Monday, November 02, 2009

Altruism: The Justification For All Rights-Violating Laws & Institutions

Craig Biddle at The Objective Standard (Fall 2009) wrote a great article called "The Creed of Sacrifice vs The Land of Liberty". I have pulled out the number of ways government abuses our freedom from his article, followed by the first few paragraphs of his essay. You can read the whole essay at the link below.
  1. The Federal Reserve prints fiat money which debases our savings
  2. This fiat money finances welfare programs, bails out banks, rescues bankrupt car companies
  3. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) violates taxpayers rights by forcing us to insure the bank deposits of strangers.
  4. Social Security violates the rights of younger Americans who have to fund retirees.
  5. National Labor Relations Act violates the rights of businessmen like automakers by forcing them to "contract" with labor unions...
  6. Medicare and Medicaid violate the rights of taxpaying Americans by forcing them to fund the care of the aged and "destitute".
  7. The Community Reinvestment Act violates the rights of bankers by forcing them to provide loans to people whom they regard as too risky for business.
  8. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) violates the right of taxpayers by forcing them to purchase bad debt from failing financial institutions.
  9. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) violates the rights of Americans by expanding the extent to which they are forced to fund welfare programs, unemployment benefits, gov run education, and the health care of others.
  10. Federal, State and municipal government violate our rights in thousands of other ways as well. (From "The Creed of Sacrifice vs. The Land of Liberty - The Objective Standard, Fall 2009, Page 40.

The proper purpose of government, wrote Thomas Jefferson, is to “guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”1 The government “shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”2

In accordance with this view of the purpose of government, the founders established a republic in which the government was constitutionally limited to the protection of individual rights—the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. In this new republic, men were free to think, to produce, and to trade in accordance with their own best judgment; thus, they were free to thrive in accordance with their intelligence, their ability, their initiative. The result was astounding.

Nineteenth-century America was a land of unparalleled innovation and prosperity—and further political achievement. In addition to countless inventions that sprang up—including the steamboat, the cotton gin, vulcanized rubber, the telephone, the incandescent light, the electric power plant, the skyscraper, and the safety elevator—and in addition to the vital industries that arose or were revolutionized—such as the railroad, oil, and steel industries—19th-century America witnessed the end of slavery, which was recognized as a violation of the basic principle of the land.

Between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century, America came as close to being a fully rights-respecting society as any country has ever come. Men were essentially free to live their own lives, by their own judgment, for their own sake.

Unfortunately, although the Land of Liberty was a great success, it would not and could not last.
The founders established America on the principle of individual rights, but neither they nor the thinkers who followed them identified the deeper philosophic foundation on which this principle depends, namely, the morality of egoism—the idea that being moral consists in pursuing the values on which one’s life and happiness depend. In the absence of this foundation, Americans have embraced philosophical ideas that are contrary to individual rights.

Over the past century, Americans have increasingly accepted the morality of altruism—the notion that being moral consists in self-sacrificially serving others—and they have increasingly applied this morality to the realm of politics. Consequently, our government is no longer committed to “restrain men from injuring one another [and] leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.” Rather, our government regularly—and increasingly—“take[s] from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned” and redistributes that bread to those who have not earned it. CONTINUE READING AT The Objective Standard

1 comment:

Some Dude said...

I agree with most of the things said in this article, like Jefferson's thoughts on the proper role of government. I agree that people should be free to live as they wish. However, I disagree with you and the author on altruism.

I see nothing wrong with altruism, as it is defined in this article and in the dictionary. The article defines altruism as the "notion that being moral consists in self-sacrificially serving others". This is vastly different from the "altruism" shown by big-government socialists. An altruist helps people at his own expense. This is honorable and kind. A socialist helps people at somebody else's expense. This is theft. BIG difference.