Beware The Government Official Who Is Here To Help


There is nothing government can do to help.

Government, in it’s purest form is a concept rooted in “negative liberty“.  That is:

Negative liberty is defined as freedom from interference by other people…

That is, Liberty is best defined as that state found when living alone, on that “deserted island” where no man can take or demand.

On that island, a man is free and owns his liberty.

If, in the course of living, another should try to take from him his liberty, he is within “justice” to defend his self, his property and his life.

Government is nothing more than the collective acting as the individual in saying, you may not do this thing.

So be careful when the government comes to you offering you help.

A good example is the government’s attempt at providing for retirement.  The system whereby one pays into the system while young in exchange for payments out of the system when retired.

And the government runs the whole thing.  And, as predicted, the system will eventually run itself out of money.  And when it does, beware the hand that fed you:

…Hungary, where last month the government made the citizens an offer they could not refuse. They could either remit their individual retirement savings to the state, or lose the right to the basic state pension…

Because the government controls the pension system, they are able to control the citizen.  Hand over your PRIVATE retirement accounts or have your public pension stripped.  And the best part?  The citizen would still :

…have an obligation to pay contributions for it.

There is no limit to the good that a government can dream up to provide…Beware the government that comes knocking in the hopes of helping.

 

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6 comments
  1. Pino:

    Complete negative liberty is impossible unless people live in isolation. Otherwise, at some point, people interact. At those intersections, interference is almost inevitable. Social contract libertarians, such as Nozick, would view the best government as one that maximizes negative liberty. That is, they would argue for a minimal state but would not argue for no state at all.

  2. pino said:

    at some point, people interact. At those intersections, interference is almost inevitable.

    I suspect you are right. For example, many folks might find it more comfortable to walk from the beach into the restaurant; bare feet and swim trunks only. Clearly, the owner is going to prohibit that. I’m not sure where that falls, negative or positive, but it seems to me that it is negative.

    If you wanna do business here and trade money for food, you have to be dressed. This is my establishment and in order to trade, I expect a minimum standard when it comes to dress.

    As it pertains to the government, I wouldn’t think there would be any consideration until our brave swimmer tried to enter the establishment and conflict ensued.

    Only if the government itself mandated the dress code in the name of public safety would there be an issue.

    That is, they would argue for a minimal state but would not argue for no state at all.

    Correct. I think it’s true that in order to establish the infrastructure to ensure contracts and avoid fraud, some degree of liberty must be ceded.

  3. Nozick would go beyond this, but not far beyond it.

  4. I think there is a nexus between so-called progressive thought and libertarian thought. Recently in my blog I talked about the “great compromise,” which was an agreement between labor and industry that essentially bought labor peace with social welfare systems and worker protection. I argue that this compromise is in jeopardy, in part because the government role has expanded beyond the basic premise of the compromise. But the solution, I think, is decentralizing power. The massive bureaucratic state may be a thing of the past. I think that both progressives and libertarians could find mutual interest in shifting power away from a centralized bureaucracy towards more local control, perhaps even seeing the bureaucratic state becoming an obsolete political unit. (I see myself as a kind of left-libertarian, distrusting both big money and big government). Anyway, I had these views in two posts, the first here:
    http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/the-great-compromise/
    (The second post goes more into the idea of devolving power).

  5. AliRose said:

    A lot of the ideas in this post reminded me of The Law by Claude Frederick Bastiat. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s only 100 pages or so. It was written around 1850 (i.e., French Revolution) and is translated from French, but it’s very philosophical, so the concepts are still applicable in modern times.

  6. pino said:

    A lot of the ideas in this post reminded me of The Law by Claude Frederick Bastiat. If you haven’t read it, you should.

    Thanks AliRose. I have read “The Law:. In fact, I read it for the first time 6 weeks ago. Looking back, it seems that I always “felt” that but was never able to make it firm. Bastiat did that for me; a seminal moment to be sure.

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