Re: An orderly and somewhat progressive humane society

Anton Sherwood (
Tue, 29 Jul 1997 19:47:18 -0700 (PDT)

: Abraham Moses Genen
: [...] I firmly believe that government does a lot of good

(we're still waiting for a specific example)

: and is quite capable of doing a lot more good than it does. It would
: certainly work a lot better if we would all put our egos in our back
: pockets and let those of us who have spent a lifetime studying and working
: at our chosen careers in professional government service trying to do our
: jobs despite the continuous interference of well meaning dilettants and a
: herd of politically and ideologically fixated ignoramusus who know little
: or nothing about governmental operations except how to gum up the works
: with unnecessary regulations and other bothersome clap-trap.

The private sector does a lot of good - some say literally all the good
in the world. It could do a lot more good if it weren't hobbled at
every turn by the (let's charitably assume) well-meaning interference
of the professional busybodies who claim to know our jobs (and our needs)
better than we do, though they never in their lives have to face a paying
customer who can say no.

The people who criticize government are not "interfering", we're the
boss - or so we were taught in public school. We're not "dilettanti",
we're the ones whose livelihoods keep being whittled away by professionals
like you (more deserving of the title "dilettanti", because you'll never
feel the effects of your interference). We're the ones who pay for your
COLA and your pension (before we're allowed to try to provide for
ourselves). We're the ones whose presumed consent gives the whole
house of cards its legitimacy - or so we were taught in public school.
We're the "ignoramus" who get blamed for voting, by an exquisite chain
of indirection, for the policies you enact.

: For those of you who have wonderful theories on how to improve government
: let us see how they can be implimented for the broad common good. ...

"How do you replace cancer?" (Neil Smith)

Perhaps you haven't heard that there used to be a country called
the United States of America, whose Constitution contained a clause
limiting its powers to a short list explicitly delegated to it.
It's said to have worked pretty well overall, so well that it
attracted millions of immigrants from countries whose governments
took a more active interest in all those things you say a government

Or at least that's what I was told in public school.
No doubt you have more advanced information.

Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\*

A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough
to take everything you have. -- Barry Goldwater

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the
support of Paul. -- George Bernard Shaw

A legal order that is subject to the influence of public opinion, and
that evolves according to the application of the liberal principles of
openness to human interaction, can be said to be democratic, no matter
what its form of government. Democracy should not privilege what
people *say* they want in the very imperfect mode of communication we
call voting, over what they indicate they want in other ways, by their
actions and their other communicative efforts. It should not privilege
explicit, conscious action by a single institution that is supposed to
`speak for' the public, over the tacit, distributed wisdom that is
embedded in our evolved legal rules. -- Don Lavoie 1992

A politician normally prospers under democracy in proportion ... as he
excels in the invention of imaginary perils and imaginary defenses
against them. ---H L Mencken 1918

A world which is perfectly safe for the stupidest imaginable wanker is
a damned annoying place in which to live for anyone else. -- Douglas
G. Henke <> in alt.peeves

After every revolution there is an interregnum, in which communities
run themselves and all is well, and then the new regime comes in and
screws things up. ---Desmond Hawkins in _Blue Mars_ (Kim Stanley
Robinson 1995)

Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution
will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious
interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes
which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence
of the offices they hold under the State establishments . . . . --
Publius : Federalist 01

An expert is someone who articulates the needs of those in power. --
Henry Kissinger

Anarchy is bad *because* somebody might die or get hurt. But statism is
good *even though* many, many people die and get hurt. ---Ken Hooper

As a rule, if you want people to love you, you shouldn't lie to them,
steal their property, corrupt their children, and drive their
businesses into the ground. ---Lew Rockwell: "Love the Strangler?",
RRR 95/7

But extremism is such FUN! -- Lizard

Capitalism undoubtedly has certain boils and blotches upon it, but has
it as many as government? Has it as many as marriage? Has it as many as
religion? I doubt it. It is the only basic institution of modern man
that shows any genuine health and vigor .... the only serious criticism
of capitalism comes from ladies and gentlemen who are palpably somewhat
balmy. The trouble with all of them is that they are constructive
critics: not content to tear down, they try to build up. It is a fatal
error ... ---H L Mencken

