Monday, March 24, 2008

Parents Ordered: Vaccinate Kids or Go to Jail (A violation of principles)




"It is becoming more and more common to see stories where parents are being attacked by government agencies for choosing not to vaccinate their children. Independent of the merits of their choice, contrary to the conversations that usually ensue when this subject is discussed, to the “Brain-On” Free Capitalist the real issue is the proper role of government and the use of force in civil society.This story is about parents in Belgium refusing the polio vaccine. On one side is the government and medical establishment, “The Belgians have a right to take some action against the parents, given the seriousness of polio, but the question is, is a prison sentence disproportionate?” The other side: the hard line ‘thought leaders’ arguing, “Nobody has the right to unfettered liberty, and people do not have a right to endanger their kids (FC Aside: unless you work for the government). What’s missing? The parents, any comments representing their choice, anyone being asked about the larger issues of health, parental choice, child welfare from a parent’s perspective, etc.

There are bigger issues at stake in this story, they too are omitted.

Key Points:

Only 1,000 cases of polio are reported world wide. (Source: CDC/WHO)

In Belgium, Dr. Victor Lusayu (head of Belgium’s international vaccine centre) claims that polio has been entirely eliminated from Europe. (Source: Cheng Article)

In the US, all cases of paralytic polio since 1979 have been caused by the oral polio vaccine. (Source: DHPE)

In the last 10 years, “vaccine caused” outbreaks have occurred in Nigeria, Dominican Reublic, Haiti, Phillippines, Madagascar, China and Indonesia. (Source: AP)

It appears that the only substantial cause of polio in the civilized world is now - the vaccination.

Dr. David Heymann, the World Health Organization’s top polio official admits, “It would be nice if we had a more stable oral polio vaccine, but that’s not the way it is today.

Despite the emotional content this issue is not about whether or not its a good idea to have children vaccinated. that is a separate discussion. The issue is whether or not the government ought to be authorized to use force to override a parents choice for their children.

Parents have self-interest in their children’s well being. Certainly no government bureaucracy is going to have more self-interest in children than parents. Government workers don’t get some magic new formula for wisdom and sound decision making just because they get a paycheck from the government.

The marketplace of ideas cannot be controlled by force. Freedom and liberty made it possible for the discovery, development and implementation of the vaccine 50 years ago - there was no “law” required.

Health professionals admit they “want” a better vaccine, but if you are in the business of producing the current vaccine, what is your motivation to innovate, take risks, etc., when its a criminal offense not to buy your product?


Commentary:

It may be a good idea or a bad idea to have your child vaccinated, but it is certainly an unprincipled and therefore bad idea to empower the government (any government) to use force to compel parents to inject a dangerous disease into the body of their child. The only defense of the ‘tribalist’ mentality (which always argues that individual choice is dangerous to the public - as if the public is something besides the aggregate of individuals) is that the government “knows better” how to care for children. While this may be the case in a few isolated circumstances, it is certainly not the case in general and the law does not and cannot exercise rational judgment - only people can, and the people most interested in the health and well-being of children are their parents.

Conclusion:

Should the government encourage awareness? Sure. Promote education, yes. Provide protection of individual civil rights? That is the less obvious implication of the issue - but the answer is obviously, “of course.” Oh, by the way, if you were in charge of selling the polio vaccine - do you think you could sell a lot or a little in the “free” market? It seems to me it would be like selling shoes, pencils, shirts, towels, hammers, nails, or even cell phones - not exactly a hard sell. To a well trained participant in the BOC - thoughts like these never come to mind. To the BOC, no law requiring vaccine’s means instant mass stupidity, rapid disease spread, and the abandonment of reason and self-interest.

The Point:

It’s not about polio. It’s not about vaccines. It’s not even about parental choice (though that’s close). This issue is about liberty and the proper role of government. Government is force, and force is only rightly used to protect rights, not to advance social change.

The tools of a Free Capitalist are persuasion, long suffering, ingenuity, innovation, vision and often patients. The socialists draw the gun, point it at your head and give ultimatums where their view is challenged. In which camp are you?

Action Steps:

Research the legal requirements for vaccinations in your community / state. Identify your options.

Identify individuals or groups in your community concerned about the issue. Learn their positions.

Discuss the issue with interested community members, your State Representative and/or State Senator.

Post your opinion online or write a letter to the editor of your statewide newspaper.

Discuss the issue and your legal options with your spouse and mature children. Decide in advance how you will respond if this becomes an issue that ever directly affects you and your family.

Suggest a Community Action Item to your local Free Capitalist Community Council.
If appropriate, suggest an amendment (in writing in detail) to the existing law to your state legislature.

Calendar a time to review / revisit the news on this issue in 90-days.

Keep your brain on, ideas flowing, and remain engaged in your community.

Email your friends and associates about your thoughts and planned action items."


Reference(s):

Date: Wed March 12, 2008
Source: Yahoo News - Parents may be jailed over vaccinations
Author: Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer
MRFC Principles: (3, 4, 11, 12)

Direct Source: http://fcd.freecapitalist.com/?p=6

{On a personal note, here's an article I found interesting...http://www.ivu.org/congress/euro97/vegetarians.html}


AR

Ayn Rand Mike Wallace Interview



Ayn Rand Interview





Milton Friedman

Greed


Self-Interest and the Profit Motive 1 & 2

Friday, March 21, 2008

Definition of Capitalism



The Definition of Capitalism

When people ask about the definition of capitalism, they are often looking for an answer that explains the "capitalist system." The definition they expect to receive is one which explains Adam Smith's "trickle down theory of economics" and promotes the "unequal distribution of wealth." These preconceptions represent some of the most common myths and misconceptions about capitalism which must first be dispelled before any definition of capitalism can be properly understood.

There is, for example, no such thing as the "capitalist system," in the sense that it is commonly referred to in the media. Interestingly, when capitalism is discussed, it is frequently discussed in the language of Marx. Thus, we hear much of systems, surpluses, distributions, means and modes of production, and all manner of precise, scientific-sounding classifications, but we hear precious little about what the definition of capitalism actually is. In fact, the term capitalism was never used by Adam Smith and its first recorded usage was not until 1854,1 although Marx would frequently dance around the term in references to "capitalistic production" or the "capitalist system."2 Smith, on the other hand, referred to what is now called capitalism as a "system of natural liberty."3

If we are to insist upon precision in our language of economy, as the social scientists no doubt do, we have to distinguish between systems that occur naturally and systems that are created by human beings. This distinction is not trivial, because those who refer to the "capitalist system" do so in order to portray the free market as little more than a man-made parasite, while elevating their own preposterous political projects to an equal level of economic science.

As with all systems, an economic system may be either natural or artificial, the former being defined by freedom and the latter defined by coercion. The natural system, capitalism, I will refer to as an informal system; the artificial systems, I will call formal systems.

Why is capitalism an informal system? A crucial part of the definition of capitalism is the idea of laissez-faire, a French term which roughly translates into "allow to do" or "leave alone." Capitalism is an informal system in the sense that it does not seek to impose answers upon society to the three fundamental questions facing all economies: What should we produce? How should we produce? And, for whom should we produce?4

Capitalism suggests that rather than these questions being answered by kings, governments, or even well-intentioned central planners on society's behalf, these questions should be answered by you and I and every other individual in a free market. In other words, capitalism is simply what occurs when we are all left to our own economic devices; as a system, capitalism is characterized by the absence of formal systems. As Adam Smith explained, "All systems either of preference or of restraint, therefore, being thus completely taken away, the obvious and simple system of natural liberty establishes itself of its own accord."5

Milton Friedman put it another way: "Fundamentally, there are only two ways of co-ordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion ... The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals."6 Formal economic systems (communism, feudalism, etc.) are defined by some form of coercion in order to direct production and to impose answers upon society; the definition of capitalism, the informal system, is the absence of coercion.

A more encyclopedic definition of capitalism would be of an informal economic system in which property is largely privately owned, and in which profit provides incentive for capital investment and the employment of labor. Capitalism is also the philosophy that the government's role in the economy should be strictly limited and that the forces of supply and demand in a free market, while imperfect, are the most efficient means of providing for the general well-being of humankind.

