Freedom Quote of the Week: 2003 Archives
Week of December 28, 2003
"The ultimate of taxation-for-social-purposes is absolutism, not only because the growing fiscal power carries an equal increase in political power, but because the investment of revenue in the individual by the State gives it a pecuniary interest in him. If the State supplies him with all his needs and keeps him in health and a degree of comfort, it must account him a valuable asset, a piece of capital. Any claim to individual rights is liquidated by society's cash investment. The State undertakes to protect society's investment, as to reimbursement and profit, by way of taxation. The motor power lodged in the individual must be put to the best use so that the yield will further social ends, as foreseen by the management. Thus, the fiscal scheme which begins with distribution is forced by the logic of events into control of production. And the concept of natural rights is inconsistent with the social obligation of the individual. He lives for the State which nurtured him. He belongs to the State by right of purchase."
— Frank Chodorov, "Taxation is Robbery," from Out of Step: The Autobiography of an Individualist, 1962.
Week of December 21, 2003
In honor of Christmas, December 25!
"For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force . . . it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have authority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice."
— St. John Chrysostom, Six Books on the Priesthood.
Week of December 14, 2003
"Do you ever hear of theories of knowledge as a 'social construct'? You know: the standard commie arguments that nobody can be anything on their own without a Big Mama to which everything one achieves must be owed?
"Well, the Wright brothers are first-rate examples of individual excellence to the contrary. The debt owed to the effort that they put into solving the problem of powered flight can never be repaid.
"What they did was one of the biggest things that any humans ever did. In an age when even a wing-nut like me looks forward to falling asleep in my airline seat as fast as possible, it can be very easy to overlook what they did. The Wright brothers are utterly unique in all of human history."
— Billy Beck, on the CAS list.
Week of December 7, 2003
In memory of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
"There is more of misery inflicted upon mankind by one year of war than by all the civil peculations and oppressions of a century. Yet it is a state into which the mass of mankind rush with the greatest avidity, hailing official murderers, in scarlet, gold and cocks' feathers, as the greatest and most glorious of human creatures. It is the business of every wise and good man to set himself against this passion for military glory, which really seems to be the most fruitful source of human misery."
— Sydney Smith (1771-1845).
Week of November 30, 2003
In commemoration of the birth of the great libertarian journalist and author Rose Wilder Lane, December 5, 1886.
"No one who dreams of the ideal social order, the economy planned to eliminate waste and injustice, considers how much energy, how much human life, is wasted in administering and in obeying the best of regulations. No one considers how rigid such regulations become, nor that they must become rigid and resist change because their underlying purpose is to preserve men from the risks of chance and change in flowing time. Americans have had in our country no experience of the discipline of a social order. We speak of a better social order when in fact we do not know what any social order is. We say that something is wrong with this system, when in fact we have no system. We use phrases learned from Europe, with no conception of the meaning of those phrases in actual living experience.
"In America we do not have even universal military training, that basis of a social order which teaches every male citizen his subservience to The State and subtracts some years from every young man's life, and has thereby weakened the military power of every nation that has adopted it."
— Rose Wilder Lane, Give Me Liberty, 1936.
Week of November 23, 2003
In commemoration of the birth of historian and economist Charles Austin Beard, November 27, 1874.
"You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence."
— Charles A. Beard.
Week of November 16, 2003
In observance of the death of Franz Josef, Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Bohemia, etc., November 21, 1916.
"The merit of Franz Joseph, then, was that he understood the importance of and was able to manage such a pluralistic organization [the Austro-Hungarian Empire]. While in other parts of Europe the idea was growing that the state must coincide with the nation (i.e., it should have one language, one religion, one culture), the Empire was a miraculous example of spontaneous pluralism (which is the contrary of multi-culturalism imposed by force). Since it couldn’t define itself in terms of language, race, religion, etc., it was able to maintain a regime of liberty until its fall in World War I."
— Carlo Lottieri and Carlo Stagnaro, "In Honor of Franz Joseph," August 18, 2003.
