Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jobs are a symptom of liberty

One of the reasons why I read old published material is that I am constantly annoyed by what passes for news in modern life, and I keep finding answers in history. Take the constant prattling about jobs for example. If this was your average current events blog that constantly spent it's entire time refuting what the media reports, my head would explode.

There's certainly a need for that type of blogger, because such refutations need to be made line by line, false claim by false claim. But it's a never ending battle, and one that I have little interest in directly joining.

But with old texts, you will find the truth. The truth has a certain ring to it. In the great classic, Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations",(Book 3) you will find the following: page 159)

A person who can acquire no property, can have no other interest but to eat as much, and to labour as little as possible. Whatever work he does beyond what is sufficient to purchase his own maintenance can be squeezed out of him by violence only, and not by any interest of his own.

Smith makes it plain as day: A slave will not work as hard as a freeman will. He makes the point several times in different ways, but that is one of the most clear.

Alexis De Tocqueville makes the exact same observation: (Page 265)

As soon as a competition was set on foot between the free laborer and the slave, the inferiority of the latter became manifest, and slavery was attacked in its fundamental principle, which is the interest of the master.

And again: (Page 263)

The free workman is paid, but he does his work quicker than the slave, and rapidity of execution is one of the great elements of economy.

It's true that Tocqueville(Smith too) is making multiple points in both of these instances. For example, he talks about the effect of slave owning upon the master, as well as talking about the total cost of slave owning when the slave is an infant and the slave reaches old age. But the overriding point of the superiority of freemen can't be missed. (The effect that owning slaves has upon a "master" is deserving of it's own long discussion, but I won't take that up at this moment.)

How this relates to modern American life is simple: Progressivism is regulation, not socialism. That is, progressives have realized that they can use the "new formula" of control without ownership.(see # 17) Reagan explains it perfectly, in the form of a question:

What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the—or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? And such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.

Reagan is, of course, talking about the vast regulatory state. Or, as Hillsdale calls it, "Bureaucratic Despotism".

And with that, the whole picture is painted. The more that progressives regulate every aspect of your life, or tax every aspect of your life that they don't like so as to make you act differently based on tax consequences, there's a direct co-relation between your liberty and of course, the health of the economy as a whole.

At some point, the progressives will have regulated and taxed so much of your life that they control every aspect of it. And when you look at a human who has zero control over their own life, slave is the only word that applies. So much for a good economy.


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