It is commonly thought that average citizens in a market economy benefit only when profits "trickle down" to them, like pennies spilling from the overstuffed pockets of the rich. The economist Thomas Sowell calls this bizarre definition of capitalism the most politically prominent economic theory to never exist.7 He explains,

When an investment is made, whether to build a railroad or to open a new restaurant, the first money is spent hiring the people to do the work. Without that, nothing happens. Even when one person decides to operate a store or hamburger stand without employees, that person must first pay somebody to deliver the goods that are going to be sold. Money goes out first to pay expenses and then comes back as profits later—if at all. The high rate of failure of new businesses makes painfully clear that there is nothing inevitable about the money coming back. ... In short, the sequence of payments is directly the opposite of what is assumed by those who talk about a 'trickle-down' theory.8

While profit is a word routinely pronounced with the negative emotion of a swear word in the modern political discourse, it is profit alone that provides incentive to undertake financial risk, such as the risk involved in starting a business.

Incentive is the key word. Incentives matter so much that economists James Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, and Dwight R. Lee begin a marvelous little book with the declaration, "All of economics rests on one simple principle: that incentives matter. Altering incentives, the costs and benefits of making specific decisions, alters people's behaviour."9 Where profits are denied, entrepreneurship and innovation are stifled and all our lives are the worse for it. Beneath the definition of capitalism is the realization that we are never so efficient and effective as when we pursue our own reward.

And yet, profit is often portrayed in the media as the "unequal distribution of wealth" as though the invisible hand of Adam Smith were reaching down from the clouds to drop billions of dollars on the evil and the undeserving, while robbing the righteous poor of what is owed to them. As Dr. Sowell notes,

Most income is of course not distributed at all, in the sense in which newspapers or Social Security checks are distributed from some central place. Most income is distributed only in the figurative statistical sense in which there is a distribution of heights in a population ... but none of these heights was sent out from some central location. Yet it is all too common to read journalists and others discussing how 'society' distributes its income, rather than saying in plain English that some people make more money than others.10

Why do some people make more than others under capitalism? There can be any number of reasons from the differing skills of workers to their differing age and experience to the supply and demand relationship between employers and employees. Moreover, those who assume more risk inevitably earn dramatically more or dramatically less than those who assume less risk. Whatever the case may be, however, income in a capitalist economy is earned not through "selfishness" but by helping others. Gwartney, Stroup, and Lee explain,

People who earn large incomes do so because they provide others with lots of things that they value. If these individuals did not provide valuable goods or services, consumers would not pay them so generously. There is a moral here: if you want to earn a large income, you had better figure out how to help others a great deal.11

Economist Walter Williams offers similar insight into the definition of capitalism: "Capitalism is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. Capitalism made it possible to become wealthy by serving your fellow man."12

While those who equate the definition of capitalism with the unequal distribution of wealth revile the inequalities that inevitably result in market economies, Milton Friedman puts these inequalities in their proper perspective as compared with the formal economic systems:

Consider two societies that have the same distribution of annual income. In one there is great mobility and change so that the position of particular families in the income hierarchy varies widely from year to year. In the other, there is great rigidity so that each family stays in the same position year after year. Clearly, in any meaningful sense, the second would be the more unequal society. ... Non-capitalist societies tend to have wider inequality than capitalist, even as measured by annual income; in addition, inequality in them tends to be permanent, whereas capitalism undermines status and introduces social mobility.13

This concept of social mobility is a routinely overlooked aspect of the definition of capitalism. In a capitalist society, individuals are not condemned to their lot in life. Capitalism not only encourages individuals to better themselves, but provides market incentives for them to do so.

All The World's A Market

What is a market? It is not the mystical, impersonal force that is so deeply reviled on the left and so strangely worshiped as an omniscient deity on the right. A market is simply an environment of exchange that brings buyers and sellers of products, services, labor, and ideas together and facilitates trade between them. Far from being impersonal, a market, just like a society, is the sum of the individuals involved in it and therefore contains all the information presently known. In a broader sense, a market is merely a mirror of ourselves.

As part of the definition of capitalism, it was noted that capitalism is an informal system in so far as it does not require implementation by some higher authority. The reason for this is that capitalism is fueled by the power of markets, which are as natural and as necessary to human beings as water to a fish. As long as there are human beings, there will always be markets.

While this aspect of the definition of capitalism is commonly denied, we see evidence of the inevitability of markets wherever trade is forbidden or restricted. In modern capitalist societies, black markets flourish for vices the government has attempted to outlaw, such as drugs, weapons, and prostitution. In communist societies, black markets thrive in response to frequent consumer shortages. In developing nations where laws and bureaucracy impede rather than facilitate legal exchange, and where the goods of developed nations are often inappropriately priced, black markets are the primary source of economic growth, often replacing legal markets entirely.

In short, if one doubts the definition of capitalism as a natural system and markets as essential to human life, one needs look no further than the indestructibility of markets throughout human history as evidence to the contrary.

The most common critique of market-driven economies is that they are "unfair." The market, we are told, "exploits people." The fallacy here is two-fold. First, the market in and of itself is neither fair nor unfair; it is merely a reflection of ourselves. If we perceive the market to be unfair, such as in the difference in wages between teachers and professional athletes, then that injustice is a reflection on who we are as a people not on the market system in the abstract.

"Fairness," like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Beneath the definition of capitalism is a belief in the supremacy of economic freedom, and freedom entails protecting individuals from outside interference, even in the name of "fairness." Dr. Friedman wisely observes that one of the biggest objections to a market economy is that "it gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself."14

Second, a free market cannot, by definition, exploit anyone, given the elementary economic principle that a voluntary and informed trade always benefits both parties; why would either party make the trade otherwise?

Ultimately, what a market accomplishes is to collect all the information presently available between buyers and sellers, and then to determine the relative value of what is being exchanged. We live in a world of scarce resources, and those resources must somehow be divided; the market accomplishes this through fluctuating prices. High prices ration goods and signal producers to produce more where possible and for consumers to conserve; low prices encourage consumption and signal producers to allocate scarce resources elsewhere.

As Friedrich von Hayek explains, in this kind of price system "only the most essential information is passed on and passed on only to those concerned. It is more than a metaphor to describe the price system as a kind of machinery for registering change, or a system of telecommunications which enables individual producers to watch merely the movement of a few pointers, as an engineer might watch the hands of a few dials, in order to adjust their activities to changes of which they may never know more than is reflected in the price movement."15

In other words, there is a little bit of magic in every price tag, as every price contains an astonishing amount of information about the choices made by consumers and producers condensed into a few numbers.

Criticism of Capitalism

If there is a valid criticism of capitalism to be made, it is essentially the same argument against anarchism of the right, which is that freedom feeds upon itself.

Thomas Sowell writes that when he taught economics, he used to offer an A to any student who could find a kind word that Adam Smith had to say about businessmen in The Wealth of Nations. No one ever did.16 Perhaps the skepticism of Smith and many other free market economists over the benevolence of business people stems from the melancholy truth that those whom the market most rewards seldom have any qualm with subverting it; all too often, those who should be the capitalism's most ardent defenders are quick to bite the hand that feeds them.

Monopolies are by no means precluded by the definition of capitalism, and with such power comes the power to stifle innovation, crush competition, and harm the average consumer with higher prices. Moreover, where individuals or corporations violate the principles of fair trade, such as by concealing or falsifying information, their own personal freedom and wealth may be enhanced at the expense of both society and the free market they betray.

Ironically, the same concept of laissez-faire that is so essential to the definition of capitalism, can devolve into tyranny if interpreted too literally. The incentive for profit is unfortunately also incentive to cheat. It is easy to see how a pure market economy in absence of all rules and regulation is little more than a contest for the survival of the fittest.