Week of November 9, 2003
"Collectivism implies egalitarianism. An ideal mass is homogenous and consists therefore of equal atoms. Egalitarianism as well as collectivism are thus incompatible with liberty. Force must not only be used for the leveling process in the initial stage — it becomes necessarily a permanent factor in order to maintain the unorganic 'symmetrical order.' This brutal force is necessary for any and every egalitarian effort. It is even more necessary in the case of a frantic identitarianism. The desire for more equality and identity becomes finally a mania and the use of more force a sadistic delight. Gynaecocracy and pedocracy, so familiar in ochlocratic cultures, become a part of the great program and even the animals rise to the level of human equality. From there it is only a short step to a terroristic pantheism bordering on madness."
— Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn ("Francis Stuart Campbell"), The Menace of the Herd; or, Procrustes at Large, 1943.
Week of November 2, 2003
"But to applaud that lost era of barn raisings and harvest homes, to insist that it takes a village, is to disparage loners. The tight weave of traditions that makes a comfortable hammock for some just as surely makes a noose that strangles others. Loosening the stranglehold and throwing away the noose is, for loners, the beginning of culture rather than the end of it. If the notion of the self is a product of human confidence and security, of free time and free choice, then it is nothing less than a product of civilization. Individualism is a reward, like the printed word and manicures, for millennia well-spent. By this logic, those who draw their sense of identity from within — from the self, as loners do — rather than from a group and its folkways, are basking in the glories of advanced civilization. By this logic, loners are also carrying civilization forward. And by this logic, group behavior is a bit retrograde, a bit primitive."
— Anneli Rufus, Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto, 2003.
Week of October 26, 2003
In observation of the birth of Evelyn Waugh, October 28, 1903.
"'It is typical of Oxford,' I said, 'to start the new year in autumn.'
"Everywhere, on cobble and gravel and lawn, the leaves were falling and in the college gardens the smoke of the bonfires joined the wet river mist, drifting across the grey walls; the flags were oily underfoot and as, one by one, the lamps were lit in the windows round the quad, the golden lights were diffuse and remote, like those of a foreign village seen from the slopes outside; new figures in new gowns wandered through the twilight under the arches and the familiar bells now spoke of a year's memories.
"The autumnal mood possessed us both as though the riotous exuberance of June had died with the gillyflowers, whose scent at my windows now yielded to the damp leaves, smouldering in a corner of the quad.
"It was the first Sunday evening of term.
"'I feel precisely one hundred years old,' said Sebastian."
— Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited, 1945, pp. 104-5.
Week of October 19, 2003
In commemoration of the birth of Benjamin Constant, writer and friend of liberty, October 25, 1767.
"The universality of citizens is the sovereign, in this sense that no individual, no fraction, no partial association can arrogate to themselves sovereignty if it has not been delegated to them. But it does not follow from this that the universality of citizens, or those vested by them with sovereignty, may dispose sovereignly of the existence of individuals. To the contrary, there is a part of human existence which, of necessity, stays individual and independent, and which is of right outside of all social purview. Sovereignty exists only in a limited and relative way. Where individual independence and existence begin, the jurisdiction of this sovereignty stops. If society steps over this line, it becomes as guilty as the despot who has no qualification other than his exterminating blade; society may not go beyond its purview without proving to be a usurper, the majority, without proving to be a faction. The consent of the majority by no means suffices in all cases to legitimate acts; there exist some things which cannot be sanctioned; when any sort of authority commits such acts, it matters little from which source it emanates and it matters little whether it is called an individual or nation; it could be the entire nation minus the citizen it oppresses, and it would not be more legitimate for it. ...
"The citizens possess individual rights independent of all social or political authority, and every authority which violates these rights becomes illegitimate. The rights of the citizens are individual liberty, religious liberty, liberty of opinion, in which is included its publicity, the enjoyment of property, guarantee against all that is arbitrary. No authority may infringe upon these rights without tearing up its own title."
— Benjamin Constant, On the Sovereignty of the People, 1815 (C.R. Bowman, trans.).
Week of October 12, 2003
In commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the election of Karol Cardinal Wojtyla as Pope John Paul II, October 16, 1978.
"You are priests, not social or political leaders. Let us not be under the illusion that we are serving the Gospel through an exaggerated interest in the wide field of temporal problems."
— Pope John Paul II
Week of October 5, 2003
In observation of the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Ludwig von Mises, October 10, 1973.
