Friederic Bastiat, in his magnificent little pamphlet The Law, warned well more than a century ago about the tendency of different factions of society to abuse the law in order to loot each other. This author is nothing less than a prophet.
It’s fashionable today to condemn corporatism, in which big business owners benefit from cozy relationships with politicians and the Defense Department. More than that, however, there is the looting that the poor does of the rich and the middle class by virtue of welfare and other such things. The rich steal through government fiat, the poor steal through government fiat, and the middle class gets stuck with the bill.
“Ah, but it’s our responsibility to take care of the poor,” you might say. Yes, it is–but not through government fiat. Here’s a slice of evidence to munch on: When Ronald Reagan reduced taxes in the early 1980’s, charitable giving went up.
Now many people who support the mutual looting of society through the abuse of law are good people, and they have good intentions. Many of them (we’re essentially talking about modern Liberals) are also utterly opposed to our tyrannical crusades abroad and even to police brutality at home. What many of them fail to realize is this: all government law is enforced, ultimately, at gunpoint. If you don’t pay your taxes, and you ignore the ensuing letters, etc., sooner or later, there will be a knock at your door. The IRS, in whose court the accused are guilty until proven innocent (I’m not making this up), will take your property, and even anyone else’s belongings that might be on your property. Resist, you say? The State will kill you. What is nearly as bad is that most of your peers will think that you deserved it.
This doesn’t sound like freedom to me. The government is taking your money and using it in ways that it decides is appropriate. This is Central Planning, pure and simple: the self-appointed super-minds think that they, from a distance, can tell better than you what the needs are in your own home or neighborhood.
So, to my Liberal friends, I’d like to say: You’re fantastic on civil liberties, but it is crucial that you recognize that economic freedom is an indispensable part of liberty. We must work on ways to help the poor without granting so much power–any power–to the State.