Very few people, much less conservatives, desire a society built on economic Darwinism where gross inequalities of opportunity are the norm and where only the affluent have access to basic social services. Moreover, few would want to conduct business in an environment where no set of standards was enforced in the market and where no rules governed the behavior of businesses and individuals.

It is for this reason that modern capitalist economies are often called "mixed economies" in that they combine free markets with the oversight of government. Though they adhere to the definition of capitalism, they are not enslaved to it. For capitalism to avoid self-destruction, even the most pro-business conservatives usually agree that government is crucial as a regulator and a referee.

Why Are Most Conservatives Capitalists?

While Adam Smith is usually credited as the father of the free market, the basic idea beneath the definition of capitalism was aptly expressed thousands of years before his birth by the Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, who advocated the almost paradoxical concept of wei wu wei, or action without action, an idea which speaks to the essence of laissez-faire.

While conservatives differ with one another on many individual economic issues, most modern conservatives agree that a free market is the sole path to prosperity for humankind. The idea of action without action appeals to the average conservative who deeply believes that government should not meddle in the fiscal affairs of the individual beyond its function as regulator and referee. But conservatives are not utopians, and they hold little hope for a world in which everyone is perfectly happy and everyone's wants are perfectly met; rather, conservatives view our economic options as a set of imperfect choices and regard capitalism as the least evil among them.

Conservatives are routinely accused of being obsessed with money and of reducing human beings to economic creatures. The definition of capitalism established here clearly refutes that claim. If conservatives are passionate about capitalism, it is not because they are passionate about money; rather, it is because they are passionate about freedom.

In an age where the definition of capitalism is routinely distorted to bolster the arguments of left wing critics, it is rarely mentioned that capitalism is a liberal economic idea; if its defense has fallen to conservatives, that is evidence only that classical liberalism bears no resemblance to the liberalism of today. Indeed, if anyone on the political spectrum is to be accused of reducing human beings to economic creatures surely it must be modern liberals who are lauded in the press for running entire election campaigns on the premise that all people care about is "the economy, stupid!"

This is not the philosophy of the conservative. As Barry Goldwater wrote,

The root difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals of today is that Conservatives take account of the whole man, while the Liberals tend to look only at the material side of man's nature. The Conservative believes that man is, in part, an economic, an animal creature; but that he is also a spiritual creature with spiritual needs and spiritual desires. What is more, these needs and desires reflect the superior side of man's nature, and thus take precedence over his economic wants. Conservatism therefore looks upon the enhancement of man's spiritual nature as the primary concern of political philosophy. Liberals, on the other hand—in the name of a concern for 'human beings'—regard the satisfaction of economic wants as the dominant mission of society.17
The definition of capitalism for the conservative is based on a belief in individual freedom and on a faith in the individual to choose well. The conservative knows, after all, that the restriction of freedom anywhere is a restriction of freedom everywhere, and that if the individual is not even guaranteed the freedom to make trivial economic choices, he certainly will not have the freedom to make all-important spiritual choices.

Source: http://www.conservative-resources.com/definition-of-capitalism.html

AR

Relativism

Introduction

A society that celebrates virtually anything would have to make tolerance a virtue.

Tolerance for the right things and in the right amounts is a virtue. No decent or democratic society can exist without it. To respect individuals you disagree with is Christian; however, to tolerate evil as a Christian drains society of virtue. C. S. Lewis made clear the nature of evil- it is predatory; it will devour virtue. And when there is nothing of virtue remaining, it will devour itself. To allow evil where it could otherwise be eliminated is to consent to the death of virtue. Given the insatiable appetite of evil, and its propensity to feed on the young and old alike, you and I simply cannot tolerate the intolerable in society. We cannot hope to remain a decent society if we adopt a relativist, truth-is-what-you-want-it-to-be- attitude toward sin and evil in society. To stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places requires more from us (Mosiah 18: 9). Our voices and sensibilities must inform public policy. In this segment, I will discuss how relativist meanings of tolerance are being used to attack our faith, destroy the virtue in our nation, and silence our dissent.

The New Tolerance

Relativism is the belief that man is the author of truth; one man cannot tell another man what is true for him. Truth is individually defined not externally imposed- as if truth could ever be imposed on anyone possessing agency. To the relativist, one man’s truth is just that- one man’s truth; it can be nothing more, unless agreed upon by society or enforced by law. These relativistic values have advanced in society because the majority of Christian America has silently assented to the death of ethical theism. In the book The New Tolerance by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler (1998), ethical theism is defined as the belief that right and wrong are absolute, unchanging, and that they are decided (and communicated to men and women) by God (p. 33). This view of truth and morality formed the basis for much of Western civilization; it stems from the belief that certain truths are self-evident, among them, is the uniquely American tradition that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

These beliefs are grounded in biblical understandings that shaped Western civilization and the formation of our nation. The Founders knew what Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles knew about truth. They had, according to David F. Wells (1993):

A certainty about the existence, character and purposes of God- a certainty about his truth- that seems to have faded in the bright light of the modern world. They were convinced that God’s revelation, of which they were the vehicles and custodians, was true. True in an absolute sense. It was not merely true to them; it was not merely true in their time; it was not true approximately. What God has given was true universally, absolutely and enduringly (pp. 259-260).

These notions were essential to the Founders in 1776, and still are- or at least should be to us in 2003.

Ethical theism died a quiet death in America. It died, according to Pat Buchanan (2002), author of The Death of the West, because Christians fell asleep and the nation changed; President Benson also said this. Relativism replaced ethical theism as the explanation of morality and reality. Along with new explanations came new definitions of relativist truth in America. Those who resisted these definitions were thought to be intolerant, judgmental or hateful. Those who embraced the new ideals of the shift towards relativism were called tolerant. The new definition of tolerance, then, is agreement. The more tolerant among us express that agreement through participation; this shows support for the beliefs of others. For example, attendance at Gay Pride parades by non-homosexuals is evidence of the new meaning of tolerance; it is an affirmation that some straights recognize the rights of gays to coexist in relativistic and legalistic (marriage) equality. In fighting for the rights of diverse others to be as they self-determine, so-called tolerant Americans also defend their own right to autonomous self-definition. It is as if they are saying:

Tolerance is the crowning virtue among those who honor difference as the desired norm. To tolerate is to affirm. I don’t judge you, you don’t judge me; neither of us has to feel bad. Neither of us has to change. We’re both just fine. In relativist America, diversity is the freest expression and tolerance is the finest attribute.

This postmodern or relativist view of truth gradually eclipsed ethical theism in America. Today, postmodernism or relativism is seen in such comments as: what I do or believe cannot be separated from who I am- thus, if you reject what I do or think, you reject me. How absurd and cowardly are such claims, for they excuse improvement and absolve us of the need for important introspection and useful change. The new tolerance is also reflected in the following statements that I often hear even among some LDS faithful (see McDowell and Hostetler, 1998):

· No one can tell you what is right or wrong.

· I can’t tell you what is right or wrong; you must decide for yourself.

· It’s wrong to try and impose (as thought one really could) my morals on someone.

· I have the right to do whatever I want so long as I am not hurting anyone.

· You have to do what you think is right.

· Those may be the values your parents taught you, but my parents taught me differently.

· Look…that’s your opinion.

These kinds of so-called tolerant comments argue against truth as an absolute, and- given their source, intentionally deny our Christian obligation to warn and be witnesses. Christians who use these arguments affirm relativist truth- that there really is no truth; and they avoid offending the devil in the process of showing relativists that they are equally tolerant in response to endless and fierce accusations of Christian intolerance. I am not saying that we should be obnoxious about our beliefs, but neither should we be ashamed of them- or of being different, even peculiar. For the sake of our faith, families, and freedom, we simply cannot afford to be too tolerant of sin or error- or of relativist attempts to make us irrelevant. Besides, we are commanded to open our mouths, with a promise that God will fill them (D&C 100: 5-8). We may not think that we have much to say about what is going on in the world today, but God may have much to say through us.