"The imperialistic way of thinking, which comes forward with the claim to be helping modern economic development to its rightful condition, is in truth gripped by barter-economy and feudal preconceptions. In the age of the world economy it is downright nonsensical to represent the demand for creation of large autarkic economic territories as an economic demand. In peacetime it is a matter of indifference whether one produces foodstuffs and raw materials at home oneself or, if it seems more economic, obtains them from abroad in exchange for other products that one has produced. When a medieval prince acquired a piece of land where ore was mined, then he had a right to call this mine his own. But if a modern state annexes a mining property, these mines still have not thereby become those of its citizens. They must buy their products by transferring products of their own labor just as they did before, and that changes have occurred in the political order remains without significance for ownership of them. If the prince is happy about the annexation of a new province, if he is proud about the size of his realm, that is immediately understandable. If, however, the common man is happy that 'our' realm has become larger, that 'we' have acquired a new province, well, that is a joy that does not arise from the satisfaction of economic needs."
— Ludwig von Mises, Nation, State, and Economy, 1919.
Week of September 28, 2003
In commemoration of the birth of Ludwig von Mises, September 29, 1881.
"The state is a human institution, not a superhuman being. He who says state means coercion and compulsion. He who says: There should be a law concerning this matter, means: The armed men of the government should force people to do what they do not want to do, or not to do what they like. He who says: This law should be better enforced, means: The police should force people to obey this law. He who says: the state is God, deifies arms and prisons. The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils which mankind ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments."
— Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government, 1944
Week of September 21, 2003
"The federal government, in guiding the economic destiny of the country, must be staffed largely with those who are unaware of how little they know, who have no qualms about their ability to plan and regulate the national economic growth, set wages, prescribe hours of work, write the price tags for everything, decide how much of what shall be produced, expand or contract the money supply arbitrarily, set interest rates and rents, subsidize with other peoples' earnings whatever activity strikes their fancy, lend billions not voluntarily entrusted to them, allocate the fruits of the labor of all to foreign governments of their choice — in short, decide what shall be taken from each Peter and how much of the 'take' shall be paid to each Paul."
— Leonard E. Read
Week of September 14, 2003
"The paradox of 'planning' is that it cannot plan, because of the absence of economic calculation. What is called a planned economy is no economy at all. It is just a system of groping about in the dark. There is no question of a rational choice of means for the best possible attainment of the ultimate ends sought. What is called conscious planning is precisely the elimination of conscious purposive action."
— Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, Part Five, section xxiv
Week of August 31, 200
In commemoration of Labor Day, September 1.
"Labor Day is a holiday established by people who hate human productivity, who hate the human mind. It is a day set aside on the calendar to celebrate and sanctify indolence — and violence."
— Greg Swann.
Week of August 24, 2003
In commemoration of the signing of "The Cambridge Agreement" by members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, declaring that they intended to be economically and governmentally self-sufficient in the New World, August 26, 1629.
"It is fully and faithfully AGREED amongst us, and every one of us doth hereby freely and sincerely promise and bind himself, in the word of a Christian, and in the presence of God, who is the searcher of all hearts, that we will so really endeavour the prosecution of this work, as by God's assistance, we will be ready in our persons, and with such of our several families as are to go with us, and such provision as we are able conveniently to furnish ourselves withal, to embark for the said Plantation by the first of March next, at such port or ports of this land as shall be agreed upon by the Company, to the end to pass the Seas (under God's protection) to inhabit and continue in New England."
— The Cambridge Agreement [excerpt], 1632.
Week of August 17, 2003
"Women are human beings, and consequently have all the natural rights that any human beings can have. They have just as good a right to make laws as men have, and no better; AND THAT IS JUST NO RIGHT AT ALL. No human being, nor any number of human beings, have any right to make laws, and compel other human beings to obey them. To say that they have is to say that they are the masters and owners of those of whom they require such obedience. ...
"If the women, instead of petitioning to be admitted to a participation in the power of making more laws, will but give notice to the present lawmakers that they (the women) are going up to the State House, and are going to throw all the existing statute books into the fire, they will do a very sensible thing — one of the most sensible things it is in their power to do. And they will have a crowd of men — at least all the sensible and honest men of the country to go with them."
— Lysander Spooner, "Against Woman Suffrage," Liberty, June 10, 1882; reprinted in Dissenting Electorate: Those Who Refuse to Vote and the Legitimacy of Their Opposition, Carl Watner and Wendy McElroy, eds., 2001, pp. 18, 21 (emphasis in original).
