|“|| And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel... And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king...
- -1 Samuel 8
|“||[The Peloponnesians] devote a very small fraction of the time to the consideration of any public object, most of it to the prosecution of their own objects. Meanwhile each fancies that no harm will come of his neglect, that it is the business of somebody else to look after this or that for him; and so, by the same notion being entertained by all separately, the common cause imperceptibly decays.||”|
- -Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (ca. 460 B.C.-ca. 395 BC; tr. Richard Crawley, London: J. M. Dent & Sons; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1910; reprint: Forgotten Books, 1954), p. 70
|“|| [S]hould the citizens of the perfect state have their possessions in common or not? ... [M]ay there not be an advantage in having and using possessions in common?
...If [husbandmen] do not share equally enjoyments and toils, those who labor much and get little will necessarily complain of those who labor little and receive or consume much. But indeed there is always a difficulty in men living together and having all human relations in common, but especially in their having common property.... [W]hen everyone has a distinct interest, men will not complain of one another, and they will make more progress, because every one will be attending to his own business.... [H]ow immeasurably greater is the pleasure, when a man feels a thing to be his own; for surely the love of self is a feeling implanted by nature and not given in vain.... And further, there is the greatest pleasure in doing a kindness or service to friends or guests or companions, which can only be rendered when a man has private property..... No one, when men have all things in common, will any longer set an example of liberality or do any liberal action; for liberality consists in the use which is made of property. Such legislation may have a specious appearance of benevolence; men readily listen to it, and are easily induced to believe that in some wonderful manner everybody will become everybody's friend, especially when some one is heard denouncing the evils now existing in states, suits about contracts, convictions for perjury, flatteries of rich men and the like, which are said to arise out of the possession of private property. These evils, however, are due to a very different cause -- the wickedness of human nature. Indeed, we see that there is much more quarrelling among those who have all things in common....
|“||[E]ven if one prescribed a moderate property for all, it would be of no avail, since it is more needful to level men's desires than their properties.||”|
- -Aristotle, Politics (ca. 335-323 BC; tr. H. Rackham; London: William Heinemann LTD.; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1932; 1959 ed.), p. 113
|“||[T]hat which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Every one thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself concerned as an individual. For besides other considerations, everybody is more inclined to neglect the duty which he expects another to fulfill; as in families many attendants are often less useful than a few. Each citizen will have a thousand sons who will not be his sons individually but anybody will be equally the son of anybody, and will therefore be neglected by all alike. Further, upon this principle, every one will use the word 'mine' of one who is prospering or the reverse, however small a fraction he may himself be of the whole number.||”|
|“||If the poor, for example, because they are more in number, divide among themselves the property of the rich—is not this unjust? No, by heaven (will be the reply), for the supreme authority justly willed it. But if this is not injustice, pray what is? Again, when in the first division all has been taken, and the majority divide anew the property of the minority, is it not evident, if this goes on, that they will ruin the state? Yet surely, virtue is not the ruin of those who possess her, nor is justice destructive of a state; and therefore this law of confiscation clearly cannot be just. If it were, all the acts of a tyrant must of necessity be just; for he only coerces other men by superior power, just as the multitude coerce the rich.||”|
|“||There is in fact a true law - namely, right reason - which is in accordance with nature, applies to all men, and is unchangeable and eternal. By its commands this law summons men to the performance of their duties; by its prohibitions it restrains them from doing wrong. Its commands and prohibitions always influence good men, but are without effect upon the bad. To invalidate this law by human legislation is never morally right, nor is it permissible ever to restrict its operation, and to annul it wholly is impossible. Neither the senate nor the people can absolve us from our obligation to obey this law, and it requires no Sextus Aelius to expound and interpret it. It will not lay down one rule at Rome and another at Athens, nor will it be one rule to-day and another tomorrow. But there will be one law, eternal and unchangeable, binding at all times upon all peoples; and there will be, as it were, one common master and ruler of men, namely God, who is the author of this law, its interpreter, and its sponsor.||”|
- -Cicero on the Universal Nature of True Law (ca. AD 52)
|“||Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.||”|
- -2 Corinthians 9:7
|“||[M]en cannot live conveniently where all things are common. How can there be any plenty where every man will excuse himself from labour? for as the hope of gain doth not excite him, so the confidence that he has in other men’s industry may make him slothful. If people come to be pinched with want, and yet cannot dispose of anything as their own, what can follow upon this but perpetual sedition and bloodshed....||”|
- -Thomas Moore, Utopia (1516; tr. Gilbert Burnet, 1684; ed. Henry Morely, Cassell & Co Ltd., 1909), pp. 64-65.
