable rights; this should not be called “democracy.” Thus, you are free to criticize your neighbors, your society, your government–no matter how many people wish to pass a law censoring you. But if “popular will” is the standard, then the individual has no rights–only temporary privileges, granted or withdrawn according to the mass sentiment of the moment. The Founders understood that the tyranny of the majority could be just as evil as the tyranny of an absolute monarch. 

Yes, we have the ability to vote, but that is not the yardstick by which freedom is measured. After all, even dictatorships hold official elections. It is only the context of liberty–in which individual rights may not be voted out of existence–that justifies, and gives meaning to, the ballot box. In a genuinely free country, voting pertains only to the particular means of safeguarding individual rights. There is no moral “right” to vote to destroy rights. 

Unfortunately, like Mr. Bush, most Americans use the antithetical concepts of “freedom” and “democracy” interchangeably. Sometimes our government upholds the primacy of individual rights and regards one’s life, liberty and property as inviolable. Many other times it negates rights by upholding the primacy of the majority’s wishes–from confiscating an individual’s property because the majority wants it for “public use,” to preventing a terminally ill individual from gaining assistance in ending his life because a majority finds suicide unpalatable. 

Today, our foreign policy upholds this latter position. We declare that our overriding goal in the Mideast is that people vote–regardless of whether they care about freedom. But then, if a Shiite, pro-Iranian majority imposes its theology on Iraq–or if Palestinian suicide-bombers execute their popular mandate by blowing up schoolchildren–on what basis can we object, since democracy is being faithfully served? As a spokesman for Hamas, following its electoral victory, correctly noted: “I thank the United States that they have given us this weapon of democracy. . . . It’s not possible for the U.S. . . . to turn its back on an elected democracy.” The Palestinians abhor freedom–but have adopted democratic voting.  

The Iraqis may reject freedom, in which case military force alone–as dismally inadequate as our efforts in that realm have been so far–will have to ensure our safety against any threats from them.  But if we are going to try to replace tyranny with freedom there, we must at least demonstrate what freedom is. We should have been spreading the ideas and institutions of a free society, before allowing elections even to be considered. For example, we should have written the new constitution, as we did in post-WWII Japan. Instead, we deferred to the “will of the people”–people who do not understand individual rights–and endorsed a despotic constitution, which rejects intellectual freedom in favor of enforced obedience to the Koran, and which rejects economic freedom and private property in favor of “collective ownership.” The consequence: looming neo-tyranny in Iraq. 

We need to stop confusing democracy with freedom. Morally supporting freedom is always in our interests. But supporting unlimited majority rule is always destructive–to us, and to all who value the rights of the individual. 

Peter Schwartz is a Distinguished Fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (http://www.aynrand.org/) in Irvine, California. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand–author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. 

[b]I received that in an email/newsletter. Seems like a windy way of repeating what Franklin said about “Two wolves and a lamb deciding on dinner.” Could this be a root part of the contemporary problem here in the United States? Have we unknowingly slipped from a  representative republic into the morass of unfettered democracy?[/b] 

My own feelings are that the politicians ( with but a notable handful of rebels) have taken the nation to it’s very knees.  

There has been, in my opinion, a veritable silent revolution going on for decades, if not longer. Rampant feminism (political not ethical) has twisted the entire concept of life and liberty. The authoritarians within our society have issued blanket pronunciations that require one and all to conform to their ideas of so-called freedom. Those chicken littles that so love the earth more than their own children have strangled innovation to the point of causing serious gaps in national security. The resultant collective guilt of the populace has resulted in a lack of national pride that turns us against our own with subdued viciousness. 

I believe that the sole purpose of any government is to ensure the rights of the individual and that all legitimate uses of government power derives from that  basic sense of purposiveness. Hence the necessity of law, military forces and so on. 

I believe in opportunity for all through ones own resourcefulness, not by government fiat. I believe that in free markets the source of wealth can be found. 

I believe that the Constitution of these United States is the expression of the Declaration of Independence and that the concepts within have never changed, or left. Only the twisted interpetations of certain lawyers and politicians with the express purpose of personal gain. That the rights granted within the Constitution are inalieanable rights, that is God given, and cannot be subrogated by any man, or group of men.

3 Responses to “”

  1. Patrick Sperry Says:

    The U.S. Senate is trying to scam the American people — you and me — AGAIN!

