Author: Alen Alexander Klarić, Svetilnik
Date: September 9, 2013
The right to private property is a prerequisite for independence, self-sufficiency, self confidence and, rather coincidentally, good citizenship. Free markets and a political system based on classical liberal ideas are an essential framework to encourage these qualities in individuals. If man is left to create what he can, and he is allowed to keep the product of his efforts itself, he will be inclined to make greater use of his knowledge. The market will accept or reject his product according to the needs and desires of other people. The forces which guide the market are simply mappings of the desires, needs and abilities of all men and women, and these forces establish the space within the economy in which the manufacturer can act.
But just how far can this system go, when almost every movement of product sales is attacked by a burdensome charge, which we call taxes? Its basic premise being that a part of funds deriving from the efforts and intelligence of the individuals, who offered their knowledge to the market, will be kidnapped by the state and then forwarded to someone who has brought nothing to the table. The legality of such an act in modern democracies is arranged with fiscal laws; its legitimacy however is not, and cannot be. In order for this to be so, taxes wouldn’t be taxes, but voluntary contributions by free citizens for something they find of value. Somewhere in between lays the trap, where morality is not translated from legitimate to legal.
I'm talking about morality based on absolute reality and the way a rational man directs his conduct according to his logical conclusions. The principles of such “rational” morality cannot be transformed as a result of authority’s need for self-approval, and the exploitation of power. They cannot and must not be altered in favour of mystical, religious rules, commandments and traditions. Perhaps the worst of all is sacrificing rationality due to the fact that the hardest political decisions are those which are designed according to the principles of logic.
But the truth hurts most if you wish to avoid it. What then of the mass of questions and mistakes in life, society, politics? Where is the fault in the political systems and where the mistake in thinking? The error resides in collectivist ethics – I am society. I'm not society. I am I, or expressed with Aristotelian law of identity, A = A. The product of my work and the assets created, are my property.
However, that is not the case in most economic systems. Harnessing the manufacturer begins with the first tax and ends with the last state-favoured company, which would miserably collapse without government’s aid. The rights of producers must be primary in relation to the rights of the distributor if our economy is to be productive. No act of (re) allocating resources is possible before production has occurred. Most of today’s economic systems employ reversed logic. The primary concerns are those of the unemployed, unable or unprepared to produce and ultimately, and those who claim the ownership of the allocated means – the governments. What the latter need always has to be ensured through a rather highly regulated system of rights and obligations which always paralyse the producers, the independent companies. That is the disease of the welfare state. The blood is thus drained out of businesses and markets, yet the needs of their beneficiaries are not getting smaller. It eats its way through the bones of whatever has remained after their pillaging and creates an ever greater gap between income and expenditure. The abyss separating rationality and the just described process is the amount of public debt.
Work performance and productivity are thus no longer a virtue; value systems are collapsing in the structure where morality is a blurred concept. It seems like the moral and therefore successful ones are those chosen by the government. It may be noted in particular that the standard for social assistance from the state, in practice, does not distinguish between the responsible man in a difficult life situation and the parasite who has decided to live at the expense of others. Often enough it happens that citizens who are deemed appropriate for public funding are ‘burdened’ by an addiction (with alcohol, drugs etc.). What is advocated by such actions is based on a dangerous principle: we will take from those up to the challenge of living a responsible life (by that I mean responsibility to oneself not to society or any other supposed external value) and give to those who not only are not up to it, but do not even want to be and are not trying to be. The virtues of a citizen are therefore inaction, incompetency, parasitism and stagnation not productivity, self-sufficiency, freedom of decision-making and accountability. That is not a system of ethics which does justice to the integrity of a human being. A man forced to work without payment is a slave, a man whose rewards are involuntarily withdrawn is also. The amount of what has been withdrawn depends on the circumstance, it could be a little, it could be a lot, or it could even be all of it.
The fight against irrationality is a fight against those who have been allowed to trade nothing in exchange for the work of others. It is a fight against parasitism which is penetrating individuals, countries, states, the world.
The fight against irrationality is a battle for reason. The power of intelligence and independence of the individual, who does not require help without trading for it, does not sanction providing it to the undeserved and moreover, categorically refuses to employ the withdrawal of private property by force – inhumane law or act. This fight addresses the "impractical sentimentalism” practised by the giants of socialism and its irrational values, which unfortunately are not isolated. They feed on dormant brains of those who have wandered off to the cult of moral greyness (see Ayn Rand – The Virtue of Selfishness). Because today’s black may not be black, and today's white not white, while the middle transforms into the gap of cowardice where virtue means doing what you're told or what is traditionally accepted of the average and is not at all in the province of reason.
No matter how strong the relativistic movements, reality objectively does not vary as a consequence of what the ruling elites want it to become. Hence, socialism, communism, Nazism etc., based on sacrificing the individual for the good of society, collapsed in conflict with objective morality. Standardization of different articles, for example countries, necessarily means damage to the one who differs the most from the others. ‘Help’ towards meeting the common standard is thus nothing else but ‘helping’ it become something it does not wish to be or has not the capacity to become. The practical consequence of such a process is material dependence; the ethical implications are the collapse of personal integrity and mental slavery.
To safely escape from this quagmire, in which virtue is sacrificed due to fear of innovation, success is chosen on the grounds of nepotism and acquaintances, and ideals are forgotten in a race to the bottom among the average and makes up the subsequent deficit by stealing, it is necessary to clean the political and economic area of irrationality and power centres that hinder the development of the individual. Just as the most fundamental human right is the right to life, equal sanctity should be ascribed to its derivatives. That which is created by a free citizen should remain in his sole ownership until he decides to replace the fruits of his labour with something of value. This simple concept is the fundamental law to be respected from the beginning to the end of the processes described in this article. In reality the contrary occurs. The keys to the portal leading to the marketplace are often enough provided by the government and not by merit. It is essential to realize that each of us bears responsibility for himself and cannot hold others accountable for misinterpreting the laws of nature. Humankind is gradually abandoning the mysticism placing others above oneself, may it be gods, societies or rulers. It is on each of us to claim the right to exercise our will without restriction and coercion, as long as no harm is done to others. All that is essentially wanted from the governments is protection against intrusion of individual freedom, production and preservation i.e. protection of individuals from other individuals.
The article appeared at 4liberty.eu on March 5, 2014.