|“||When our people were fed out of the common store, and laboured jointly together, glad was he could slip from his labour, or slumber over his taske he cared not how, nay, the most honest among them would hardly take so much true paines in a weeke, as now for themselves they will doe in a day, neither cared they for the increase, presuming that howsoever the harvest prospered, the generall store must maintaine them, so that wee reaped not so much Corne from the labours of thirtie as now three or foure doe provide for themselves. To prevent which, Sir Thomas Dale hath allotted every man three Acres of cleare ground, in the nature of Farmes....||”|
- -John Smith, The generall historie of Virginia, New England & the Summer Isles, together with The true travels, adventures and observations, and A sea grammar - Volume 1 (1614), p. 222
- ...the 2. agents sent from Leyden.... presumed to conclude with the marchants on those termes....
- ...all profits and benifits that are gott by trade, traffick, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means of any person or persons, remaine still in the commone stock untill the division....
- That all such persons as are of this collonie, are to have their meate, drink, apparell, and all provissions out of the common stock and goods of the said collonie....
- ...that which was most sadd & lamentable was, that in 2. or 3. moneths time halfe of their company dyed....
- ...famine began now to pinch them sore....
- Now ye welcome time of harvest approached, in which all had their hungry bellies filled. But it arose to a little, in comparison of a full years supply.... So as it well appeared that ye famine must still insue ye next year allso....
- So they begane to thinke how they might raise as much corne as they could, and obtaine a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in miserie. At length, after much debate of things, the Govr (with ye advise of ye cheefest amongest them) gave way that they should set corne every man for his owne perticuler, and in that regard trust to them selves....
- And so assigned to every family a parcell of land.... This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was planted then other waise would have bene by any means ye Govr or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente. The women now wente willingly into ye feild, and tooke their litle-ons with them to set corne, which before would aledg weaknes, and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene thought great tiranie and oppression.
- The experience that was had in this commone course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos and other ancients, applauded by some of later times; -that ye taking away of propertie, and bringing in communitie into a comone wealth, would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser then God. For this comunitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much imployment that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For ye yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and servise did repine that they should spend their time and streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompence. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in devission of victails and cloaths, then he that was weake and not able to doe a quarter ye other could; this was thought injuestice.... and so, if it did not cut of those relations that God hath set amongest men, yet it did at least much diminish and take of ye mutuall respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have bene worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none objecte this is mens corruption, and nothing to ye course it selfe. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdome saw another course fiter for them....
- By this time harvest was come, and in stead of famine, now God gave them plentie, and ye face of things was changed, to ye rejoysing of ye harts of many, for which they blessed God. And ye effect of their particuler planting was well seene, for all had, one way and other, pretty well to bring ye year aboute, and some of ye abler sorte and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others, so as any generall wante or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.
