"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper which should have been gold, are a token of honor -- your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money." ~ Ayn Rand
Anna Karenina Meets Anarcho-Capitalism
Column by Lawrence M. Ludlow.
Exclusive to STR
The first line of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina reads as follows:
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
How about this adaptation?
“In their unwavering respect for humanity, voluntaryists are all alike;
every advocate of coercive governance is irrational in his or her own way.”
We libertarians, voluntaryists, and anarcho-capitalists are consistent in adhering to the “scientific method” in approaching both ethics and our relationships to our fellow human beings as ends-in-themselves, not means to the ends of others. Our ethical system holds water in all places, times, and under all circumstances—like any other scientific law worthy of that designation. Consequently, we abide by the Non-Aggression Axiom and Self-Ownership Principle. They hold true in all places, at all times, and under all circumstances. As Murray Rothbard demonstrated in For a New Liberty and again in The Ethics of Liberty and as Hans-Hermann-Hoppe also showed in Democracy: The God that Failed, the same cannot be said of the competing ethical systems.
In contrast, every statist and advocate of coercion by government makes exceptions to the principle of honoring human beings – always to obtain something that “justifies the means”—whether it is roads, today’s dinner, school, medical care, a house, a sense of validation, national pride, a phone, a laptop, or pre-emptive war and taxes based on fears conjured up by projecting their own aggressive and greedy impulses into the minds and hearts of others. Their desire is always some object that trumps individual inviolability and contradicts the scientific laws of ethics. The “end” sought changes with the person, but that is what they value more than the inviolability of others. They always fail to reach their ends, but humankind always suffers their bloody-minded “means,” which is all they have ever bestowed on the world—all they can bestow on the world. Each employs fascism on behalf of a different goal, and the world groans under a multitude of fascisms.
NOTE: I use the term “fascism” not in a historical sense but in the etymological sense, referring to the Latin term, fascis, the bundle of sticks that hides an axe as a symbol of naked brute coercive force.