Wednesday, November 26, 2008


There is a rather long discussion going on at the Classical Values post The Government IS The Devil. In that post I suggested that the government was limited to protecting public order and that its intrusion into the business of schools (currently a socialist enterprise called the Public School System) and the socialization of morality through ventures such as alcohol prohibition and drug prohibition was wrong headed and that the championing of all three by Cultural Conservatives in an attempt to bring True Morality to the American Public through the use of government guns was at minimum misguided and at worst a consorting with evil in the hopes of doing good. And we all know how bargains with the Devil usually work out. Everything is going swimmingly and then the balloon payment becomes due.

Now a commenter brought up this point.

By advocating absolute liberty as an end to itself, devoid of any contextual reality such as the role of virtue, you're asking people to ask their government to stand for...nothing.
Well except in the craziness of my youth I never have stood for absolute Liberty. What ever the hell that is. Well maybe I do know what that is: "It is good to be King". Yes. It is. If you are the King. The kind of Liberty I have in mind is better expressed by Thomas Jefferson:
"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."
But you know. That Liberty thing. Scary stuff. Who knows what people might do if the government isn't watching. They might be having fun in unapproved ways. Why they could be harming their eternal souls. Or piercing their eye brows. I think the eye brow piercing probably hurts more. But that is just me.

In any case I'm not asking the government to stand for nothing. I'm asking it to stand for Liberty.

Probably the scariest substance on earth. Also the costliest.

What a weak lot so many Americans have become to be so afraid of Liberty. Men died to give it to you and you treat it like a toxic substance. I laugh at your wretched condition. Groveling before government to protect you from Liberty. Not a man among you - those who fear Freedom.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!" Samuel Adams
Craven cowards the lot of you.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


tomcpp said...

That's the problem exactly. "If you love wealth more than liberty".

Newsflash : everybody does. The scary thing : so do you (so do I in any case). Ever travelled to a really underdeveloped country ? You should tour Zimbabwe once. And ask yourself : "do I want liberty if it means a life like this ?".

Because the answer is simple : "NO !!!!".

That's why promising 5000$ to everyone in an election works. Normally such an act would guarantee the person could not possibly get elected ...

Neil said...


Isn't the question really what constitutes "the equal rights of others"?

Leftists claim that if you have no "guaranteed" pension, you are at the mercy of those more wealthy than yourself, and therefore the wealthy are trampling on your equal rights. They bravely stand up for that belief.

The right claims that abortion infringes on the equal rights of the fetus, which I think we can all agree is at least not just a "clump of cells". They bravely stand up for that belief.

Personally, I'm in the Leave Us Alone crowd, so I think that if I'm dependent on the collective for my retirement income, my rights aren't worth the paper they're written on; I also think that the relationship between society, mother, and fetus is too complicated to be defined by simple prohibition of abortion. I bravely stand up for these positions.

However, I also have an understanding of the beliefs of left and right, and not a little sympathy for them. I also think that name-calling is a piss-poor persuasive technique.

M. Simon said...

It is all about Socialism Neil.

Using the government to get what is otherwise unavailable from free exchange.

Statism or the nanny state are other names.

As to calling folks names? I'd suggest you have a word with Sam Addams - but he is dead.



In fact I have given up a LOT of wealth to avoid government intrusions.

So maybe you would trade liberty for wealth. I'm not your kind.

Fortunately you can feel at home in America. Your kind predominates. May your chains sit lightly on you. Because that is the only way it can end up. There are already enough laws. Now all they have to do is start enforcing them.

Neil said...


That's unpersuasive. I'll ask you the same thing I ask of pacifists:

If a thief breaks into your house while you're gone and takes your stuff, would you call the police? If the answer is yes, then you are using the state to do violence on your behalf. We are simply discussing precisely when such uses are appropriate. In other words, when, precisely, the "equal rights" of a citizen are stepped on. Or at least that's the way most people are going to see it.

Oh, and Sam Adams was merely a tool--a rabble rouser to motivate the mobs. The powers that be dropped him like a hot rock once the real "revolution" got going.

M. Simon said...


You are mistaking me for an anarchist. I believe in limited government - not no government. When government is performing its proper function I have no problem availing myself of it.

On the other hand if it exceeds its function I will do my best to avoid or oppose it. As any good citizen of the Republic should.

Anonymous said...

M. Simon: Amen, brother! Our government has neutered us.

Here's a novel idea that will never happen: How about government sticking to it's constitutional role and butting out of everything else?

Consider this quote by George Washington:

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

Our servant has burned the house down...