Week of August 10, 2003
In commemoration of the adoption of the constitution of Germany's so-called "Weimar Republic," August 11, 1919.
"[The 'Weimar Republic'] has characteristics similar to the Imperial Period, yet it is a slow and sly transition toward many national-socialist conceptions. The republican constitution of Weimar emphasized and legalized the already existing tendencies and trends of the nineteenth century; this constitution created a Reich even more 'progressive,' even more subservient to the postulates of the time. Thus the word Germany — Deutschland — already occurs repeatedly in that pale, soulless, democratic document which later became the frame for the legality of National Socialist Germany. This sad and silly document is, as a matter of fact, still in power [in the Nazi era], even if supplemented by many 'amendments.' Its compiler bore — nomen ist omen — the name Dr. Hugo Preuss."
— "Francis Stuart Campbell" (a pseudonym of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn), The Menace of the Herd, or: Procrustes at Large, 1943.
Week of August 3, 2003
"But did Nixon deserve to be brought down? And wasn't Nixon's third-rate burglary no worse than the dark deeds committed by his predecessors? Yes, and yes. What Nixon did was no worse than FDR before him, or of course, Slick Willie after him. The point is that they all, all, deserved to be Brought Down, and the sooner the better. The great thing about Watergate is that it made the unthinkable thinkable at long last, that it established the precedent for impeaching the Monster in the White House. And while they can bury Watergate, and they can rehabilitate the Tricky One's image all they want, they can install him in the Valhalla reserved for all ex-presidents, but they can't take away from us the lovely knowledge that he — and Agnew just before him — was Brought Down, and if it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone, even to whoever the current occupant may be. To throw one of the liberals' favorite words in their face, what I loved most about Watergate was the 'process' - the process of impeachment, of Bringing the Man Down."
Week of July 27, 2003
In commemoration of the birth of Alexis de Tocqueville, July 29, 1805.
"Equality is a slogan based on envy. It signifies in the heart of every republican, Nobody is going to occupy a higher place than I!"
— Alexis de Tocqueville.
Week of July 13, 2003
In commemoration of the storming of the Bastille, the start of the French Revolution and the French national holiday, July 14, 1789.
"And it all began with the French Revolution, with the dissected Princess de Lamballe and the cook's apprentice broiled alive in butter. Oh yes, believing Christians too have committed evil deeds, but they never claimed to have acted in the spirit of God's revealed word. They acted according to the aion and not according to the Gospels. Nobody in the Vatican would dream of celebrating an anniversary of the Inquisition (which put priests as an inquiring body in the service of the state), nor would anybody in Geneva commemorate the burning of Servetus at the stake. Herein we betrayed the Lord, and we hang our heads in shame. But the French guillotinists will as proudly continue to celebrate the sadistic and revolting revolution of 1789 as the gulagists do the murder of countless millions on November 7th every year."
— Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism Revisited.
Week of June 29, 2003
In honor of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
"Twentieth-century man believes in the state as firmly and implicitly as medieval man believed in the church — as an institution whose authority can't, finally, be questioned. I don't mean that people never complain about the government; obviously they complain about it all the time. But they very rarely challenge it in principle by asking where it gets its right to exist in the first place. More often than not, even their complaints are really demands that it do more than it is already doing."
— Joseph Sobran.
Week of June 22, 2003
In honor of the centenary of the birth of British writer Eric Blair, better known by his pseudonym "George Orwell," June 25, 1903.
"In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions and not a 'party line.' Orthodoxy, of whatever colour, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestos, White papers and the speeches of undersecretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases — bestial, atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder — one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker's spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved, as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favourable to political conformity."
— George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," 1945.
Week of June 15, 2003
In honor of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States of America, upon its ratification by the required ninth state [Connecticut], June 21, 1788.
"The 'original republic' — the one for which our 'forefathers' fought 'face to face, hand to hand' — exists only in the minds of academics and fundamentalist patriots. The republic created in 1789 is long gone. It died with 600,000 Americans killed in the Civil War. The new Constitution — the one that shapes and guides the national government and disturbs the new patriots to their core — begins to take hold in the Gettysburg Address, in which Lincoln skips over the original Constitution. ... This short speech functions as the Preamble to a new charter that crystallizes after the war in the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments."