The Limitations of Tolerance

Since tolerance now means agreement, prepare to be called intolerant if you disagree with someone’s “sinful” of “errant” choices or relativist arguments- or if you seek to intervene in the choices they make or changes they advocate. Today, name-calling, as a tool for silencing criticism, is as common as it is silly. It stifles the beneficial dialogue that stems from disagreement, and silences those with better argument and truth on their side. Simply put, it empowers stupidity; besides, calling someone intolerant because they disagree with you is intellectually dishonest illogic. Imagine someone is watching you walk near a cliff. You are getting dangerously close- you may not appreciate how at risk you are. They do, but may be reluctant to say so because they do not wish to appear judgmental or overly aware of your business. They may reason that you know what you are doing. They may conclude that you want to fall from the cliff. Then they remember what their teachers taught them in school, that no one has the right to tell another person what to do or think. So they watch with ambivalence as you fall from the cliff.

This is the danger of demanding agreement or consent in tolerance, especially when the consequences of our personal choices can be so personally and socially damaging. Without a value system, I can watch the lives of others collapse around me with no more concern than the outcome of a golf tournament; personally, I am indifferent to golf. Tolerance, then, robbed of the virtue and benefit of absolute truth, becomes indifference. Why should I care what someone does? What is that to me? I absolve myself of your stupidity, but I support your right to be stupid. I might even jump with you to show my agreement as tolerance- and my equal stupidity.

I am being absurd to illustrate the absurdity of the new tolerance.

Love and Tolerance

Somewhere in the chaos of the 1960’s and 1970’s we lost the concept of the golden rule- do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This concept demands more of us than mere tolerance. It has at its core the commission to love one another; love requires effort and involvement on our part. It requires us to invest in one another. It requires of us to change and grow, for love may be unconditional, but relationships are not. To relate to others, we have to be willing to be changed by one another in right ways. Love, then, is the greatest of all virtues- including tolerance.

True love will not allow you to watch someone step off from a cliff. It will motivate you to at least try and intervene in their behalf. If that intervention is done in love, it sometimes saves us from ourselves. In my life, I am more indebted to those who have reached out to me in love than tolerated me in agreement or disinterest. I am a better person today because love won out over tolerance at critical times in my life when those motivated by higher virtues spoke the truth to me. These individuals demonstrated the truth of unconditional love. Unconditional love is not to love someone the way they are, but to love them despite the way they are. It is to see something better in them, and to encourage it when moved upon by love and spirit. Those who merely tolerate absolve themselves of the thorns, but they never help to grow the rose.

I will conclude with this comment on the power of true love. In the book of St. John (21: 15-18), Jesus thrice asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Each time Peter would respond in the affirmative, and Christ would say, “Feed my sheep/lambs.” Not once did he ask Peter if he loved the sheep or lambs. Christ never said, “If you love them, feed them.” We do for one another because we love Christ. And as we do, our love for one another increases. Whom we love, we serve; whom we serve, we love. Love, then, is service. Service and love are greater than tolerance.

Our investment in reaching out to those who would otherwise be our political or ideological opposites is the fulfillment of a commandment to love all others- even our (ideological) enemies- in a manner of speaking. It is to do good to those that would spitefully use or ridicule us. And it would silence our critics. How, for example, could homosexuals accuse us of being hateful if we provided weekly comfort to sorrowing souls at an AIDS clinic? How could we be viewed as superior if we worked along side other faiths in promoting good causes in the world, as our Prophet has asked of us? The love that would develop between the giver and the receiver would change us both, recapture the vision of the Founders, and honor the principles of Christ.

We could melt much of the wax that encrusts love in these days by turning up the warmth of our love. We have no choice if we are serious about our covenants. We have no choice if we are serious about saving America. Tolerance will not save this nation. Love can- and if necessary, tough love; loving more also includes loving God more. Besides, we can ill afford to be the most tolerant of people in a nation ripening in iniquity- don’t confuse my argument of love with tolerance. We must become more loving of people, but less tolerant of sin. Sin depletes the nation of virtue. A nation that lacks virtue will not have much tolerance for Christians.

In my next article, I will discuss how relativism has turned to government and law for validation and protection. This has changed legislation and litigation in the past 40 years. Accordingly, we must be more vigilant about the direction our government and courts are taking, which is, toward the relativist’s utopia often referred to today as democratic socialism. I will argue that our leaders must do more to ensure virtue in American culture; this will not be easy. Too many of them are behaving in ways that Alexis de Tocqueville warned us against in his profound and careful writings entitled Democracy in America. By extending the Entitlements of Liberty to some in the name of equality, our leaders are further dividing the nation and increasingly driving us down the socialist path. This is intolerable.

References

Buchanan, Pat (2002). The Death of the West. New York: St. Martins Press.

Lewis, C. S. (1970). God in the Dock. Grand Rapids, MI: Erdmans Publishing.

McDowell, Josh, & Hostetler, (1998). The New Tolerance. Wheaton, ILL: Tyndale House Publishing.

Wells, David F. (1993). No place for truth. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Values (going back to the basics)

VALUES






1. SIMPLE PATHS ARE NOT ALWAYS EASY TO FOLLOW “Investing is simple, but not easy.”—Warren Buffet, interview on CNBC W/Maria

2. KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE, AND ABILITY—NOT MONEY—BRINGS INDEPENDENCE “If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” - Henry Ford (1863-1947), An American Industrialist

3. FINANCIAL FREEDOM WILL NOT “JUST HAPPEN” “Find the bull’s-eye. Chances are you’ll never achieve financial freedom unless you first define it and then become tunnel-visioned pursuing it.” - Jeanne Sahadi, CNN/Money Senior Staff Writer

4. SLAVERY IS THE CONSEQUENCE OF ECONOMIC DEPENDENCE “The essence of all slavery consists in taking the product of another’s labor by force. It is immaterial whether this force be founded upon ownership of the slave or ownership of the money that he must get to live.” - Leo Tolstoy

5. PROSPERITY IS ABOUT A PARADIGM—IT’S NOT ABOUT MONEY “Prosperity is a way of living and thinking, and not just money or things. Poverty is a way of living and thinking, and not just a lack of money or things.” -Eric Butterworth

6. MEN ARE EITHER MASTERS OR SERVANTS OF MONEY, WHICH WILL YOU BE? “If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be said to possess wealth, as that may be said to possess him.” -Francis Bacon

7. INTEREST NEVER SLEEPS “Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you.” - J. Rueben Clark, 1938

8. DEBT GIVES OTHERS POWER OVER YOUR LIBERTY “Think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty.” - Benjamin Franklin

9. LACK OF MONEY IS A “SYMPTOM,” NOT A CAUSE “No complaint, however, is more common than that of a scarcity of money. Money, like wine, must always be scarce with those who have neither wherewithal to buy it nor credit to borrow it. Those who have either will seldom be in want either of the money or of the wine which they have occasion for.” -Adam Smith

10. PEOPLE ARE OFTEN OBLIVIOUS TO FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES “It is amazing to me that so many people work all of their lives for the grocer, the landlord, the power company, the automobile salesman, and the bank, and yet think so little of their own efforts that they pay themselves nothing.” - L. Tom Perry

11. 1/4 OF THE TIME MOST MEN’S WORK IS SUFFICIENT “One-third or one-fourth of the time that is spent to procure a living would be sufficient, if your labor were rightly directed. People think they are going to get rich by hard work├é—by working sixteen hours out of the twenty-four; but it is not so. A great many of our brethren can hardly spend time to go to meeting. Six days is more time than we need to labor.” - Brigham Young

12. LACK OF SELF-RELIANCE DESTROYS INDIVIDUALITY “Nothing destroys the individuality of a man, a woman, or a child as much as the failure to be self-reliant.” - Relief Society Magazine, Oct. 1937, p. 627

13. LACK OF SELF RELIANCE DESTROYS PERSONAL AGENCY “Man cannot be an agent unto himself if he is not self-reliant [...] independence and self-reliance are critical keys to our spiritual growth. Whenever we get into a situation which threatens our self-reliance, we will find our freedom threatened as well. If we increase our dependence, we will find an immediate decrease in our freedom to act.” - Marion G. Romney, “The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance” Tambuli, Oct. 1984, p. 1

14. SELF-RELIANCE BRINGS PEACE AND CONTENTMENT “If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart and into the family, it is to live within our means [sic]. And if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations [...] one cannot meet.” - Heber J. Grant

15. FINANCIAL FREEDOM IS THE CORRECT ORDER OF LIFE “[...] pay thy debt and live [...]” - 2 KINGS 4:7


– FRANKLINSQUIRES (from http://www.franklinsquires.com/overview.htm )


AR

Monday, March 10, 2008

Francisco's 'Money' Speech from Atlas Shrugged




Rearden heard Bertram Scudder, outside the group, say to a girl who made some sound of indignation, "Don't let him disturb you. You know, money is the root of all evil – and he's the typical product of money."