Common sense is the most evenly distributed quantity in the world.
Everyone thinks he has enough. ---Ren Descartes 1637

Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's
original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been
made, through disobedience and through rebellion. ---Oscar Wilde

Everything government touches turns to crap. ---Ringo Starr

Experience without theory teaches nothing. In fact, experience can not
even be recorded unless there is some theory, however crude, that leads
to an hypothesis and a system by which to catalog observations.
Sometimes only a hunch, right or wrong, is sufficient theory to lead to
useful observation. -- Clarence Irving Lewis & W. Edwards Deming

Extreme law is often extreme injustice. ---Terence, _Heauton

Fear is the foundation of most governments. ---John Adams

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat,
and wrong. ---H. L. Mencken

For the sake of the achievement of a specific political goal, it is
possible to sacrifice half mankind. ---Mao Tse-Tung, November 1957

Freedom means respecting the views of those who may disagree with the
views of their government. ---Hillary Rodham Clinton addressing the
U.N.'s Women's Conference in Beijing, 5 Sept 1995.

Freedom of the human personality cannot be given by society, and by its
source and nature it cannot depend upon society -- it belongs to man
himself, as a spiritual being. And society, unless it makes
totalitarian claims, can on recognize this freedom. This basic truth
about freedom was reflected in the doctrines of natural law, of the
rights of man, independent of the state, of freedom, not only as
freedom within society, but freedom from society with its limitless
claims on man. ---Nicholas Berdyaev

Further, when those of a libertarian bent set out to make socialism
work better, whether by managing the activity or by their endorsement
of legislation which would modify the socialistic details, they tacitly
approve the socialistic premise and thereby abandon their own case for
the free market. They forswear all fundamental argument against the
socialistic premise because by their actions they acknowledge that it
could be improved were they themselves framing or administering it.
"Socialism, were I its manager, wouldn't be so bad." That, I submit,
is an emanation from the mind of a know-it-all, in words loud and clear
. . . .
The student of liberty, if he is not to get off the track, must hope
and work for the restoration of the free market and a government
restored to its principled role of keeping the peace. Then let him
peacefully keep in character by leaving socialistic activities to those
who aren't yet aware of how little they know. Left to their own
resources, the bungling of their schemes may become apparent even to
themselves and, most certainly to libertarians who have not fallen into
this trap. Why should libertarians absolve the socialists by becoming
a party to their unworkable measures? ---Leonard Read, The Free Market
and Its Enemy, 1965 [pp 43-44]

Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own
corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself.
---Vilfredo Pareto

God grant me the company of those who seek the truth, and God deliver
me from those who have found it. -- Isaac Newton

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of
authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was
made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There
are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern.
They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. -- Daniel

Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of
advance auction of the sale of stolen goods. -- H.L. Mencken

Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; IT IS FORCE. Like FIRE,
it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. -- George Washington

Government is the agent of those who are too refined to do their own
mugging. ---Joseph Sobran

Government officials frequently view the taxpayer as a kind of
productive herd to be milked and controlled just as the ancient
slave-master presumed to control the person of his slave. -- LeFevre,

Half the people in America work for a living; the other half vote for
it. ---William E. Simon

He alone is great and happy who requires neither to command nor to obey
in order to secure his being of some importance in the world. ---J.W.
Von Goethe (1749-1832)

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy
from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a
precedent that will reach to himself. -- Thomas Paine

He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself
the accomplice of liars and forgers. ---Charles Peguy

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my
contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him
the spinal cord would fully suffice. ---Albert Einstein

I am interested in politics so that one day I will not have to be
interested in politics. ---Ayn Rand

I am of the opinion that anyone in politics can rise very quickly to
the top if they are not weighed down by talent or integrity . . . -- R

If government is legitimate, why does it need guns? Mathematicians
don't need guns. We think *they're* legitimate. Physicists don't need
guns. Biologists don't need guns. Musicians don't need guns. Tool and
die makers don't need guns. Copy editors don't need guns. ---Ken
Hooper <>

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with
sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use.

