Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Quotes On Socialism

“The effect of Socialist doctrine on Capitalist society is to produce a third thing different from either of its two begetters- to wit, the Servile State” -Hilaire Belloc, The Servile State1913: 3d ed., 1927

I wanted to discuss another little passage from Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom today.

“We have progressively abandoned that freedom in economic affairs without which personal and political freedom has never existed in the past. Although we had been warned by some of the greatest political thinkers of the nineteenth century, by De Tocqueville and Lord Acton that socialism means slavery, we have steadily moved in the direction of socialism. And now that we have seen a new form of slavery arise before our eyes [referring to Nazi Germany], we have so completely forgotten the warning that it scarcely occurs to us that the two things may be connected.

“How sharp a break not only with the recent past but with the whole evolution of Western civilization the modern trend toward socialism means becomes clear if we consider it not merely against the background of the nineteenth century but in a longer historical perspective. We are rapidly abandoning not the views merely of Cobden and Bright, of Adam Smith and Hume, or even of Locke and Milton, but one of the salient characteristics of Western civilization as it has grown from the foundations laid by Christianity and the Greeks and Romans. Not merely nineteenth and eighteenth century liberalism*, but the basic individualism inherited by us from Erasmus and Montaigne, from Cicero and Tacitus, Pericles and Thucydides, is progressively relinquished……

…….. During the whole of this modern period of European history the general direction of social development was one of freeing the individual from the ties which had bound him to the customary or prescribed ways in the pursuit of his ordinary activities. The conscious realization that the spontaneous and uncontrolled efforts of individuals were capable of producing a complex order of economic activities could come only after this development had made some progress. The subsequent elaboration of a consistent argument in favor of economic freedom was the outcome of a free growth of economic activity which had been the undesigned and unforeseen by-product of political freedom.” (Italics are mine.)

- F.A. Hayek, The road to Serfdom, pg.16-19

* Remember at this time the word liberal referred to those in favor of a free market individualism.

Are we ready to give up such a heritage? Are we ready to trust the political impulses of Barack Obama and his cronies over the great thinkers of the ages and the benefits of the free market that we can see with our own eyes? Are we ready to give up the freedom we have for a system that has FAILED every time it has been tried?

I would also like to call attention to the last sentence that I italicized. It is easy for our opponents to claim that our capitalist tendencies come from greed and nothing more. I do find it frustrating that our way of living has become called capitalism, when that is merely an outgrowth, and a way of describing the system of market a free society is able to produce under a laissez faire government. But the free society is the point, and offers many opportunities for pursuing life, liberty, and happiness beyond just the pursuit of capital.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Read the Bill before you Sign it!

Before becoming president, Obama said he would post bills for five days before signing them so that Americans would know their content. Read Jim Harper's comments on Obama's Failure to do so here.
I think jeers should go to Congress as well. It's bad enough when they don't read the bills before they sign them, but then they hire a speed reader to make fun of the fact that people want them read! Extremely bad form. This is our future you are messing with.
If I were a congresswoman I would read every bill before I voted on it. Who cares where your degree is from or your level of experience if you don't read the darn bill. If they were trying to pass a bill without allowing enough time to read it, I know that happens.... I would hire enough readers to break the thing down into a sensible outline and get the info I needed so I could read all the important passages. But they should just give them enough time.
My two other 'campaign promises' are: I would strive to take over the ranking of 'Most Conservative Congressman'
And I would continue to cut my own hair.

Family Politics

PICT0028Political debates at family gatherings? yes or no

PICT0029 When you come from a large family there will usually be quite a spectrum of political belief and political involvement. My Dad has always loved a good debate. As a child I remember sitting in the hot van ready to get my scratchy dress off after church, while he was standing out in the parking lot waving his arms in a heated debate over some scripture passage. Not exactly how a Sunday lesson is meant to be, I know, but lets just say strong emotions run deep in our family when it comes to our beliefs.

I’m pretty sure among my siblings we have supporters of Obama and Ron Paul, liberals and conservatives, activists, and people who would rather live ‘off the grid’ and let it all go by.

So what happens when you get together and a family gathering turns into a heated political debate? Are there topics you just avoid or do you just let the opinions fly? We’ve had some hurt feelings before, and I personally believe that the more heated an argument gets the stupider people become. It’s the adrenaline I think.

If I were hosting a dinner party with friends I would steer the conversation clear of divisive topics, but do you do that with your own family or just revel in your differences?

Alternately, we like to get together with people who are pretty much on our side of the fence, where we can discuss political happenings at ease. But you can’t do that with family. You can’t (or at least I can’t) invite just the right wingers to a gathering.