Rearden did not think that Francisco could have heard it, but he saw Francisco turning to them with a gravely courteous smile.

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco d'Aconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

"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. Is this what you consider evil?

"Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions – and you'll learn that man's mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.

"But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made – before it can be looted or mooched – made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced.

"To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except by the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss – the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery – that you must offer them values, not wounds – that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best your money can find. And when men live by trade – with reason, not force, as their final arbiter – it is the best product that wins, the best performance, then man of best judgment and highest ability – and the degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?

"But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality – the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind.

"Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants; money will not give him a code of values, if he's evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he's evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

"Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth – the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve that mind that cannot match it. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

"Money is your means of survival. The verdict which you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men's vices or men's stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment's or a penny's worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?

"Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?

"Or did you say it's the love of money that's the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It's the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is the loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money – and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.

"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.

"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another – their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.

"But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride, or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich – will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt – and of his life, as he deserves.

"Then you will see the rise of the double standard – the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money – the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law – men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims – then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

"Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

"Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it becomes, marked: 'Account overdrawn.'

"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are.

"You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it's crumbling around you, while you're damning its life-blood – money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men's history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which you mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves – slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody's mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was little to conquer. Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers – as industrialists.

"To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money – and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man's mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being – the self-made man – the American industrialist.

"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose – because it contains all the others – the fact that they were the people who created the phrase 'to make money'. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity – to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted, or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality.

"Yet these were the words for which Americans were denounced by the rotted cultures of the looters' continents. Now the looters' credo has brought you to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards, and your magnificent factories as the product and property of muscular labor, the labor of whip-driven slaves, like the pyramids of Egypt. The rotter who simpers that he sees no difference between the power of the dollar and the power of the whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide – as, I think, he will.

"Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns – or dollars. Take your choice – there is no other – and your time is running out."

original source: Part II, Section 2, pages 387-391 of the paperback

AR

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Second Coming (Poem) by William Butler Yeats



The Second Coming by WB Yeats.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
(Why do the best of us lack conviction!?!)
AR

The Principles of Communism by Frederick Engels 1847


(Does this sound familiar?)

— 1 — What is Communism?
Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat.

— 2 — What is the proletariat?
The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labor – hence, on the changing state of business, on the vagaries of unbridled competition. The proletariat, or the class of proletarians, is, in a word, the working class of the 19th century.[1]

— 3 — Proletarians, then, have not always existed?
No. There have always been poor and working classes; and the working class have mostly been poor. But there have not always been workers and poor people living under conditions as they are today; in other words, there have not always been proletarians, any more than there has always been free unbridled competitions.

— 4 — How did the proletariat originate?
The Proletariat originated in the industrial revolution, which took place in England in the last half of the last (18th) century, and which has since then been repeated in all the civilized countries of the world.
This industrial revolution was precipitated by the discovery of the steam engine, various spinning machines, the mechanical loom, and a whole series of other mechanical devices. These machines, which were very expensive and hence could be bought only by big capitalists, altered the whole mode of production and displaced the former workers, because the machines turned out cheaper and better commodities than the workers could produce with their inefficient spinning wheels and handlooms. The machines delivered industry wholly into the hands of the big capitalists and rendered entirely worthless the meagre property of the workers (tools, looms, etc.). The result was that the capitalists soon had everything in their hands and nothing remained to the workers. This marked the introduction of the factory system into the textile industry.
Once the impulse to the introduction of machinery and the factory system had been given, this system spread quickly to all other branches of industry, especially cloth- and book-printing, pottery, and the metal industries.
Labor was more and more divided among the individual workers so that the worker who previously had done a complete piece of work now did only a part of that piece. This division of labor made it possible to produce things faster and cheaper. It reduced the activity of the individual worker to simple, endlessly repeated mechanical motions which could be performed not only as well but much better by a machine. In this way, all these industries fell, one after another, under the dominance of steam, machinery, and the factory system, just as spinning and weaving had already done.
But at the same time, they also fell into the hands of big capitalists, and their workers were deprived of whatever independence remained to them. Gradually, not only genuine manufacture but also handicrafts came within the province of the factory system as big capitalists increasingly displaced the small master craftsmen by setting up huge workshops, which saved many expenses and permitted an elaborate division of labor.
This is how it has come about that in civilized countries at the present time nearly all kinds of labor are performed in factories – and, in nearly all branches of work, handicrafts and manufacture have been superseded. This process has, to an ever greater degree, ruined the old middle class, especially the small handicraftsmen; it has entirely transformed the condition of the workers; and two new classes have been created which are gradually swallowing up all the others. These are:

(i) The class of big capitalists, who, in all civilized countries, are already in almost exclusive possession of all the means of subsistance and of the instruments (machines, factories) and materials necessary for the production of the means of subsistence. This is the bourgeois class, or the bourgeoisie.

(ii) The class of the wholly propertyless, who are obliged to sell their labor to the bourgeoisie in order to get, in exchange, the means of subsistence for their support. This is called the class of proletarians, or the proletariat.

— 5 — Under what conditions does this sale of thelabor of the proletarians to the bourgeoisie take place?
Labor is a commodity, like any other, and its price is therefore determined by exactly the same laws that apply to other commodities. In a regime of big industry or of free competition – as we shall see, the two come to the same thing – the price of a commodity is, on the average, always equal to its cost of production. Hence, the price of labor is also equal to the cost of production of labor.
But, the costs of production of labor consist of precisely the quantity of means of subsistence necessary to enable the worker to continue working, and to prevent the working class from dying out. The worker will therefore get no more for his labor than is necessary for this purpose; the price of labor, or the wage, will, in other words, be the lowest, the minimum, required for the maintenance of life.
However, since business is sometimes better and sometimes worse, it follows that the worker sometimes gets more and sometimes gets less for his commodities. But, again, just as the industrialist, on the average of good times and bad, gets no more and no less for his commodities than what they cost, similarly on the average the worker gets no more and no less than his minimum.
This economic law of wages operates the more strictly the greater the degree to which big industry has taken possession of all branches of production.

— 6 — What working classes were there before the industrial revolution?
The working classes have always, according to the different stages of development of society, lived in different circumstances and had different relations to the owning and ruling classes.
In antiquity, the workers were the slaves of the owners, just as they still are in many backward countries and even in the southern part of the United States.
In the Middle Ages, they were the serfs of the land-owning nobility, as they still are in Hungary, Poland, and Russia. In the Middle Ages, and indeed right up to the industrial revolution, there were also journeymen in the cities who worked in the service of petty bourgeois masters. Gradually, as manufacture developed, these journeymen became manufacturing workers who were even then employed by larger capitalists.

— 7 — In what way do proletarians differ from slaves?
The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly.
The individual slave, property of one master, is assured an existence, however miserable it may be, because of the master’s interest. The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labor only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence. This existence is assured only to the class as a whole.
The slave is outside competition; the proletarian is in it and experiences all its vagaries.
The slave counts as a thing, not as a member of society. Thus, the slave can have a better existence than the proletarian, while the proletarian belongs to a higher stage of social development and, himself, stands on a higher social level than the slave.
The slave frees himself when, of all the relations of private property, he abolishes only the relation of slavery and thereby becomes a proletarian; the proletarian can free himself only by abolishing private property in general.