— George P. Fletcher, The New Republic, 23 June 1997.
Week of June 8, 2003
In honor of the adoption of The Virginia Declaration of Rights, June 12, 1776.
That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. ...
That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.
— Excerpts from The Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776.
Week of June 1, 2003
In honor of the birth of John Randolph of Roanoke, June 2, 1773.
"I have said on a former occasion, and if I were Philip I would employ a man to say it every day, that the people of this country, if ever they lose their liberties, will do it by sacrificing some great principle of free government to temporary passion. There are certain great principles, which if they be not held inviolate at all seasons, our liberty is gone. If we give them up, it is perfectly immaterial whether he be King or President, elective or hereditary — it is perfectly immaterial what is his character — we shall be slaves — it is not an elective government which will preserve us."
— John Randolph of Roanoke, address in Congress, 1813.
Week of May 25, 2003
In honor of the adoption of The Virginia Resolves on the Stamp Act, proposed by Patrick Henry and adopted by the Virginia House of Burgesses the day after his 29th birthday, May 30, 1765.
"Resolved therefore, That the general assembly of the colony, together with his majesty or his substitute have in their representative capacity the only exclusive right and power to levy taxes and impositions on the inhabitants of this colony and that every attempt to vest such a power in any person or persons whatsoever other than the general assembly aforesaid is illegal, unconstitutional, and unjust, and ahs a manifest tendency to destroy British, as well as American freedom."
— Excerpt from The Virginia Resolves on the Stamp Act.
Week of May 18, 2003
In honor of the alleged* adoption of the Mecklenburg Declaration, May 20, 1775.
"We the Citizens of Mecklenburg County do hereby desolve the political bands which have connected us to the Mother Country & hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British crown & abjure all political connection, contract or association with that nation who have wantonly trampled on our rights & liberties & inhumanely shed the innocent blood of American patriots at Lexington.
"We do hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people - are & of right ought to be a sovereign & self-governing association, under the controul of no power other than that of our God & the general government of the congress, to the maintainence of which independence civil & religious we solemnly pledge to each other our mutual cooperation, our lives, our fortunes & our most sacred honor."
— The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, sections 2 and 3 (spelling, punctuation, and grammar as in the original).
*(I say "alleged" because there is actually some little question as to whether this declaration is a historic document — which would make Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, the first entity in North America to declare outright independence from the British crown — an after-the-fact reconstruction, or an out-and-out hoax. Opinions vary. However, the date May 20, 1775 is memorialized on the North Carolina state flag.)
Week of May 11, 2003
In memory of Lysander Spooner,
who died on
May 17, 1887 .
"The pretence of the lawmakers, that they are promoting the 'public good' by violating individual 'rights,' is just as false and absurd as is the pretence that they are protecting 'public rights' by violating 'private rights.' Sir, the greatest 'public good,' of which any coercive power, calling itself a government, or by any other name, is capable, is the protection of each and every individual in the quiet and peaceful enjoyment and exercise of all his own natural, inherent, inalienable, individual 'rights.' This is a 'good' that comes home to each and every individual, of whom "the public" is composed. It is also a 'good,' which each and every one of these individuals, composing 'the public,' can appreciate. It is a 'good,' for the loss of which governments can make no compensation whatever. It is a universal and impartial 'good,' of the highest importance to each and every human being; and not any such vague, false, and criminal thing as the lawmakers —- when violating private rights —- tell us they are trying to accomplish, under the name of 'the public good.' It is also the only 'equal and exact justice,' which you, or anybody else, are capable of securing, or have any occasion to secure, to any human being. Let but this 'equal and exact justice' be secured 'to all men,' and they will then be abundantly able to take care of themselves, and secure their own highest 'good.' Or if any one should ever chance to need anything more than this, he may safely trust to the voluntary kindness of his fellow men to supply it."
— Lysander Spooner, Letter to Grover Cleveland, 1886.
Week of May 4, 2003
In memory of Henry David Thoreau, who died on May 6, 1862.
"Will mankind never learn that policy is not morality — that it never secures any moral right, but considers merely what is expedient? chooses the available candidate — who is invariably the Devil — and what right have his constituents to be surprised, because the Devil does not behave like an angel of light? What is wanted is men, not of policy, but of probity — who recognize a higher law than the Constitution, or the decision of the majority. The fate of the country does not depend on how you vote at the polls — the worst man is as strong as the best at that game; it does not depend on what kind of paper you drop into the ballot box once a year, but on what kind of man you drop from your chamber into the street every morning."