    Right now — under the cover of darkness — the Senate is moving forward — full steam ahead — with plans to allow as many as 66 million aliens into the United States.

    Remember several months ago when the Senate voted 83-16 to authorize the building of a 370-mile fence along the Mexican border?

    What you probably didn’t know is that recently — when they thought you weren’t looking — the Senate voted AGAINST an amendment by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to actually FUND that fence . The vote was 71-29.

    Minutes later, the Senate voted down another Sessions’ amendment (66-34) that would have allocated necessary funds to the Department of Homeland Security to hire 800 full-time employees to investigate immigration fraud.

    So what do these votes mean?

    Simply put… No money… no fence and no real border enforcement.

    Simply put, your suspicions were correct all along — “comprehensive immigration reform,” as the Senate calls it, continues to be nothing more than a code phrase for “granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens!”

    It’s often difficult to fathom the monumental arrogance and outright deceit of the U.S. Senate.

    Our Senators know what the American people want, what they have demanded — secure borders.

    Our Senators know this is a vital issue for millions of Americans — people like you and your family who they are supposed to represent.

    These Senators have read the polls. They’ve heard from their constituents back home.

    BUT NOW THEY THINK YOU AREN’T WATCHING! THEY THINK YOU HAVE GIVEN UP THE FIGHT!

    Now is the time to show them once again that you mean business — that you demand secure borders and NO Amnesty for ILLEGALS!

    We’ve Won This Battle Before — We Can Win Again

    Over the spring, the Senate delayed voting on the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill until after the Easter recess thinking that public pressure would evaporate.

    But pressure didn’t evaporate!

    In fact, each and every time they tried to pull the wool over your eyes — you soundly rebuked them and sent them reeling back to the proverbial drawing board!

    But they’re NOT ready to give up with plans to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens — not just yet — and they’re still conspiring to deceive you, to fool you and to con you with an amnesty bill that’s 100% guaranteed to invite disaster.

    In 1986, Congress granted amnesty and citizenship to three million illegal aliens — but at the time they solemnly promised — Scout’s Honor — to seal the borders as well.

    Today, 12 MILLION illegal aliens are in the United States and the American people are still waiting — 20 years later — for the enforcement provisions enacted into law in 1986 to take effect!

    They didn’t fulfill their promise to secure the border as they promised in 1986 when they gave AMNESTY to 3 million illegals. And, based on the actions of the Senate during the last week, they have no plans to secure the border today.

    Here’s what the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector — perhaps the nation’s leading expert on immigration — said about the Senate legislation.

    “Allegedly, the border will first be sealed. This will be then followed by another mass amnesty and, inevitably, a huge flood of new immigrants.”

    Put the emphasis on the word “allegedly.”

    But after all… Isn’t that what we all want? Mass amnesty? Hoards of illegal aliens skipping, across our border? Tens of millions of “new citizens” who refuse to assimilate as they maintain allegiance to the countries of their birth?

    But wait a minute! The Senate says it will seal the borders first.

    Rector says that’s baloney.

    He points out that a genuine seal-the-border bill should contain such provisions as the following:

    A requirement that millions of illegal immigrants who work while using fake Social Security numbers be fired!

    Enforcement of strict penalties against employers that hire illegal aliens “off the books.”

    On Social Security, the Senate said NO! In May, the Senate effectively REJECTED an amendment — introduced by Senator John Ensign — that would have prohibited illegal aliens from collecting Social Security benefits based on past illegal employment — even if the job was obtained through forged or stolen documents.

    On strict penalties for employers that hire illegals, the Senate bill actually grants AMNESTY to employers currently using illegal aliens for cheap labor.

    The Senate, Rector says, “will accept no such tough measures. Therefore, talk of ‘enforcement first’ is hollow.”

    “Hollow” is too kind a word. The Senate’s actions are a betrayal!

    Rector’s last word: “The Senate’s immigration bill deserves burial in a very deep grave.”

    Let’s dig that grave — RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW!

    66 Million Aliens…

    Robert Rector’s estimate of the number of new immigrants the Senate legislation would bring in to the United States over a 20-year period is — are you ready for this? — MORE THAN 66 MILLION, more than 20 percent of the current American population!