— 8 — In what way do proletarians differ from serfs?
The serf possesses and uses an instrument of production, a piece of land, in exchange for which he gives up a part of his product or part of the services of his labor.
The proletarian works with the instruments of production of another, for the account of this other, in exchange for a part of the product.
The serf gives up, the proletarian receives. The serf has an assured existence, the proletarian has not. The serf is outside competition, the proletarian is in it.
The serf liberates himself in one of three ways: either he runs away to the city and there becomes a handicraftsman; or, instead of products and and services, he gives money to his lord and thereby becomes a free tenant; or he overthrows his feudal lord and himself becomes a property owner. In short, by one route or another, he gets into the owning class and enters into competition. The proletarian liberates himself by abolishing competition, private property, and all class differences.

— 9 — In what way do proletarians differ from handicraftsmen?
In contrast to the proletarian, the so-called handicraftsman, as he still existed almost everywhere in the past (eightennth) century and still exists here and there at present, is a proletarian at most temporarily. His goal is to acquire capital himself wherewith to exploit other workers. He can often achieve this goal where guilds still exist or where freedon from guild restrictions has not yet led to the introduction of factory-style methods into the crafts nor yet to fierce competition But as soon as the factory system has been introduced into the crafts and competition flourishes fully, this perspective dwindles away and the handicraftsman becomes more and more a proletarian. The handicraftsman therefore frees himself by becoming either bourgeois or entering the middle class in general, or becoming a proletarian because of competition (as is now more often the case). In which case he can free himself by joining the proletarian movement, i.e., the more or less communist movement. [2]

— 10 — In what way do proletarians differ from manufacturing workers?
The manufacturing worker of the 16th to the 18th centuries still had, with but few exception, an instrument of production in his own possession – his loom, the family spinning wheel, a little plot of land which he cultivated in his spare time. The proletarian has none of these things.
The manufacturing worker almost always lives in the countryside and in a more or less patriarchal relation to his landlord or employer; the proletarian lives, for the most part, in the city and his relation to his employer is purely a cash relation.
The manufacturing worker is torn out of his patriarchal relation by big industry, loses whatever property he still has, and in this way becomes a proletarian.

— 11 — What were the immediate consequences of the industrial revolution and of the division of society into bourgeoisie and proletariat?
First, the lower and lower prices of industrial products brought about by machine labor totally destroyed, in all countries of the world, the old system of manufacture or industry based upon hand labor.
In this way, all semi-barbarian countries, which had hitherto been more or less strangers to historical development, and whose industry had been based on manufacture, were violently forced out of their isolation. They bought the cheaper commodities of the English and allowed their own manufacturing workers to be ruined. Countries which had known no progress for thousands of years – for example, India – were thoroughly revolutionized, and even China is now on the way to a revolution.
We have come to the point where a new machine invented in England deprives millions of Chinese workers of their livelihood within a year’s time.
In this way, big industry has brought all the people of the Earth into contact with each other, has merged all local markets into one world market, has spread civilization and progress everywhere and has thus ensured that whatever happens in civilized countries will have repercussions in all other countries.
It follows that if the workers in England or France now liberate themselves, this must set off revolution in all other countries – revolutions which, sooner or later, must accomplish the liberation of their respective working class.
Second, wherever big industries displaced manufacture, the bourgeoisie developed in wealth and power to the utmost and made itself the first class of the country. The result was that wherever this happened, the bourgeoisie took political power into its own hands and displaced the hitherto ruling classes, the aristocracy, the guildmasters, and their representative, the absolute monarchy.
The bourgeoisie annihilated the power of the aristocracy, the nobility, by abolishing the entailment of estates – in other words, by making landed property subject to purchase and sale, and by doing away with the special privileges of the nobility. It destroyed the power of the guildmasters by abolishing guilds and handicraft privileges. In their place, it put competition – that is, a state of society in which everyone has the right to enter into any branch of industry, the only obstacle being a lack of the necessary capital.
The introduction of free competition is thus public declaration that from now on the members of society are unequal only to the extent that their capitals are unequal, that capital is the decisive power, and that therefore the capitalists, the bourgeoisie, have become the first class in society.
Free competition is necessary for the establishment of big industry, because it is the only condition of society in which big industry can make its way.
Having destroyed the social power of the nobility and the guildmasters, the bourgeois also destroyed their political power. Having raised itself to the actual position of first class in society, it proclaims itself to be also the dominant political class. This it does through the introduction of the representative system which rests on bourgeois equality before the law and the recognition of free competition, and in European countries takes the form of constitutional monarchy. In these constitutional monarchies, only those who possess a certain capital are voters – that is to say, only members of the bourgeoisie. These bourgeois voters choose the deputies, and these bourgeois deputies, by using their right to refuse to vote taxes, choose a bourgeois government.
Third, everywhere the proletariat develops in step with the bourgeoisie. In proportion, as the bourgeoisie grows in wealth, the proletariat grows in numbers. For, since the proletarians can be employed only by capital, and since capital extends only through employing labor, it follows that the growth of the proletariat proceeds at precisely the same pace as the growth of capital.
Simultaneously, this process draws members of the bourgeoisie and proletarians together into the great cities where industry can be carried on most profitably, and by thus throwing great masses in one spot it gives to the proletarians a consciousness of their own strength.
Moreover, the further this process advances, the more new labor-saving machines are invented, the greater is the pressure exercised by big industry on wages, which, as we have seen, sink to their minimum and therewith render the condition of the proletariat increasingly unbearable. The growing dissatisfaction of the proletariat thus joins with its rising power to prepare a proletarian social revolution.

— 12 — What were the further consequences of the industrial revolution?
Big industry created in the steam engine, and other machines, the means of endlessly expanding industrial production, speeding it up, and cutting its costs. With production thus facilitated, the free competition, which is necessarily bound up with big industry, assumed the most extreme forms; a multitude of capitalists invaded industry, and, in a short while, more was produced than was needed.
As a consequence, finished commodities could not be sold, and a so-called commercial crisis broke out. Factories had to be closed, their owners went bankrupt, and the workers were without bread. Deepest misery reigned everywhere.
After a time, the superfluous products were sold, the factories began to operate again, wages rose, and gradually business got better than ever.
But it was not long before too many commodities were again produced and a new crisis broke out, only to follow the same course as its predecessor.
Ever since the beginning of this (19th) century, the condition of industry has constantly fluctuated between periods of prosperity and periods of crisis; nearly every five to seven years, a fresh crisis has intervened, always with the greatest hardship for workers, and always accompanied by general revolutionary stirrings and the direct peril to the whole existing order of things.

— 13 — What follows from these periodic commercial crises?
First:
That, though big industry in its earliest stage created free competition, it has now outgrown free competition;
that, for big industry, competition and generally the individualistic organization of production have become a fetter which it must and will shatter;
that, so long as big industry remains on its present footing, it can be maintained only at the cost of general chaos every seven years, each time threatening the whole of civilization and not only plunging the proletarians into misery but also ruining large sections of the bourgeoisie;
hence, either that big industry must itself be given up, which is an absolute impossibility, or that it makes unavoidably necessary an entirely new organization of society in which production is no longer directed by mutually competing individual industrialists but rather by the whole society operating according to a definite plan and taking account of the needs of all.
Second: That big industry, and the limitless expansion of production which it makes possible, bring within the range of feasibility a social order in which so much is produced that every member of society will be in a position to exercise and develop all his powers and faculties in complete freedom.
It thus appears that the very qualities of big industry which, in our present-day society, produce misery and crises are those which, in a different form of society, will abolish this misery and these catastrophic depressions.
We see with the greatest clarity:

(i) That all these evils are from now on to be ascribed solely to a social order which no longer corresponds to the requirements of the real situation; and

(ii) That it is possible, through a new social order, to do away with these evils altogether.