— Henry David Thoreau
Week of April 20, 2003
In commemoration of the acts that secured human freedom for all eternity, the death and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, commemorated by the Church on Easter, which this year falls [by the Western Church's reckoning, anyway] on April 20, 2003.
"On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: "The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again."' Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened."
— Luke 24: 1-12, NIV.
Week of April 13, 2003
In observance, memory, commemoration [what are the right words?] ... of President Lincoln's proclamation calling upon the states to provide 75,000 troops to suppress the "insurrection," April 15, 1861; the firing-upon of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, April 16, 1861; and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, April 14, 1865.
"The cause of 'human rights' is precisely the critical argument by which, in retrospect, Abraham Lincoln's War of Northern Aggression against the South is justified and even glorified. The 'humanitarian' goes forth and rights the wrongs of slavery, doing so through mass murder, the destruction of institutions and property, and the wreaking of havoc which has still not disappeared. Isabel Paterson, in The God of the Machine, one of the great books on political philosophy of this century, zeroed in on what she aptly called 'The Humanitarian with the Guillotine.' 'The humanitarian,' Mrs. Paterson wrote, 'wishes to be a prime mover in the lives of others. He cannot admit either the divine or the natural order, by which men have the power to help themselves. The humanitarian puts himself in the place of God.' But, Mrs. Paterson notes, the humanitarian is 'confronted by two awkward facts: first, that the competent do not need his assistance; and second, that the majority of people, if unperverted, positively do not want to be "done good" by the humanitarian.' Having considered what the 'good' of others might be, and who is to decide on the good and what to do about it, Mrs. Paterson points out: 'Of course, what the humanitarian actually proposes is that he shall do what he thinks is good for everybody. It is at this point that the humanitarian sets up the guillotine.' Hence, she concludes, 'the humanitarian in theory is the terrorist in action.'"
Week of April 6, 2003
In memory of Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia's surrender to U.S. Grant and the U.S. Army at Appomattox, Virginia, on April 11, 1865.
[I must not have been paying attention, because I repeated the quotation I used for the week of February 9, below.]
Week of March 30, 2003
In memory of John C. Calhoun, who died on March 31, 1850.
"Stripped of all its covering, the naked question is, whether ours is a federal or consolidated government; a constitutional or absolute one; a government resting solidly on the basis of the sovereignty of the States, or on the unrestrained will of a majority; a form of government, as in all other unlimited ones, in which injustice, violence, and force must ultimately prevail."
— John C. Calhoun, Fort Hill Address, July 26, 1831.
Week of March 23, 2003
In memory of F.A. Hayek, who died on March 23, 1992.
"Over the years, I have again and again asked fellow believers in a free society how they managed to escape the contagion of their collectivist intellectual environment. No name has been mentioned more often as the source of enlightenment and understanding than Friedrich Hayek's. ... I, like the others, owe him a great debt ... his powerful mind ... his lucid and always principled exposition have helped to broaden and deepen my understanding of the meaning and the requisites of a free society."
— Milton Friedman, quoted on the Hayek Scholars Page.
Week of March 16, 2003
"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition more insurmountable than any which a central government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
— James Madison, Federalist 46.
Week of March 9, 2003
In commemoration of the assassination of Julius Caesar, March 15, 44 B.C.
"To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated, regimented, closed in, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, evaluated, censored, commanded; all by creatures that have neither the right, nor wisdom, nor virtue.... To be governed means that at every move, operation, or transaction one is noted, registered, entered in a census, taxed, stamped, priced, assessed, patented, licensed, authorized, recommended, admonished, prevented, reformed, set right, corrected. Government means to be subjected to tribute, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, pressured, mystified, robbed; all in the name of public utility and the general good. Then, at the first sign of resistance or word of complaint, one is repressed, fined, despised, vexed, pursued, hustled, beaten up, garroted, imprisoned, shot, machine-gunned, judged, sentenced, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed, and to cap all, ridiculed, mocked, outraged and dishonored. That is government, that is its justice and its morality!"
Week of March 2, 2003
In commemoration of the birth of Murray N. Rothbard, March 2, 1926.