I don't practice what I preach, because I'm not the kind of person I'm
preaching to. -- J R "Bob" Dobbs

I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more
efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to
promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass
laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to
cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have
failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted
financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation
is `needed' before I have first determined whether it is
constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for
neglecting my constituents' `interests,' I shall reply that I was
informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am
doing the very best that I can. -- Barry Goldwater : 1960

I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any
party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in
anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an
addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could
not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.
---Thomas Jefferson

I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me and yet
assure others that I am sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all
possible means--except by getting off his back. ---Leo Tolstoy

I want no heaven for which I must give my reason; No happiness in
exchange for my liberty; and no immortality that demands the surrender
of my individuality. ---Ingersoll

I will be as harsh as truth and as uncompromising as justice. On this
subject I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation.
No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm;
tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher;
tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into
which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation. ---William
Lloyd Garrison: The Liberator, 1831

I would rather live in a society which treated children as adults than
one which treated adults as children. ---Lizard

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular
error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

If Big Brother comes to America, he will not be a fearsome, foreboding
figure with a heart-chilling, omnipresent glare as in _1984_. He will
come with a smile on his face, a quip on his lips, a wave to the crowd,
and a press that (a) dutifully reports the suppressive measures he is
taking to save the nation from internal chaos and foreign threat; and
(b) gingerly questions whether he will be able to succeed. ---Michael
Parenti, _Inventing_Reality_ (1986)

If by `anarchy' you mean chaos and disorder, that's the exact opposite
of what I want. I'm for self-government, which means people governing
their own lives and not trying to govern yours, and everyone taking
more responsibility for themselves. It's been shown time and time
again that that's the way to have the maximum of harmony and abundance
in society. Actually, it is those who call for more political
government - with all its violence and coercion - who are leading us in
the direction of chaos and disorder. -- Steve Smith

If everything had gone as planned, everything would have been perfect.
-- BATF spokesperson on CNN 3/2/93, regarding failed raid attempt in

If I am to study Russian Roulette, let me start with blanks. -- Hara Ra

If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the
conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life as from
that dry and parching wind of the African deserts called the simoom,
which fills the mouth and nose and ears and eyes with dust till you are
suffocated, for fear I should get some his good done to me, some of its
virus mingled with my blood. ---Henry Thoreau "Walden" Chapter 1

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as
a nail. -- Abraham Maslow

If we look at the black record of mass murder, exploitation, and
tyranny levied on society by governments over the ages, we need not be
loath to abandon the Leviathan State and . . . try freedom. -- Murray
Rothbard, _For a New Liberty_

If we were directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we
should soon want bread. -- Thomas Jefferson

If, from the more wretched parts of the Old World, we look at those
which are in an advanced stage in improvement, we still find the greedy
hand of government thrusting itself into every corner & crevice of
industry & grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is
continually exercised to furnish new pretenses for revenue & taxation.
It watches prosperity as its prey & permits none to escape without
tribute. -- Thomas Paine : 1792 February

In any free society, the conflict between social conformity and
individual liberty is permanent, unresolvable, and necessary.
---Kathleen Norris

In politics, the middle way is none at all. ---John Adams

It has been experimentally proved, that if a plot of ground be sown
with one species of grass, and a similar plot be sown with several
distinct genera of grasses, a greater number of plants and a greater
weight of dry herbage can be raised in the latter than in the former
case. The same has been found to hold good when one variety and
several mixed varieties of wheat have been grown on equal spaces of
ground. ---Charles Darwin: The Origin of Species, chapter IV

It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be
oppressed by a majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the
masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom
resist. But from the absolute will of an entire people there is no
appeal, no redemption, no refuge . . . -- Lord Acton

It is error alone that needs government support, truth can stand by
itself. ---Thomas Jefferson, "Notes on Virginia" 1785

It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone
collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there is service, there is
someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice speaks of
slaves and masters. And intends to be master. ---Ayn Rand