    But Rector isn’t the only one sounding the alarm:

    Charles Hurt, reporting in the Washington Times, points out that the Senate bill would forbid State and local law enforcement officers from detaining illegal aliens for being in the country illegally; thus leaving the task entirely to the under-staffed, under-funded U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

    Hurt also reported that the Senate bill “would guarantee wages to some foreign workers that would be higher than the minimum wage — in effect, higher than American workers could be paid at the same work site.”

    But these aren’t the worst problems we face.

    Our borders are war zones. But, our border patrols and National Guardsmen are out-manned and out-gunned.

    Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez of Zapata County, Texas tells it like it is.

    “For years we have seen individuals enter the country illegally. However, recently, we feel that many of these persons are no longer entering the country to look for legitimate employment. We are now seeing that many of these persons are members of ruthless and violent gangs. All of us are concerned that the border with Mexico is being used as the front door to this country and that terrorists are already in our back yard.”

    He’s talking about ragtag armies like MS-13 — the most dangerous street gang in the Western hemisphere — with affiliates all over the United States.

    Gonzalez again:

    “In May of this year my office received information that the cartels immediately across our border are planning on threatening or killing as many police officers as possible on the United States side. This is being planned for the purpose of attempting to ‘scare us’ away from the border. It is very possible these cartels may form the nexus, or have already formed one, with members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.”

    Sheriff Gonzalez and his men have found evidence that terrorists have already crossed the border — Middle Eastern currency, Muslim clothing, a jacket with patches from countries where al-Qaida operates.

    And 71 members of the U.S. Senate DON’T CARE ENOUGH TO SECURE OUR BORDERS!!!

    It’s not just Democrats — but Republicans too. Their behavior is sickening.

    Let them know you’re watching — RIGHT NOW — TODAY!

    But Securing The Borders Simply Won’t Work… Right?

    WRONG!

    A DEA report — one that 71 senators don’t want you to see — clearly indicates that the very presence of the heroic force — we know as the Minutemen — has had a dramatic effect on drug traffic in Cochise County.

    A DEA report states that the amount of bulk shipments of marijuana crossing the border “dropped significantly.”

    DEA official Anthony Coulson, said, “When you have eyes on the border — I think any law enforcement will admit this — you have a great deterrent effect of keeping things away… [The gangs] just kind of hunkered down, waiting till the Minuteman Project was over…”

    According to a DEA graph, there was a 20% decrease in trafficking while the Minutemen stood guard.

    So… the Senate doesn’t want to appropriate money to build that wall — the one they voted to build in May…

    We can change that.

    Most of us simply can’t go to the border and join Minutemen patrols.

    But we can make our voices heard in Washington, DC. We can flood our elected leaders’ fax machines and let them know that we our watching. We can remind them that, in this election year, we will hold them to account at the polls if they don’t do what the American people want.

    Make you voice heard — RIGHT NOW — TODAY!

    Use the hyperlink below to send your urgent and personalized 30 Blast Fax messages to President George W. Bush and the leadership of the House and Senate.

    Tell them in no uncertain terms just how outraged — how disgusted you are at their amnesty shenanigans.

    Tell them you haven’t forgotten what happened in 1986, when Congress gave three million illegal aliens amnesty and citizenship on the promise that our borders would be secured.

    Tell them not to dare try that scam again — EVER! No Amnesty! Seal our borders NOW!

    http://www.cfiflistmanager.org/amnestyscambe.html

    AOL Members Use This Hyperlink

    If the above hyperlink does not function, please copy and paste it into the address bar of your browser.

    Jeff Mazzella
    President
    http://www.cfif.org

    The CFIF Action Alert is a service to the conservative community. If you would like to subscribe please go to http://www.cfif.org/signup.

    *Here’s a hint. Follow the money!*

  2. Patrick Sperry Says:

    Subject: True story

    Here’s a quote from a government employee who witnessed a recent interaction
    between an elderly
    woman and an antiwar protester in a Metro station in DC: “There were protesters
    on the train
    platform handing out pamphlets on the evils of America. I politely declined to
    take one. “An elderly
    woman was behind me getting off the escalator and a young (20ish) female
    protester offered her a
    pamphlet, which she politely declined. “The young protester put her hand on the
    old woman’s shoulder
    as a gesture of friendship and in a very soft voice said, ‘Lady, don’t you care
    about the children
    of Iraq?’

