Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Let them destroy each other
The enemies of freedom and I don’t mean the ones in American propaganda. It was the sensible answer of men like John Flynn to World War II fever and of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard to militant and militarist anti-Communists (the fake conservatives who’ve stolen the name). And so it is today in the spirit of ‘Go, gridlock!’ So what if Ron Paul will never be president?

So it will go in Iraq no matter who wins, even McCain: economic necessity and self-interest eventually will bring the occupying soldiers home and the Shi’ites will win like North Vietnam did.
In the United States today the enemies of liberty have both the big battalions and the big bucks.

Yet, as we are reminded from time to time, other, even worse tyrannies have fallen.

Great advances of freedom have usually occurred not so much because a hardy band of freedom lovers grew more and more powerful until they ultimately controlled the situation, but because the tyrannies they were resisting destroyed themselves. People did not have to defeat their tyrannical rulers; the rulers changed their minds about the desirability of perpetuating their tyrannical rule and loosened the reins on the people because they were willing to countenance a freer society and economy in the service of their own personal interests.

Thus, the Russian and Chinese Communist rulers were not defeated; they simply switched sides, as it were, declared themselves to be capitalists, and, by hook or by crook, assumed personal control of the socialized assets they had previously administered in their capacities as state planning functionaries.

It is more than a coincidence that the way in which freedom tends to be restored―for the most part as a by-product of actions by people seeking only their own narrow goals, as opposed to a freer societal end-state―parallels the way in which freedom gained a foothold in the first place. This centuries-long process occurred in Europe from the eleventh century onward as merchants, seeking a more secure environment for the conduct of their business, essentially bought off the predatory robber barons (the real ones!) who preyed on traders as a source of revenue. In this deal, the lords got money tribute, rather than the customary feudal dues in services and locally produced goods, and they could then purchase the luxury goods, such as spices and fine textiles, that the merchants were making ever more available in Europe, owing to the revival of long-distance trade. In exchange for their periodic payment of money taxes, the merchants received assurances that the lords would respect their private property rights and the “liberties” of their commercial towns and cities (“
Stadtluft macht frei”). The merchants, who were much more the pioneers of liberty than the philosophers, were not seeking to build a free society as such; they were simply seeking to diminish a costly hazard to their business dealings. Yet, in the end, they did indeed build that glorious social edifice we know as bourgeois civilization, complete with its private property rights, its tolerance of strangers, and its cultivation of virtues such as prudence, promise-keeping, thrift, and self-responsibility.
The invisible hand does its magic.

From LRC.

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