My Own Pie

Libertarian Thoughts from Renaissance Guy

Archive for the ‘State’ Category

For Your Own Good

with 6 comments

     More and more, we hear that our government leaders are enacting laws and policies for our own good.  We must use corn as fuel, we must switch to low-energy light bulbs, we must stop eating unsaturated fats, we must depend on government bailouts and government-funded health insurance.  The list is getting longer all the time. 

     C. S. Lewis had a low opinion of benevolent governments:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may 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” (”The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment,” in God in the Dock).

     One thing that Lewis does not seem to understand is that robber barons flouish in a system of government support for their businesses.  Through the granting of licenses, the regulation of new businesses, subsidies, and tax policies, governments can uphold their favorite companies and block competitors.  They say that they do it for our good, but they really do it to support their own political careers.

     In an ideal state, we would not have to choose between robber barons or do-gooder tyrants.  Neither one could gain power over us.


Written by ambrosianideas

August 22, 2010 at 6:15 am

Posted in State, Tyrrany