    “The old woman looked up at her and said, ‘ Honey, my father died in France
    during World War II, I
    lost my husband in Korea, and a son in Vietnam. All three died so you could have
    the right to stand
    here and bad mouth our country. If you touch me again. I’ll stick this umbrella
    up your ass and open
    it. ‘ ”

    You just have to love old women!

  3. patricksperry Says:

    The Market For Liberty
    by Linda Tannehill and Morris Tannehill
    [Posted on Saturday, July 29, 2006]
    Subscribe at email services, tell others, or Digg this story.

    Introduction
    Foreword by Karl Hess
    If We Don’t Know Where We’re Going…
    The Self-Regulating Market
    A Free and Healthy Economy
    Notes

    Introduction from the Mises Institute

    Some great books are the product of a lifetime of research, reflection, and labored discipline. But other classics are written in a white heat during the moment of discovery, with prose that shines forth like the sun pouring into the window of a time when a new understanding brings the world into focus for the first time.

    The Market for Liberty is that second type of classic, and what a treasure it is. Written at the end of the 1960s by two authors — Morris and Linda Tannehill — just following a period of intense study of the writings of both Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard, it has the pace, energy, and rigor you would expect from an evening’s discussion with either of these two giants.

    More than that, these authors put pen to paper at precisely the right time in their intellectual development, that period of rhapsodic freshness when a great truth had been revealed, and they had to share it with the world. Clearly, the authors fell in love with liberty and the free market, and wrote an engaging, book-length sonnet to these ideas.

    This book is very radical in the true sense of that term: it gets to the root of the problem of government and provides a rethinking of the whole organization of society. They start at the beginning with the idea of the individual and his rights, work their way through exchange and the market, expose government as the great enemy of mankind, and then — and here is the great surprise — they offer a dramatic expansion of market logic into areas of security and defense provision.

    Here we have excerpted three of the earlier chapters — 1, 3, and 5 — where the Tannehills build the foundation of their argument for the completely laissez-faire society and against the claims made by most of their fellow Objectivists, including Ayn Rand, that the minimalist “night watchman” state is necessary for peace and freedom.

    You can comment on this text on the blog.

    Foreword by Karl Hess*

    The most interesting political questions throughout history have been whether or not humans will be ruled or free, whether they will be responsible for their actions as individuals or left irresponsible as members of society, and whether they can live in peace by volitional agreements alone.

    The fundamental question of politics has always been whether there should be politics.

    Morris and Linda Tannehill, in this book, which has become something of a classic even while being (until now) out of print, answer that politics is not necessary, that the ancient and ongoing contrivance of the marketplace can be substituted for it with ennobling results.

    Advocates of state power will of course recoil from the idea and point out that it is all idle dreaming, that the state has always existed and must always exist lest brutal humans descend into, horrors, ANARCHY. They are correct, of course. Without the state there would be anarchy for that is, despite all of the perfervid ravings of the Marxist Left and statist Right, all that anarchy means — the absence of the state, the opportunity for liberty.

    As for the direction that a world headed for liberty would be taking (descending or ascending) the Tannehills and many others have reviewed the record of the nation state and have discovered a curiously powerful fact. The nation state has never been associated with peace on earth. Its most powerful recommendation and record is, as a matter of fact, as a wager of war. The history of nation states is written around the dates of wars, not peace, around arms and not arts. The organization of warfare without the coercive power of the nation state is simply unimaginable at the scale with which we have become familiar.

    Having shown no capacity whatsoever to bring peace to earth, then what is the claim of the state on our allegiance? In closely reasoned arguments, the Tannehills maintain that there should be no claim at all; that the state is not needed at any point in our lives and that other, volitional, arrangements can be substituted for every single state function. They see these arrangements operating in the framework of a truly free market and they carefully explain them.

    “Without the state there would be anarchy for that is, despite all of the perfervid ravings of the Marxist Left and statist Right, all that anarchy means — the absence of the state, the opportunity for liberty.”

    – Karl Hess

    The benefits, they argue, are as numerous as the problems that now plague us. Pollution is more easily opposed when it is seen sensibly as an aggression against property rather than as a political cause or licensure. Monopoly is less likely in a laissez faire world than in a regulated one. Crime is less likely in communities responsible for their own protection than in those which are simply precinct outposts of the state’s police forces. And so on and on throughout the entire, dreary record of state activity and through the exciting possibilities of libertarian activity.

