Force Begets Force – Quote of the Day

One fact of today’s world that I see all around me is that government intervention, force, leads to more and more government intervention, more force. The government creates a program to protect the prices a farmer receives for his goods, forcing people to pay above market prices for the goods. This program has the effect of raising food prices which necessitates a program to help those who can no longer afford the more expensive food, forcing people to pay more in taxes so that money can be redistributed. One need only look around and see innumerable other examples.

In the collection of essays Writings from a Reluctant Anarchist, Auberon Herbert recognized this phenomenon over 100 years ago.

If freedom of life, freedom to use one’s faculties for the acquisition of property, and freedom of trade, are great moral truths, then each act of expropriation would lead us further and further into irretrievably wrong directions. We should pass from one period to another period of misdirected effort. Force would beget force; intolerance and suppression would beget children after their own image and temper; until at last the burden placed by men upon themselves would become too grievous to be borne. Do not accept any words of mine in this matter. Let every man steadily think out for himself what the conditions of life must at last become when giving way to the temptation of rearranging existing property by the power of the majority, we place ourselves on the side of force, take it as our guide, and make it the regulator of all those things that most nearly touch our existence. Let every man follow out for himself in his own mind the growth of the system of force, until at last such perfection of it is attained, that no limb of his own body, no part of his own mind, no object within his household can be said to be wholly and entirely within his own direction, wholly and entirely his own.

Today, our government operates in an environment of what Ayn Rand called pressure group warfare . In such a state, whatever group manages to have the ear of those in power control which way the force. One day it is the environmentalists who are calling the shots and you are unable to use your property because they have it declared a wetland. The next day it is the crony businessmen who are holding the reins of power and you find your property taken via eminent domain to build a new factory or pipeline.

Until we can get back to a government limited to protecting the rights, properly understood, of the individual, no one will ever truly be able to consider himself free.