The love I have for my family goes way beyond their political identity. But the debate always starts, and like they say, it’s all fun and games until someone looses an eye.

So how do you handle it?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alexis de Tocqueville On Democracy


“ Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” –Alexis de Tocqueville, 1848

---“Discours prononcé à l’assemlée constituante le 12 septembre 1848 sur la question du droit au travail,” Œuvres complètes d’Alexis de Tocqueville (1866) IX, 546

I haven’t read Alexis de Tocqeville since back in the school days, but I feel like I should get a hold of some to add to my summer reading list.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Planned Economy or Planned Destruction

I Saw this on Cato@Liberty and had to pass it along. It fits with our recent conversations. It is from the 1938 Chicago Tribune. If it is too small to read please follow this link. It's well worth it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Road to Serfdom

I have a borrowed copy of the 50th Anniversary Edition of "The Road to Serfdom" with an introduction by Milton Friedman. My husband was about to return this copy by the time I saw it floating around here so he may have to wait till I finish, I say may because I already plan to go out and get my own copy. I'll write a 'book report' when I'm done, but along the way I'm finding little gems I'd like to share.

The theme is Hayek's warning that going down the path of Socialism leaves a country susceptible to totalitarianism, dictatorships, fascism, etc. Published in 1944, with the rise of Nazi Germany as a backdrop, Hayek sets forth to explain how many of the socialist ideals the British and Americans are accepting could lead us down the same path.

Here is an interesting and timely quote from the 1956 preface:

" It is for this reason that I rather hope that the time may now be more favorable in America for a serious consideration of the true argument of the book than it was when it first appeared. I believe that what is important in it still has to render it's service, although I recognize that the hot socialism against which it was mainly directed-that organized movement toward a deliberate organization of economic life by the state as the chief owner of the means of production- is nearly dead in the Western world. The century of socialism in this sense probably came to an end around 1948. Many of it's illusions have been discarded by it's leaders, and elsewhere as well as in the United States, the very name has lost much of it's attraction.

[Oh how I wish that were true!-L.P.]

........If few people in the western world now want to remake society from the bottom according to some ideal bluepoint, a great many still believe in measures which, though not designed completely to remodel the economy, in their aggregate effect may well unintentionally produce this result. And, even more than at the time that I wrote this book, the advocacy of policies which in the long run cannot be reconciled with the preservation of a free society is no longer a party matter. The hodge podge of ill-assembled and often inconsistent ideals which under the name of Welfare State has largely replaces socialism as the goal of the reformers needs very careful sorting out if its results are not to be very similar to those of full fledged socialism. This is not to say that some of it's aims are not both practicable and laudable. But there are many ways in which we can work toward the same goal, and in the present state of opinion there is some danger that our impatience for quick results may lead us to choose instruments which, though perhaps more efficient for achieving the particular ends, are not compatible with the preservation of a free society. The increasing tendency to rely on administrative coercion and discrimination where a modification of the general rules of law might, perhaps more slowly, achieve the same object, and to resort to direct state controls or to the creation of monopolistic institutions where judicious use of financial inducements might evoke spontaneous efforts is still a powerful legacy of the socialist period which is likely to influence policy for a long time to come."

I will bring you more great quotes and information as I go through the book.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Stand Up!

It is difficult to stand up for what you believe in.
Surrounded by people who accept the commom line.
Challenged for your beliefs when you just want to enjoy
the baby shower
or shop in peace,
get through a days work,
or watch your childs performance.
To have a simple ready answer when your position was gleaned from years of reading, observing, and study.
Sometimes your passionate love of freedom can come as a shock to those who take it for granted.
Sometimes you want to run away but your love of freedom tells you to stand up.

This is the 20th Anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square.
Let's keep our freedom, that our future generations won't have to fight to get it back.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Obama and the Constitution

A number of years ago our Current President Obama made the following Statement:

“And the Warren court interpreted it generally in the same way — that the Constitution is a document of negative liberties, says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted.”- audio from 2001 Obama interview.

This is the man who has sworn (at least on the second try) to uphold our great document.

Our Constitution is all about limits. Inspired by God, it was created by men who had seen tyranny, injustice, and the impenetrable classes of British society at the time. It was created by men who thought seriously about the extent of reach the government should have on the lives of the citizens. The Constitution lays out the method by which our majority law would be accomplished, The Bill of Rights sets forth the personal rights that the majority, or the government, cannot encroach upon.

The beauty of the Constitution is found in it’s limits. The freedom of the people is ensured by it’s limits. Frankly, to have a leader who feels constrained by these limits worries me.

But then Maybe President Obama would prefer this reading……

Lynnae with Manifesto