"Rothbard's 'unkind' and 'intolerant' libertarianism first took hold among the non-academic public: among professionals, businessmen, and educated laymen of all backgrounds. Whereas [Robert] Nozick's 'gentle' libertarianism never penetrated outside acedemia, Rothbard and his 'extremist' libertarianism became the fountainhead and theoretical hardcore of an ideological movement. Rothbard became the creator of modern American libertarianism, the radical offspring of classical liberalism, which, in the course of some three decades, has grown from a handful of proponents into a genuine political and intellectual movement. Naturally, in the course of this development and transformation, Rothbard and his libertarianism did not remain unchallenged or undisputed, and there were ups and downs in Rothbard's institutional career: of institutional allignments and reallignments. Yet, until his death, Rothbard remained without doubt the single most important and respected moral authority within the entire libertarian movement, and his rationalist — axiomatic-deductive, praxeological, or 'Austrian' — libertarianism provides to this day the intellectual benchmark in reference to which everyone and everything else in libertarianism is defined and positioned."
— Hans-Hermann Hoppe, "Introduction," The Ethics of Liberty by Murray N. Rothbard, New York University Press, 2002, xxviii-xxix.
Week of February 23, 2003
In commemoration of the coming into force of the Articles of Confederation following their ratification by all thirteen states [Maryland was the last state to ratify, nearly three years after the others], March 1, 1781.
"Sir, I venerate the spirit with which everything was done at the trying time in which the Confederation [i.e., the United States] was formed. America had then a sufficiency of this virtue to resolve to resist perhaps the first nation in the universe, even unto bloodshed. What was her aim? Equal liberty and safety. What ideas had she of this equal liberty? Read them in her Articles of Confederation."
— G. Livingston, quoted in Jonathan Elliot's Debates of the State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, 1866, which was, in turn, quoted in Herbert J. Storing, What the Anti-Federalists were FOR, 1981.
Week of February 16, 2003
In commemoration of the Presidents' Day holiday, February 17.
"The presidency must be destroyed. It is the primary evil we face, and the cause of nearly all our woes. It squanders the national wealth and starts unjust wars against foreign peoples that have never done us any harm. It wrecks our families, tramples on our rights, invades our communities, and spies on our bank accounts. It skews the culture towards decadence and trash. It tells lie after lie. Teachers used to tell schools kids that anyone can be president. This is like saying anyone can go to Hell. It's not an inspiration; it's a threat.
"The presidency — by which I mean the executive state — is the sum total of American tyranny. The other branches of government, including the presidentially appointed Supreme Court, are mere adjuncts. The presidency insists on complete devotion and humble submission to its dictates, even while its steals the products of our labor and drives us into economic ruin. It centralizes all power unto itself, and crowds out all competing centers of power in society, including the church, the family, the business, the charity, and the community.
"I'll go further. The U.S. presidency is the world's leading evil."
— Lew Rockwell, "Down with the Presidency!", 1996.
Week of February 9, 2003
In commemoration of the election of Jefferson Davis as the provisional president of the Confederate States of America, February 9, 1861.
"The War between the States has a remote origin, and it cannot be understood apart from the chief movements of European history since the Reformation. It was another war between America and Europe, and 'America,' in the second great attempt, won. The South was the last stronghold of European civilization in the western hemisphere, a conservative check upon the restless expansiveness of the industrial North, and the South had to go. The South was permanently old-fashioned, backward-looking, slow, contented to live upon a modest conquest of nature, unwilling to conquer the earth's resources for the fun of the conquest; contented, in short, to take only what man needs; unwilling to juggle the needs of man in the illusory pursuit of abstract wealth. It is a mistake to suppose that the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781 freed 'America' from the bonds of the European tradition; that somewhat mottled blessing required for its success one more surrender — that of Lee at Appomattox in 1865. The War between the States was the second and decisive struggle of the Western spirit against the European — the spirit of restless aggression against a stable spirit of ordered economy — and the Western won."
Week of February 2, 2003
In honor of the birth of Ayn Rand, February 2, 1905.
