RE: capitalist religion (was: NANO: _Forbes_ cover story)

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Sun Jul 22 2001 - 02:09:12 MDT

On Friday at 4:14 I had written

>> I would approve of people seeking a middle-ground: we have to
>> publicly retain the traditions that created success and wealth
>> in the first place, but also exercise charity in those local
>> situations about which we are very knowledgable, and judge
>> that it can do some good.

and Jerry Mitchell retorted

> So once you are in this glorious middle ground, what principle do you use to
> guide your decisions? If someone breaks in my house, do I ask their demands
> and only give them half of that? Principles are there to guide you and yes,
> they must be taken to logical extremes.

The there are two non-conflicting principles at work here that
I uphold: (1) government money should not be used at the present
time to support charity (2) each person is free to be charitable
to whomever he pleases, and probably knows of private situations---
or even situations encountered on the street---which according to
his own judgment, his private charity would achieve good.

> So here we are having given up the principle that property cannot be taken
> and now we sit back and argue what is the proper amount to take, with no way
> to answer that question... With the result being a slide into socialism,
> then communism, then dictatorship and death (unless the singularity saves
> us!).

I think that taking someone's property is sometimes a necessary
evil. I do not think that it should be undertaken lightly, but
I have seen many cases in history where the only way that the
(relatively) good guys were going to win was to compromise their
principles. These situations are outrageous, and no amount of
public apology (once the emergency is over) is sufficient.

If your little tribe was under attack by cannibals, and you were
out of powder, and some rich old coot was discovered to have to
have a stash of it, which is better: stealing his powder, at
gunpoint if need be, or being eaten by the cannibals?

But you *may* be right. Maybe the very first time, to
take the U.S. as an example, free men were drafted into armies,
the eventual slide into communism centuries later was inevitable.
Sometimes it seems that way. But it remains to be seen. Don't
give up yet! We can still support the principle that "that
government governs best which governs least".


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