- -William Bradford (Charles Deane,ed.), History of Plymouth plantation (ca. 1620-23; published by Little, Brown & Co., 1856), pp. 45-46, 91, 126, 134-136, 147
|“||[T]o every individual in nature is given an individual propriety by nature, not to be invaded or usurped by any... for every one... hath a self propriety... and on this no second may presume without consent; and by natural birth all men are equal, and alike born to like propriety and freedom.||”|
- -Richard Overton, An Arrow Against All Tyrants (London 1646), pp. 3-4
|“||[T]his Conceit of Levelling of Propriety... is so ridiculous and foolish an opinion, as no man of braines, reason or ingenuitie can be imagined such a sot as to maintaine such a principle, because it would, if practiced destroy not only any industry in the world, but raze the very foundation of generation, and of subsistence or being of one man by another. For as for industry and valour by which the societies of mankind are maintained and preserved, who will take the pains for that which when he hath gotten is not his own, but must be equally shared in, by every lazy, simple, dronish sot? Or who will fight for that, wherein he hath no other interest, but such as must be subject to the will and pleasure of another, yea of every coward and base low spirited fellow, that in his sitting still must share in common with a valiant man in all his brave and noble achievement? The ancient encouragement to men that were to defend their Countrie was this: that they were to hazard their persons for that which was their owne, to wit, their owne wives, their owne children, their owne Estates.||”|
- -John Lilburn, Apologetical Narration (Amsterdam, 1652), pp. 68-69
|“|| Thir Orators thou then extoll'st, as those
The top of Eloquence, Statists indeed,
- -John Milton, Paradise Regain'd (1671 ed.)
|“||[T]here is a natural law, and it does not consist either in doing harm to others, or in rejoicing thereat.||”|
- -Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary (1764)
|“|| Away, then, with quacks and organizers! Away with their rings, chains, hooks, and pincers! Away with their artificial systems! Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations!
And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
- -Frederic Bastiat (tr. Dean Russell), The Law (1853)
|“|| We call capitalism or market economy that form of social cooperation which is based on private ownership of the means of production.
Socialism, communism, or planned economy, on the other hand, is the form of social cooperation which is based on public ownership of the means of production. The terms state capitalism and authoritarian economy have essentially the same meaning.
It is frequently asserted that a third form of social cooperation is feasible as a permanent form of economic organization, namely a system of private ownership of the means of production in which the government intervenes, by orders and prohibitions, in the exercise of ownership. This third system is called interventionism. All governments which do not openly profess socialism tend to be interventionist nowadays, and all political parties recommend at least some degree of interventionism. It is claimed that this system of interventionism is as far from socialism as it is from capitalism, that as a third solution to the social problem it stands midway between the two systems, and that while retaining the advantages of both it avoids the disadvantages inherent in both. ...
Interventionism is not an economic system, that is, it is not a method which enables people to achieve their aims. It is merely a system of procedures which disturb and eventually destroy the market economy. It hampers production and impairs satisfaction of needs. It does not make people richer; it makes people poorer.
Concededly, the interventionist measures may give certain individuals or certain groups of individuals advantages at the expense of others. Minorities may obtain privileges which enrich them at the expense of their fellow citizens. But the majority, or the whole nation, stands only to lose by interventionism. ...
Not only do they divert production from the ways which lead to the best and most efficient satisfaction of the consumers’ demand; they cause waste of both capital and labor; they create permanent mass unemployment. They may bring about the artificial boom, but with it they bring in its wake a depression. They change the market economy into chaos.
Popular opinion ascribes all these evils to the capitalistic system. As a remedy for the undesirable effects of interventionism they ask for still more interventionism. They blame capitalism for the effects of the actions of governments which pursue an anti-capitalistic policy.
- -Ludwig Von Mises (Bettina Bien Greaves, ed.), Interventionism: an economic analysis (Foundation for Economic Analysis, 1940), pp. 1, 77-78.
- The orthodox Marxists, however, recommend interventionism in full recognition of the fact that it paralyzes and destroys the capitalistic market economy and, thus, in their opinion, leads to socialism. This was the argument advanced as long as a century ago by Friedrich Engels.
|“||Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.||”|
- ―C.S. Lewis, "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment," God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1948), p. 324.
|“||To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he's doing is good... Ideology - that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination... That was how the agents of the Inquisition fortified their wills: by invoking Christianity; the conquerors of foreign lands, by extolling the grandeur of their Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis, by race; and the Jacobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations. Thanks to ideology, the twentieth century was fated to experience evildoing on a scale calculated in the millions.||”|
- -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (tr. Thomas P. Whitney), The Gulag Archipelago (Éditions du Seuil, 1973), p. 173.