"Capitalism is not the system of the past; it is the system of the future — if mankind is to have a future. Those who wish to fight for it must discard the title of 'conservatives.' 'Conservatism' has always been a misleading name, inappropriate to America. Today, there is nothing left to 'conserve': the established political philosophy, the intellectual orthodoxy, and the status quo are collectivism. Those who reject all the basic premises of collectivism are radicals in the proper sense of the word: 'radical' means 'fundamental.' Today, the fighters for capitalism have to be, not bankrupt 'conservatives,' but new radicals, new intellectuals, and above all, new, dedicated moralists."
— Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 1966.
Week of January 26, 2003
In honor of John Fries' establishment of his militia in opposition to the "house tax" passed by Congress, February 1, 1799.
"Once you stop fearing government, the government fears you."
— Robert D. Graham, American tax protester.
Week of January 19, 2003
In memory of Sir Winston Churchill, who died January 24, 1965.
"There can be no leave-taking between him and the people that he served and saved ... Many of us today may be feeling that by his going the scale of things has dwindled, our stature is diminished, that the glory has departed from us, that 'there is nothing left remarkable beneath the visiting moon.' I remember yesterday seeing his face for the last time: a face from which all age and infirmity had fallen away — young, calm, resolute in death. And I wondered, 'Is there anything, or is there nothing left that we can do for him?' Then I remembered the words of his victory broadcast, when he urged us not to fall back into the rut of inertia and confusion and the craven fear of being great. I knew that the pattern of greatness which he impressed on the spirit of the nation is what he would ask from us today."
— Baroness Asquith (formerly Lady Violet Bonham Carter), in her maiden speech in the House of Lords, January 25, 1965, speaking on the death of Sir Winston S. Churchill.
Week of January 12, 2003
In honor of the birth of Lysander Spooner, January 18, 1808.
"The ostensible supporters of the Constitution, like the ostensible supporters of most other governments, are made up of three classes, viz.: 1. Knaves, a numerous and active class, who see in the government an instrument which they can use for their own aggrandizement or wealth. 2. Dupes — a large class, no doubt — each of whom, because he is allowed one voice out of millions in deciding what he may do with his own person and his own property, and because he is permitted to have the same voice in robbing, enslaving, and murdering others, that others have in robbing, enslaving, and murdering himself, is stupid enough to imagine that he is a 'free man,' a 'sovereign'; that this is 'a free government'; 'a government of equal rights,' 'the best government on earth,'* and such like absurdities. 3. A class who have some appreciation of the evils of government, but either do not see how to get rid of them, or do not choose to so far sacrifice their private interests as to give themselves seriously and earnestly to the work of making a change."
*"Suppose it be 'the best government on earth,' does that prove its own goodness, or only the badness of all other governments?"
— Lysander Spooner, "No Treason, Number VI: The Constitution of No Authority," 1870, included in The Lysander Spooner Reader and Dissenting Electorate: Those Who Refuse to Vote and the Legitimacy of Their Opposition.
Week of January 5, 2003
In memory of Murray N. Rothbard, who died January 7, 1995.
"The magnitude of [Rothbard's] achievement was such that his legacy — not only as an economist buy as a system-builder and ideological entrepreneur — is assured. First, as an economist, he succeeded in firmly establishing the Austrian School of economics in America, expanding and refining the legacy of his great mentor, Ludwig von Mises, and separating out the pure Misesian perspective from all others. As a system-builder, the intellectual edifice that was the work of a lifetime is complete in its general outlines and solid at its base. Keeping in mind the limitation of scientific analogies, the totality of his writings presents the equivalent of a unified field theory of the social sciences.
"As an intellectual entrepreneur, it is useful to contemplate his career in this area on a number of levels. First, as Mises's most accomplished and ambitious pupil, he enjoyed an amazing success. Single-handedly reviving and championing the 'lost' (or overlooked) knowledge of the Austrian School, he not only rediscovered their insights, but also introduced them to a new generation of teachers and students.
"As the builder of an ideological movement, however — a role to which he devoted an enormous amount of time and energy — his success is more problematic. The Libertarian Party, which he eventually abandoned, is reduced to an insignificant sect. The wave of right-wing populism hailed by Rothbard in the last years of his life as the agency of libertarian social change has yet to fulfill its bright promise. It is yet far too early to judge his success as a movement-builder. The effect of Rothbard's work in this area is such that it will not be felt for a long time."
— Justin Raimondo, An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard, Prometheus Books, 2000, pp. 380-1.