— 14 — What will this new social order have to be like?
Above all, it will have to take the control of industry and of all branches of production out of the hands of mutually competing individuals, and instead institute a system in which all these branches of production are operated by society as a whole – that is, for the common account, according to a common plan, and with the participation of all members of society.
It will, in other words, abolish competition and replace it with association.
Moreover, since the management of industry by individuals necessarily implies private property, and since competition is in reality merely the manner and form in which the control of industry by private property owners expresses itself, it follows that private property cannot be separated from competition and the individual management of industry. Private property must, therefore, be abolished and in its place must come the common utilization of all instruments of production and the distribution of all products according to common agreement – in a word, what is called the communal ownership of goods.
In fact, the abolition of private property is, doubtless, the shortest and most significant way to characterize the revolution in the whole social order which has been made necessary by the development of industry – and for this reason it is rightly advanced by communists as their main demand.

— 15 — Was not the abolition of private property possible at an earlier time?
No. Every change in the social order, every revolution in property relations, is the necessary consequence of the creation of new forces of production which no longer fit into the old property relations.
Private property has not always existed.
When, towards the end of the Middle Ages, there arose a new mode of production which could not be carried on under the then existing feudal and guild forms of property, this manufacture, which had outgrown the old property relations, created a new property form, private property. And for manufacture and the earliest stage of development of big industry, private property was the only possible property form; the social order based on it was the only possible social order.
So long as it is not possible to produce so much that there is enough for all, with more left over for expanding the social capital and extending the forces of production – so long as this is not possible, there must always be a ruling class directing the use of society’s productive forces, and a poor, oppressed class. How these classes are constituted depends on the stage of development.
The agrarian Middle Ages give us the baron and the serf; the cities of the later Middle Ages show us the guildmaster and the journeyman and the day laborer; the 17th century has its manufacturing workers; the 19th has big factory owners and proletarians.
It is clear that, up to now, the forces of production have never been developed to the point where enough could be developed for all, and that private property has become a fetter and a barrier in relation to the further development of the forces of production.
Now, however, the development of big industry has ushered in a new period. Capital and the forces of production have been expanded to an unprecedented extent, and the means are at hand to multiply them without limit in the near future. Moreover, the forces of production have been concentrated in the hands of a few bourgeois, while the great mass of the people are more and more falling into the proletariat, their situation becoming more wretched and intolerable in proportion to the increase of wealth of the bourgeoisie. And finally, these mighty and easily extended forces of production have so far outgrown private property and the bourgeoisie, that they threaten at any moment to unleash the most violent disturbances of the social order. Now, under these conditions, the abolition of private property has become not only possible but absolutely necessary.

— 16 — Will the peaceful abolition of private property be possible?
It would be desirable if this could happen, and the communists would certainly be the last to oppose it. Communists know only too well that all conspiracies are not only useless, but even harmful. They know all too well that revolutions are not made intentionally and arbitrarily, but that, everywhere and always, they have been the necessary consequence of conditions which were wholly independent of the will and direction of individual parties and entire classes.
But they also see that the development of the proletariat in nearly all civilized countries has been violently suppressed, and that in this way the opponents of communism have been working toward a revolution with all their strength. If the oppressed proletariat is finally driven to revolution, then we communists will defend the interests of the proletarians with deeds as we now defend them with words.

— 17 — Will it be possible for private property to be abolished at one stroke?
No, no more than existing forces of production can at one stroke be multiplied to the extent necessary for the creation of a communal society.
In all probability, the proletarian revolution will transform existing society gradually and will be able to abolish private property only when the means of production are available in sufficient quantity.

— 18 — What will be the course of this revolution?
Above all, it will establish a democratic constitution, and through this, the direct or indirect dominance of the proletariat. Direct in England, where the proletarians are already a majority of the people. Indirect in France and Germany, where the majority of the people consists not only of proletarians, but also of small peasants and petty bourgeois who are in the process of falling into the proletariat, who are more and more dependent in all their political interests on the proletariat, and who must, therefore, soon adapt to the demands of the proletariat. Perhaps this will cost a second struggle, but the outcome can only be the victory of the proletariat.
Democracy would be wholly valueless to the proletariat if it were not immediately used as a means for putting through measures directed against private property and ensuring the livelihood of the proletariat. The main measures, emerging as the necessary result of existing relations, are the following:

(i) Limitation of private property through progressive taxation, heavy inheritance taxes, abolition of inheritance through collateral lines (brothers, nephews, etc.) forced loans, etc.

(ii) Gradual expropriation of landowners, industrialists, railroad magnates and shipowners, partly through competition by state industry, partly directly through compensation in the form of bonds.

(iii) Confiscation of the possessions of all emigrants and rebels against the majority of the people.

(iv) Organization of labor or employment of proletarians on publicly owned land, in factories and workshops, with competition among the workers being abolished and with the factory owners, in so far as they still exist, being obliged to pay the same high wages as those paid by the state.

(v) An equal obligation on all members of society to work until such time as private property has been completely abolished. Formation of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

(vi) Centralization of money and credit in the hands of the state through a national bank with state capital, and the suppression of all private banks and bankers.

(vii) Increase in the number of national factories, workshops, railroads, ships; bringing new lands into cultivation and improvement of land already under cultivation – all in proportion to the growth of the capital and labor force at the disposal of the nation.

(viii) Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mother’s care, in national establishments at national cost. Education and production together.

(ix) Construction, on public lands, of great palaces as communal dwellings for associated groups of citizens engaged in both industry and agriculture and combining in their way of life the advantages of urban and rural conditions while avoiding the one-sidedness and drawbacks of each.

(x) Destruction of all unhealthy and jerry-built dwellings in urban districts.

(xi) Equal inheritance rights for children born in and out of wedlock.

(xii) Concentration of all means of transportation in the hands of the nation.

It is impossible, of course, to carry out all these measures at once. But one will always bring others in its wake. Once the first radical attack on private property has been launched, the proletariat will find itself forced to go ever further, to concentrate increasingly in the hands of the state all capital, all agriculture, all transport, all trade. All the foregoing measures are directed to this end; and they will become practicable and feasible, capable of producing their centralizing effects to precisely the degree that the proletariat, through its labor, multiplies the country’s productive forces.

Finally, when all capital, all production, all exchange have been brought together in the hands of the nation, private property will disappear of its own accord, money will become superfluous, and production will so expand and man so change that society will be able to slough off whatever of its old economic habits may remain.

— 19 — Will it be possible for this revolution to take place in one country alone?
No. By creating the world market, big industry has already brought all the peoples of the Earth, and especially the civilized peoples, into such close relation with one another that none is independent of what happens to the others.
Further, it has co-ordinated the social development of the civilized countries to such an extent that, in all of them, bourgeoisie and proletariat have become the decisive classes, and the struggle between them the great struggle of the day. It follows that the communist revolution will not merely be a national phenomenon but must take place simultaneously in all civilized countries – that is to say, at least in England, America, France, and Germany.
It will develop in each of the these countries more or less rapidly, according as one country or the other has a more developed industry, greater wealth, a more significant mass of productive forces. Hence, it will go slowest and will meet most obstacles in Germany, most rapidly and with the fewest difficulties in England. It will have a powerful impact on the other countries of the world, and will radically alter the course of development which they have followed up to now, while greatly stepping up its pace.
It is a universal revolution and will, accordingly, have a universal range.

