What follows is a recent correspondence between Maurice and one of the early lights in our lives about the philosophy of human freedom, Bob Anderson. He is a towering mind from a towering organization, The Foundation for Economic Education, a man who was lecturing to us about the encroachment of tyrannical socialism 35 years ago.
This is from a friend who once worked at “The Foundation for Economic Education” at Irvington on the Hudson in New York.
He was and is a brilliant speaker and writer and was on the team producing seminars during the 70’s and 80’s. He was described by his boss, Leonard Read. As “Doctor Doom”. He is not very encouraging, needless to say.
Mr. Anderson wrote:
Our political culture is beyond redemption, not just because the candidates are fascists, but because our citizenry has become dependent upon political plunder.
Legal plunder dominates our economic order today as people seek more for less through the path of favored political edicts. We have become a nation dominated by political beneficiaries being momentarily sustained by an ever-shrinking number of political victims. We’ve arrived at Bastiat’s observed fallacy that everyone can live off of everyone else through the political process. We’re beginning to learn that just ain’t so!
The concept of absolute private property has vanished into a meaningless legal concept with no economic freedom of choice over its use. Economic ownership (control ownership) has been captured by the state. While some semblance of legal ownership still exists, the economic ownership of that property has been seized by the grip of government edicts. The notion of absolute control over how one’s property may be used is totally lost. You know this as well as I do. We’ve surpassed “critical mass” on the road to serfdom which will only be reversed by the inexorable force of economic law. By that I mean the causes of our economic decline (an anti-capitalist mentality) have been firmly established with only the devastating effects from this irrational madness yet to be realized.
There is no political solution to our present mess. After all, politics is the problem. It’s delusional to believe that the problem of our social order’s demise can resolve itself by changing the politicians, be it Herman Cain or Ron Paul. The origin of our fundamental problem is in man’s nature of wanting more for less, and using mankind’s oldest means to acquire more for less….theft. The only difference now is we steal by voting and political edicts rather than with a club. The internal flaw of political democracy has finally broken our social order beyond repair. The only hope for the future is to get today’s mess over as quickly as possible. And the only way that can happen is for the citizens to feel the horrible pain of their self-inflicted madness and acquire the knowledge to find the proper way of improving their lives rather than through the false illusion of plunder. There is a better way and that is through a market structured, private property order built on the social division of labor. But, as you know, all three of these components are today undermined by a plundering government trying to sustain itself by promising everything to everybody. If you believe changing a few politicians can reverse this madness when the citizens are clamoring for more plunder, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn waiting for you to buy! Our ethical problem is the folks surrounding us who have no concern over plundering their neighbors in order to get more for themselves through political largess. Obama knows this and responds to it. He will likely win in 2012 because, quite honestly, there are more plunderers around us today than freedom loving individuals seeking to keep the peace. So, what’s my advice to Cain? Go home and sell pizza. Have I cheered you up? I’m off in the morning to eat turkey with our daughters in Colorado while we still have enough liberty remaining to travel freely.
P.S. I’ll be 76 later this week and optimistic enough to believe I’ll be able to escape the worst of what’s coming. To paraphrase Mises the only sure way out when society is sweeping towards destruction is to die!