From the Mailbag

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I’ve
recently received the following emails:

What
is your definition of a "Neo-conservative."

A
Democrat who has infiltrated the Republican Party.

I’ve
read your self-serving tripe. The only explanation for it is
that you must be an idiot, but at least one level above any
super idiot who would actually pay to hear you speak or waste
their time. God save America from you and your ilk.

I
have bad news and good news for you. The bad news is that I'm going
to continue writing the self-serving tripe. The good news is that
you don't have to read it.

In
"What
Government Is Doing for (to) You
" you wrote: "Helping
those who can’t help themselves" is a paraphrase of Karl
Marx’ famous dictum: From each according to his ability, to
each according to his need." That wasn’t Marx. It was Peter
Kropotkin, from Mutual
Aid
.

Bartlett's
15th edition says that the phrase probably came from either Louis
Blanc, who was a French socialist leader and historian, or someone
named Morrelly. Karl Marx popularized the expression in Critique
of the Gotha Program
in 1875.

While
Marx' paraphrase may be more famous, his dictum originated with
the early Christian church and shouldn't be disparaged without
qualification. "All the believers were together and had
everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they
gave to anyone as he had need." Acts 2: 44, 45. This dictum
is a perfectly acceptable, though inefficient, principle for
organizing a church or other organization so long as participation
is voluntary. It is only when married with coercion through
government or other aggression that it becomes an instrument
for harm.

While
our attention must be focused on coercive communism, I believe the
principle is harmful even in a voluntary organization. The best
example is that of the Massachusetts Pilgrims. As William Bradford
relates in
Of Plymouth Plantation
, they nearly starved to death from
three years of putting all their production in a common house, to
be distributed according to need. Only when they divided up the
real estate and let each family produce for itself did production
increase to the point that called for a Thanksgiving celebration.

A
Canadian pro-family activist says the majority of immigrants
to his country come from areas of the world that don’t believe
in Christian values – and that there is now a push by Muslim
immigrants to replace Canadian law with Islamic law. He goes
on to say that Canada has gotten to the point where every segment
of the population could have its own laws, which would create
a chaotic nation that would be in deep trouble.

The
problem isn't immigration. The problem is big government. If whoever
controls government can impose his way upon you, you have to fight
constantly to prevent the control from being harmful. With small,
limited government, it doesn't much matter who controls it, because
it can't do you much harm.

Regarding
"What
Government Is Doing for (to) You
," I believe that we
agree that protecting America and Americans from invasion is
a legal function of our federal government. Brown tree snakes,
from what I’ve read, are a very invasive species that has already
destroyed most birds and ground-dwelling small mammals on Guam.
Hawaii would be devastated if invaded by brown tree snakes.
Invasive species have already created havoc in many areas of
America.

I
too am concerned about ever-expanding pork projects. But I think
that we should be careful about condemning all government projects
– when some, even if by accident, serve a legal and needed purpose.

If
Hawaii has a problem with brown tree snakes, Hawaii should deal
with it. It makes no sense to force Floridians to pay for Hawaii's
problem – and then force Hawaiians to pay for hurricane damage in
Florida. Just because some cause serves a "needed purpose"
is no reason to make it a government project. In fact, the more
needed the cause, the more reason to keep it out of the hands of
government. Considering the unintended consequences that have arisen
from government's War on Drugs and its War on Poverty, we can assume
that a government War on Brown Tree Snakes will lead to having a
boa constrictor in everyone's bedroom.

You
said
, "And once people see that there’s nothing substantial
or valuable behind the curtain, the game will be up – and
we’ll have one generation in which to find a way to u2018bind them
now from mischief' permanently, in a more secure way than the
founders discovered in 1789."

As
much as we might want you to be correct, how can a country who
would vote in some incompetent scam master (who’s only claim
to fame is his willingness to keep the same sex from marrying)
ever develop the gray matter to understand that control equals
failure and corruption?

The
"country" voted in the incompetent scam master because
the only visible alternative was (in their eyes) an even more incompetent
scam master. No
third alternative had a chance
to present its case to America. 

We
are completely surrounded by control freaks who want to run
and control every aspect of our lives. What do we do about these
religious self-righteous u2018Hamilton' big government sheeple who
out-vote us at the poles?

We
have to help people understand how much they're losing to government
and how much they're being hurt by government. We must build a movement
big enough to sweep the "control freaks" out of government.
This will be a very difficult task, but it's not an impossible one.

I
am beginning to think countries, like people, have to hit rock
bottom first, and George W. might just be the megalomaniac to
take us there.

I'm
afraid that when countries hit rock bottom (as in the 1930s in America
or Germany), they turn to the worst kinds of demagogues (Roosevelt
and Hitler) to save themselves. I want to turn America around before
we hit rock bottom.

December
24, 2004

Harry Browne [send
him mail
], the author of Why
Government Doesn’t Work

and many other books, was the Libertarian presidential candidate
in 1996 and 2000. See his website.

Harry
Browne Archives

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