About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We've Lost Our Way

There is a scene in the movie "The Good Earth" in which townspeople, ravished by famine, break into the home of one of their own, a peasant with a reputation for prudence, hard work and frugality. They suspect their friend of hoarding food. Amid righteous demands that their friend share his "good fortune," they tear the cover off the pot on the stove and discover it contains nothing but simmering water and earth.

Those of us with grey hair remember an America quite different than it is today. Neighbors respected each others privacy and their private property. They kept to themselves but were, nevertheless, friendly and quick to lend a helping hand if warranted. They were God-fearing people who understood the difference between right and wrong. They taught their children self-reliance, self-discipline, enterprise, tolerance and the Golden Rule. They insisted their schools do the same.

They failed.

Today even adults are brats, spoiled by a lifetime of coddling, privilege and a righteous sense of entitlement. Schools don't teach civics and godliness anymore. They teach reverence for the self and for what the collective can provide the self. In the old days of America what citizens demanded and fought for was simple opportunity. Now the brats demand their natural-born right to everything from health care to transportation to food -- free of charge -- and they are willing to bash in the skulls of others who have the wherewithal to provide it.

In the old days shame was real. It was what you were made to feel when you let your parents down, or slacked off, or accepted help without the solemn intent to return the favor in kind. Today, no one feels shame because no behavior -- no matter how undignified or raunchy -- is considered shameful.

I got an email today from some brat named Stephanie Cutter. Apparently, she's the Deputy Campaign Manager for something called Obama for America. Stephanie emphatically reminded me that having to pay for something yourself -- in this case, birth control pills -- amounts to a "dangerous overreach" and someone else "having the power to decide what's best for you."

In Stephanie's new America getting what you need free of charge from someone else is a human right. No American today should find this philosophy shocking or disagreeable. For years we've dutifully allowed our taxes to support free-of-charge public schools where "progressive" educators fill our children's heads with such tripe. That these children graduate spouting the values of Karl Marx rather than Ben Franklin should not be surprising.

When times are good, when the harvest is lush and plentiful, these newfangled ideas are mere laughable curiosities. No one could possibly take seriously the idea that charity can be righteously coerced by a government bureaucrat, or that the demands of a hungry and needy majority can trump an individual's right to his own private property, or that having to pay for something yourself can be construed as tyranny.

However, when times turn bad, when famine hits, normally reasonable individuals lose their heads. They band together with their neighbors to form a mob. The come to your house knocking, shouting, demanding. Then, the sudden fearful realization hits you that these people are not only serious but they are also willing to kill you and your family to get what they want.

Don't worry. It is but a fleeting fear. For soon these brats will discover the laugh's on them. Why? Unbeknownst to them, their coddling victims have embraced their brat philosophy. As a result, the cupboards are empty. There is nothing left to steal but a simmering pot of water and good earth.

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