    Much of what the Tannehills have to say has become familiar to libertarians since the book was first published in 1970. It is their proposition that it will become familiar to more and more people as the myths of the state topple under the weight of reality. It is also their proposition that the changed order that will ensue from libertarian ideas will be enduring and beneficent, unlike the changes that have occurred in the past as the result of violence.

    Supporting their contention is an analysis of the state which even if it seemed fanciful to some in 1970 must seem almost modest today. The free economies of the world, the so-called underground economies, are growing at an astonishing rate. In Italy it is the underground economy that keeps the country afloat. In America it is the least inflation-prone and probably the fastest growing part of the economy, having elicited from President Reagan the wistful comment that if the underground paid its taxes (tribute) to the state then he could balance the budget. In the countries of the Soviet police-state the underground economy is at one and the same time a powerful force in keeping people alive and also a powerful force in keeping alive their hopes for freedom.

    Meantime, the economy of the least free state, the Soviet, continues to sputter along at a rate so depressed that the subjects of the state tyranny cannot even feed themselves adequately. And the economy of the most free state, America, drags itself deeper and deeper into state-related debt and depression. Only, in America at least, a renewed sense of entrepreneurial possibility keeps anything moving ahead. Seeing such activity should remind us all that the entrepreneurial shine in a state society could become star-bright brilliance in a fully free society.

    The importance of re-issuing the Tannehills’ book at this time, it seems to me, is in the probability that it will inspire and enlarge the horizons of young entrepreneurs who may enormously enjoy what they are doing but may not fully appreciate the larger implications of a free market world. Some will appreciate, from reading the Tannehills, that not only can they make money but that they can help make a new world as they do it.

    Chapter 1: If We Don’t Know Where We’re Going…

    If we don’t know where we’re going, chances are we won’t get there!

    Our world is increasingly stirred with dissatisfaction. Myriads of people on every continent are whispering or shouting or writing or rioting their discontent with the structures of their societies. And they have a lot to be dissatisfied with — poverty which increases in step with increasingly expensive anti-poverty programs, endlessly heavier burdens of taxation and regulation piled on by unmindful bureaucrats, the long death-agonies of meaningless mini-wars, the terrible, ironfisted knock of secret police….

    Youth are especially dissatisfied. Many long to turn the world upside down, in hopes that a better, freer, more humane society will emerge. But improvements in man’s condition never come as a result of blind hope, pious prayers, or random chance; they are the product of knowledge and thought. Those who are dissatisfied must discover what sort of being man is and, from this, what kind of society is required for him to function most efficiently and happily. If they are unwilling to accept this intellectual responsibility, they will only succeed in exchanging our present troubles for new, and probably worse, ones.

    An increasing number of people are beginning to suspect that governmental actions are the cause of many of our social ills. Productive citizens, on whom the prosperity of nations depends, resent being told (in ever more minute detail) how to run their business and their lives. Youth resent being drafted into involuntary servitude as hired killers. The poor are finding, to their bitter disappointment, that government can bleed the economy into anemia but that all its grandiose promises and expensive programs can do nothing but freeze them in their misery. And everyone is hurt by the accelerating spiral of taxes and inflation.

    Nearly everyone is against some governmental actions, and an increasing number want to cut the size of government anywhere from slightly to drastically. There are even a few who have come to believe that it is not just certain governmental activities, nor even the size of the government, but the very existence of government which is causing the problems. These individuals are convinced that if we want to be permanently free of government-caused ills we must get rid of government itself. Within this broad anti-statist faction, there are plenty of “activists” who march or protest or just dream and scheme about means of bringing part or all of the governmental system crashing down.

    “An increasing number of people are beginning to suspect that governmental actions are the cause of many of our social ills.”
    Although these anti-authoritarian individuals have taken a firm and well-justified stand against the injustice of government, few of them have an explicitly clear idea of what they are for. They want to tear down the old society and build a better one, but most of them hold only hazy and contradictory ideas of what this better society would be like and what its structure should be.

