My Own Pie

Libertarian Thoughts from Renaissance Guy

What It’s All About

with 2 comments

     Many religions and schools of philosophy have promoted it and practiced it–the Golden Rule, the Silver Rule, the ethic of reciprocity, the non-agression axiom.  In some form or fashion, most people believe, down deep, that a person should refrain from doing to somebody else what is unpleasant or harmful to oneself.  Or in the positive statment of the idea, one should actively do to others whatever one would appreciate or want done to oneself.

Witness a sample:

  • “Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others.”  —  Isocrates
  • “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain and your neighbor’s loss as your loss.”  —  T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien 
  • “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self.”  —  Mahabharata
  • “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”  —  Analects of Confucius
  • “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  —  Leviticus 19:18
  • “Whatever you would that people do to you, do so to them.”  —  Jesus in Matthew 7:12
  • “If it harms no one, do what you will.”  —  the Wiccan Rede
  • “First, do no harm.”  —  one of the basic principles practiced by ;hysicians, though not an original part of the Hippocratic Oath

     So, whether you regard it as part ot  the Tao, the Dharma, the Word of God, Reason, Natural Law, Evolution-instilled instinct, Common Sense, or Arbitrary Opinion, it’s the law that most of us strive to follow or believe that we should follow.  (Pretty much everyone seems to believe whenever they are wronged.  “Hey, you should not have treated me that way” seems to be a nearly universal reaction.)

     I want to keep what I earn, and I believe that you should be allowed to do so, too.  I want to provide for my family, and I believe that you should have all your own resources available to be able to do the same thing.  I want to be able to help my friends and neighbors in need, and that means that I want to have all the resources I earned at my disposal, so that I can better meet the needs of others.  I think that you should also help those who are in need around you, but I have no right to force you to do it.  In fact, if you do it under compulsion, it is not really generosity and not really an example of following the Golden Rule. 

If you earned your money, you earned it.  It’s yours.  You can spend it, save it, invest it, or give it all away, as you choose.  At least you should be able to.

     If you happen to be reading this and have legitimate needs, my heart really goes out to you.  I have had some pretty big needs myself.  I have had to depend on the generosity of others, which makes me willing to help others that are in need around me.  I urge you to avail yourself of whatever help you can find.  Plenty of churches and other religious groups, not to mention generous individuals, and (currently) government programs are there to help.  However, if you receive such help, please turn around and extend it to others. 

     If you do not have a legitimate need but are living off either public or private assistance, shame on you.  You are certainly violating the dicta above.  Whether you realize it or not, you are stealing, and I really wish that you would stop.

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Written by ambrosianideas

October 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm

2 Responses

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  1. What happens when private help isn’t available or isn’t enough? What then?

    My husband has MS. He needs medication, tests, doctors and treatments, but he was rescissed by his insurance because he failed to disclose a blow to the head as a child. (Does not cause MS.) He can get his MS meds free from the company, but those meds are known to cause liver damage, and he can’t get liver function tests for free, so he can’t take the meds. So there he is on the couch, too dizzy to walk the dog, let along work.

    Libertarianism works great- until you can’t work.

    Personal Failure

    October 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm

  2. Also it’s simply not true that people have earned all the money they make. They are able to make that amount of money because of an infrastructure provided by the state, because of a court system that protects investments and contracts, because of an education system that creates skilled workers, and a whole myriad of different things paid for collectively. Without all that, people wouldn’t make what they earn. Moreover, a stable monetary system is necessary, which is done through federal reserve notes (dollars) that are trusted world wide. Frankly, I think people would earn far, far less even with no taxes if they gave up what taxes provide, especially if they gave up using the federal reserve notes. So, no, I don’t think Americans earned the money they make themselves. It was part of a collective effort, with the state creating the capacity for the level of earnings we have.

    Besides that, part of the stability rests on avoiding social unrest. Since private assistance won’t be enough (never has been historically) to deal with poverty, you’re more likely to get a revolt of some sort if there aren’t state efforts to deal with problems of income distribution. The Romans discovered that (hence the “dole”).

    Scott Erb

    October 29, 2009 at 1:36 am


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