— 20 — What will be the consequences of theultimate disappearance of private property?
Society will take all forces of production and means of commerce, as well as the exchange and distribution of products, out of the hands of private capitalists and will manage them in accordance with a plan based on the availability of resources and the needs of the whole society. In this way, most important of all, the evil consequences which are now associated with the conduct of big industry will be abolished.
There will be no more crises; the expanded production, which for the present order of society is overproduction and hence a prevailing cause of misery, will then be insufficient and in need of being expanded much further. Instead of generating misery, overproduction will reach beyond the elementary requirements of society to assure the satisfaction of the needs of all; it will create new needs and, at the same time, the means of satisfying them. It will become the condition of, and the stimulus to, new progress, which will no longer throw the whole social order into confusion, as progress has always done in the past. Big industry, freed from the pressure of private property, will undergo such an expansion that what we now see will seem as petty in comparison as manufacture seems when put beside the big industry of our own day. This development of industry will make available to society a sufficient mass of products to satisfy the needs of everyone.
The same will be true of agriculture, which also suffers from the pressure of private property and is held back by the division of privately owned land into small parcels. Here, existing improvements and scientific procedures will be put into practice, with a resulting leap forward which will assure to society all the products it needs.
In this way, such an abundance of goods will be able to satisfy the needs of all its members.
The division of society into different, mutually hostile classes will then become unnecessary. Indeed, it will be not only unnecessary but intolerable in the new social order. The existence of classes originated in the division of labor, and the division of labor, as it has been known up to the present, will completely disappear. For mechanical and chemical processes are not enough to bring industrial and agricultural production up to the level we have described; the capacities of the men who make use of these processes must undergo a corresponding development.
Just as the peasants and manufacturing workers of the last century changed their whole way of life and became quite different people when they were drawn into big industry, in the same way, communal control over production by society as a whole, and the resulting new development, will both require an entirely different kind of human material.
People will no longer be, as they are today, subordinated to a single branch of production, bound to it, exploited by it; they will no longer develop one of their faculties at the expense of all others; they will no longer know only one branch, or one branch of a single branch, of production as a whole. Even industry as it is today is finding such people less and less useful.
Industry controlled by society as a whole, and operated according to a plan, presupposes well-rounded human beings, their faculties developed in balanced fashion, able to see the system of production in its entirety.
The form of the division of labor which makes one a peasant, another a cobbler, a third a factory worker, a fourth a stock-market operator, has already been underminded by machinery and will completely disappear. Education will enable young people quickly to familiarize themselves with the whole system of production and to pass from one branch of production to another in response to the needs of society or their own inclinations. It will, therefore, free them from the one-sided character which the present-day division of labor impresses upon every individual. Communist society will, in this way, make it possible for its members to put their comprehensively developed faculties to full use. But, when this happens, classes will necessarily disappear. It follows that society organized on a communist basis is incompatible with the existence of classes on the one hand, and that the very building of such a society provides the means of abolishing class differences on the other.
A corollary of this is that the difference between city and country is destined to disappear. The management of agriculture and industry by the same people rather than by two different classes of people is, if only for purely material reasons, a necessary condition of communist association. The dispersal of the agricultural population on the land, alongside the crowding of the industrial population into the great cities, is a condition which corresponds to an undeveloped state of both agriculture and industry and can already be felt as an obstacle to further development.
The general co-operation of all members of society for the purpose of planned exploitation of the forces of production, the expansion of production to the point where it will satisfy the needs of all, the abolition of a situation in which the needs of some are satisfied at the expense of the needs of others, the complete liquidation of classes and their conflicts, the rounded development of the capacities of all members of society through the elimination of the present division of labor, through industrial education, through engaging in varying activities, through the participation by all in the enjoyments produced by all, through the combination of city and country – these are the main consequences of the abolition of private property.

— 21 — What will be the influence of communist society on the family?
It will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage – the dependence rooted in private property, of the women on the man, and of the children on the parents.
And here is the answer to the outcry of the highly moral philistines against the “community of women”. Community of women is a condition which belongs entirely to bourgeois society and which today finds its complete expression in prostitution. But prostitution is based on private property and falls with it. Thus, communist society, instead of introducing community of women, in fact abolishes it.

— 22 — What will be the attitude of communism to existing nationalities?
The nationalities of the peoples associating themselves in accordance with the principle of community will be compelled to mingle with each other as a result of this association and thereby to dissolve themselves, just as the various estate and class distinctions must disappear through the abolition of their basis, private property.[3]

— 23 — What will be its attitude to existing religions?
All religions so far have been the expression of historical stages of development of individual peoples or groups of peoples. But communism is the stage of historical development which makes all existing religions superfluous and brings about their disappearance[4]

— 24 — How do communists differ from socialists?
The so-called socialists are divided into three categories.

[ Reactionary Socialists: ]
The first category consists of adherents of a feudal and patriarchal society which has already been destroyed, and is still daily being destroyed, by big industry and world trade and their creation, bourgeois society. This category concludes, from the evils of existing society, that feudal and patriarchal society must be restored because it was free of such evils. In one way or another, all their proposals are directed to this end.
This category of reactionary socialists, for all their seeming partisanship and their scalding tears for the misery of the proletariat, is nevertheless energetically opposed by the communists for the following reasons:

(i) It strives for something which is entirely impossible.

(ii) It seeks to establish the rule of the aristocracy, the guildmasters, the small producers, and their retinue of absolute or feudal monarchs, officials, soldiers, and priests – a society which was, to be sure, free of the evils of present-day society but which brought it at least as many evils without even offering to the oppressed workers the prospect of liberation through a communist revolution.

(iii) As soon as the proletariat becomes revolutionary and communist, these reactionary socialists show their true colors by immediately making common cause with the bourgeoisie against the proletarians.

[ Bourgeois Socialists: ]
The second category consists of adherents of present-day society who have been frightened for its future by the evils to which it necessarily gives rise. What they want, therefore, is to maintain this society while getting rid of the evils which are an inherent part of it.
To this end, some propose mere welfare measures – while others come forward with grandiose systems of reform which, under the pretense of re-organizing society, are in fact intended to preserve the foundations, and hence the life, of existing society.
Communists must unremittingly struggle against these bourgeois socialists because they work for the enemies of communists and protect the society which communists aim to overthrow.

[ Democractic Socialists: ]
Finally, the third category consists of democratic socialists who favor some of the same measures the communists advocate, as described in Question 18, not as part of the transition to communism, however, but as measures which they believe will be sufficient to abolish the misery and evils of present-day society.
These democratic socialists are either proletarians who are not yet sufficiently clear about the conditions of the liberation of their class, or they are representatives of the petty bourgeoisie, a class which, prior to the achievement of democracy and the socialist measures to which it gives rise, has many interests in common with the proletariat.
It follows that, in moments of action, the communists will have to come to an understanding with these democratic socialists, and in general to follow as far as possible a common policy with them – provided that these socialists do not enter into the service of the ruling bourgeoisie and attack the communists.
It is clear that this form of co-operation in action does not exclude the discussion of differences.

— 25 — What is the attitude of the communists to theother political parties of our time?
This attitude is different in the different countries.
In England, France, and Belgium, where the bourgeoisie rules, the communists still have a common interest with the various democratic parties, an interest which is all the greater the more closely the socialistic measures they champion approach the aims of the communists – that is, the more clearly and definitely they represent the interests of the proletariat and the more they depend on the proletariat for support. In England, for example, the working-class Chartists are infinitely closer to the communists than the democratic petty bourgeoisie or the so-called Radicals.

In America, where a democratic constitution has already been established, the communists must make the common cause with the party which will turn this constitution against the bourgeoisie and use it in the interests of the proletariat – that is, with the agrarian National Reformers.
In Switzerland, the Radicals, though a very mixed party, are the only group with which the communists can co-operate, and, among these Radicals, the Vaudois and Genevese are the most advanced.

In Germany, finally, the decisive struggle now on the order of the day is that between the bourgeoisie and the absolute monarchy. Since the communists cannot enter upon the decisive struggle between themselves and the bourgeoisie until the bourgeoisie is in power, it follows that it is in the interest of the communists to help the bourgeoisie to power as soon as possible in order the sooner to be able to overthrow it. Against the governments, therefore, the communists must continually support the radical liberal party, taking care to avoid the self-deceptions of the bourgeoisie and not fall for the enticing promises of benefits which a victory for the bourgeoisie would allegedly bring to the proletariat. The sole advantages which the proletariat would derive from a bourgeois victory would consist

(i) in various concessions which would facilitate the unification of the proletariat into a closely knit, battle-worthy, and organized class; and

(ii) in the certainly that, on the very day the absolute monarchies fall, the struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat will start. From that day on, the policy of the communists will be the same as it now is in the countries where the bourgeoisie is already in power.


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