    But if we have no clear idea of what our goals are, we can hardly expect to achieve them. If we bring our present authoritarian system crashing down around our ears without formulating and disseminating valid ideas about how society will operate satisfactorily without governmental rule, all that will result is confusion, ending in chaos. Then people, bewildered and frightened and still convinced that the traditional governmental system was right and necessary in spite of its glaring flaws, will demand a strong leader, and a Hitler will rise to answer their plea. So we’ll be far worse off than we were before, because we will have to contend with both the destruction resulting from the chaos and a dictator with great popular support.

    The force which shapes men’s lives and builds societies is not the destructive power of protests and revolutions but the productive power of rational ideas. Before anything can be produced — from a stone axe to a social system — someone must first have an idea of what to aim for and how to go about achieving it. Ideas must precede all production and all action. For this reason, ideas are the most powerful (though often the most underestimated) force in man’s world.

    This is a book about an idea — the discovery of what kind of society man needs in order to function most efficiently and happily … and how to achieve that society. It is a book about freedom — what it really is and implies, why man needs it, what it can do for him, and how to build and maintain a truly free society.

    We are not envisioning any Utopia, in which no man ever tries to victimize another. As long as men are human, they will be free to choose to act in an irrational and immoral manner against their fellows, and there will probably always be some who act as brutes, inflicting their will upon others by force. What we are proposing is a system for dealing with such men which is far superior to our present governmental one — a system which makes the violation of human liberty far more difficult and less rewarding for all who want to live as brutes, and downright impossible for those who want to be politicians.

    Nor are we proposing a “perfect” society (whatever that is). Men are fallible, so mistakes will always be made, and there will never be a society of total equity. Under the present governmental system, however, blunders and aggressive intrusions into the lives of peaceful individuals tend to feed on themselves and to grow automatically so that what starts as a small injustice (a tax, a regulation a bureau, etc.) inevitably becomes a colossus in time. In a truly free society, blunders and aggressions would tend to be self-correcting, because men who are free to choose will not deal with individuals and firms which are stupid, offensive, or dangerous to those they do business with.

    The society we propose is based on one fundamental principle: No man or group of men — including any group of men calling themselves “the government” — is morally entitled to initiate (that is, to start) the use of physical force, the threat of force, or any substitute for force (such as fraud) against any other man or group of men. This means that no man, no gang, and no government may morally use force in even the smallest degree against even the most unimportant individual so long as that individual has not himself initiated force.[1] Some individuals will choose to initiate force; how to deal with them justly occupies a major part of this book. But, although such aggressions will probably never by fully eliminated, rational men can construct a society which will discourage them rather than institutionalizing them as an integral part of its social structure.

    Of course, our knowledge of what a truly free society would be like is far from complete. When men are free to think and produce, they innovate and improve everything around them at a startling rate, which means that only the bare outlines of the structure and functioning of a free society can be seen prior to its actual establishment and operation. But more than enough can be reasoned out to prove that a truly free society — one in which the initiation of force would be dealt with justly instead of institutionalized in the form of a government — is feasible. By working from what is already known, it is possible to show in general how a free society would operate and to answer fully and satisfactorily the common questions about and objections to such a society.

    For years men with plans to improve society have debated the merits and demerits of various kinds and amounts of government, and they have argued long and heatedly over how much freedom was desirable or necessary to provide for the needs of man’s life. But very few of them have tried to clearly identify the nature of government, the nature of freedom, or even the nature of man. Consequently, their social schemes have not been in accordance with the facts of reality and their “solutions” to human ills have been little more than erudite fantasies. Neither the futile and time-worn panaceas of the Establishment, nor the “God and country” fervor of the Right, nor the angry peace marches of the Left can build a better society if men do not have a clear, reality-based, non-contradictory idea of what a better society is. If we don’t know where we’re going, we won’t get there.

    It is the aim of this book to show where we are (or should be) going.

    [Continue reading this article online]

    ——————————————————————————–

    The Market For Liberty actually predates Rothbard’s For A New Liberty. In fact, Rothbard chose it as one of the top 20 libertarian books of all time. It had a huge impact when it came out in 1970, especially among the generation that was debating question of whether the state needed to provide “night watchman” functions or be eliminated all together. Since the 1980s, however, the book has languished in obscurity. If the authors are still around, no one seems to have heard from them, a fact which seems only to add to the mystery of this never-to-be-repeated book. Comment on the blog.

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