|“||One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results. We all know a famous road that is paved with good intentions. The people who go around talking about their soft heart . . . I admire them for the softness of their heart, but unfortunately it very often extends to their head as well. Because the fact is that the programs that are labeled as being for the poor, for the needy, almost always have effects exactly the opposite of those which their well-intentioned sponsors intend them to have. . . .||”|
- -From an interview in December 1975 with economist Milton Friedman on PBS’s “The Open Mind”
|“|| The horrors did not arise from perversions of radical ideology but from the ideology itself. We were led into complicity with mass murder and the desecration of our professed ideals not by Stalinist or other corruptions of high ideals, much less by unfortunate twists in some presumably objective course of historical development, but by a deep flaw in our very understanding of human nature—its frailty and its possibilities—and by our inability to replace the moral and ethical baseline long provided by the religion we have dismissed with indifference, not to say contempt.
The question of moral responsibility has been raised within the left, if gingerly and indirectly, by a few brave souls like Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Cornel West, who have drawn attention to the price we have paid for scouting Christian ethics while having nothing to substitute and who have, in effect, called for an end to the blind hatreds that confuse the sin with the sinner. Unger and West are justly revered figures on the left and accorded at least formal respect. Yet their efforts toward a reassessment of the religious foundations of political ethics have not sparked the slightest discussion. It is fair to ask: what kind of respect is that? Are we supposed to believe that Unger and West have been kidding?
Our whole project of "human liberation" has rested on a series of gigantic illusions. The catastrophic consequences of our failure during this century—not merely the body count but the monotonous recurrence of despotism and wanton cruelty—cannot be dismissed as aberrations. Slimmed down to a technologically appropriate scale, they have followed in the wake of victories by radical egalitarian movements throughout history. We have yet to answer our right-wing critics' claims, which are regrettably well documented, that throughout history, from ancient times to the peasant wars of the sixteenth century to the Reign of Terror and beyond, social movements that have espoused radical egalitarianism and participatory democracy have begun with mass murder and ended in despotism.
Let us grant, arguendo, that the ruling classes have done worse. Whatever solace that thought may give us, our own problem remains: what kind of society could we build on a worldview marred by flagrant irrationalities paraded as self-evident truths, even if reinforced by sandbox cries of "You're another"?
The allegedly high ideals we placed at the center of our ideology and politics are precisely what need to be reexamined, but they can no longer even be made a subject for discussion in the mass media and our universities, to say nothing of the left itself. They are givens: an unattainable equality of condition; a radical democracy that has always ended in the tyranny it is supposed to overcome; a celebration of human goodness or malleability, accompanied by the daily announcement of newly discovered "inalienable rights" to personal self-expression; destruction of all hierarchy and elites, as if ideological repudiation has ever prevented or ever could prevent the formation and reformation of hierarchies and elites; condemnation of "illegitimate" authority in the absence of any notion of what might constitute legitimate authority; and, at the root of all, a thorough secularization of society, bolstered by the monstrous lie that the constitutional separation of church and state was meant to separate religion from society. And we have yet to reassess the anti-Americanism—the self-hatred implicit in the attitude we have generally affected toward our country—that has led us into countless stupidities and worse.
- -Eugene D. Genovese, "The Question," Dissent [summer 1994], pp. 371-6, at 375
|“||When I was editor of The Journal of Law and Economics, we published a whole series of studies of regulation and its effects. Almost all the studies--perhaps all the studies--suggested that the results of regulation had been bad, that the prices were higher, that the product was worse adapted to the needs of consumers, than it otherwise would have been. I was not willing to accept the view that all regulation was bound to produce these results. Therefore, what was my explanation for the results we had? I argued that the most probable explanation was that the government now operates on such a massive scale that it had reached the stage of what economists call negative marginal returns. Anything additional it does, it messes up. But that doesn't mean that if we reduce the size of government considerably, we wouldn't find then that there were some activities it did well. Until we reduce the size of government, we won't know what they are. ... I can't remember one that's good. Regulation of transport, regulation of agriculture-- agriculture is a, zoning is z. You know, you go from a to z, they are all bad. There were so many studies, and the result was quite universal: The effects were bad.||”|
- -Ronald Coase, quoted in Thomas W. Hazlitt, "Looking for Results," Reason, January 1997