Freedom or Regimentation

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This review
originally appeared on Amazon.com.

Written
in the libertarian tradition of Hayek’s The
Road to Serfdom
and Ringer’s Restoring
the American Dream
, Louis E. Carabini’s Inclined
to Liberty
is a concise and discerning examination, both
politically and economically, of what it means to prefer freedom
to central dictate. The work was inspired by a 2004 dinner party
in Carabini’s home during which an academic discussion ensued among
the guests involving such political clichés as, "No
one should be allowed to inherit wealth," and "The salaries
of company executives are too high." The implication, of course,
was that the state should intervene to balance the scales of "social
justice." But upon close scrutiny, what exactly does that entail
and what are the oftentimes-unforeseen consequences as regards the
human spirit? Bringing those ramifications clearly to light in an
entertaining and accessible style, while citing facts and historical
examples, is Carabini’s self-appointed mission.

He begins with
an analysis of the human proclivity toward "blame and resentment"
and how those emotions are politically manipulated. He asks the
questions, does societal inequality necessarily imply victims and
villains, and why do we tend to divide ourselves into "them-versus-us"
dichotomies? Carabini then warns of the pitfalls inherent in a strict
system of democracy and reintroduces the old concept of "the
tragedy of the commons." A consideration is offered as to how
wealth is not a static monopoly but rather begets more wealth for
all. A clarification is made as to what really constitutes money
and how money does not equate with "prosperity." Carabini
then berates the news media today for misleading us with skewed
reportage and deconstructs the phenomenon of so-called "earnings
gaps," explaining why any quest for "economic equality"
is not only futile but harmful to the whole of society. As clearly
demonstrated, redistribution of earnings and wealth quickly becomes
a bane to a healthy economy, and everyone suffers the worse for
it.

A good deal
of space is devoted to a careful exploration of the concepts of
jobs, labor, and the division of labor – and the consequences
and stifling effects of intrusive regulation, as well as a critique
of John
Rawls
‘s propositions regarding undeserved advantages in his
classic book A
Theory of Justice
. This discussion leads to a revelation
of the flawed reasoning of Karl Marx and his labor theory of value
(as opposed to the subjective theory of value) and how unwittingly
this philosophy underlies much of today’s tragic experiments in
social engineering. Carabini ends, however, on an upbeat assessment
of where humanity may be headed in the future with the ascendency
of technology undercutting the dominance of the nation-state and
seeing its influence and control gradually erode away. He concludes,
"Those who claim to be a better master of a life not theirs
forfeit a part of their own lives, along with a portion of the lives
of those who, wittingly or unwittingly, accept such claims as true,"
and "Liberty is a state of mind that does not require the indulgence
of others."

Read
the rest of the article

April
18, 2009

John Cochran
[send him mail] is dean of
the Business School at Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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