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men
of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be
read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be
repealed or revised before they are promulged, or undergo such
incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is to-day can
guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action;
but how can that be a rule, which is little known and less fixed?
---James Madison, Federalist #62 (27-Feb-1788)

Laws do not persuade just because they threaten. ---Seneca: Epistulae
morales ad Lucilum

Let your voice be heard, whether or not it is to the taste of every
jack-in-office who may be obstructing the traffic. By all means, render
unto Caesar that which is Caesar's-- but this does not necessarily
include everything that he says is his. ---Denis Johnston: The Brazen

Liberty means responsibility; that is why most men dread it. ---George
Bernard Shaw

Life is always hopelessly complex to those who have no priniciples.
---Joseph Sobran

Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they
please. ---Karl Marx: The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

MTV may talk about lighting fires and killing children, but Janet Reno
actually does something about it. ---Spy Magazine

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in
session. -- Judge Gideon J. Tucker: 1866

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when you only have one idea.
---Emile-Auguste Chartier

Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits. -- Mark Twain

Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be
the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than
under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may
sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those
who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do
so with the approval of their own conscience. . . . To be `cured'
against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as
disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the
age of reason . . . You start being `kind' to people before you have
considered their rights, and then force upon them supposed kindnesses
which they in fact had a right to refuse, and finally kindnesses which
no one but you will recognize as kindnesses and which the recipient
will feel as abominable cruelties. ---C S Lewis (1898-1963)

Of course they beat up people. The whole point of government is that
it does things that you're not allowed to do, like beat people, kill
people, steal their property, kidnap and imprison them, etc. If they
couldn't do things you couldn't do, why would you need them? ---Phil

Omnipotent psychotic businessmen are the downfall of every Libertarian
scheme, as well as every other scheme. Real psychotics are poor and
therefore not omnipotent. Scenarios with omnipotent psychotic
businessmen are therefore uninteresting. ---Tim Freeman

Our gods are dead. Klingon warriors slew them, millennia ago. They
were more trouble than they were worth. ---Worf

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that
matter. ---Martin Luther King Jr.

politicians and their bureaucratic appointees are much like bomber
crews: They wreak much havoc, but seldom experience first hand the
consequences of their actions .... [I]f politicians witnessed all the
suffering unleashed by government taxation and regulation -- [they]
would surely be less enthusiastic about their schemes. ---Donald

Real systems have no top level -- Robert Mykland <>

Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want
is also big enough to take away everything you have. -- Col. Davy

See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives
it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law
benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the
citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. -- Frederic

See, when the GOVERNMENT spends money, it creates jobs; whereas when
the money is left in the hands of TAXPAYERS, God only knows what they
do with it. Bake it into pies, probably. Anything to avoid creating
jobs. ---Dave Barry

Seek simplicity, and distrust it. -- Alfred North Whitehead

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to
live as one wishes to live. ---Ruth Rendell

Sharing is to taxation as sex is to rape. -- Jan Wasilewski

Social justice should not contradict individual justice, either in
theory or in practice .... It's pretty callous to forcibly deprive me
of the fruit of my labour for the benefit of some other individual who
didn't sweat my sweat. I don't consider that social justice. --
Walter Williams: 1982

Socialism will never succeed: it takes up too many evenings. ---Oscar

Some of the worst tyrannies of our day are pledged to the service of
mankind, and function by pitting neighbor against neighbor. ---William
L. Edelen

Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave
little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only
different, but have different origins . . .Society is in every state a
blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary
evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. ---Thomas Paine: Common
Sense (1776)

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of
himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or
have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history
answer this question. -- Thomas Jefferson : First Inaugural Address

The briefest glance at history reveals that witch-hunters always manage
to find the witch. ---Lizard

The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every
time Congress meets. -- Will Rogers

The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching
consequence of submission to authority. -- Stanley Milgram

The existential root of libertarianism is the experience of being very
bad at taking orders from morons. ---Leopold Leider

The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men
of zeal, well meaning but without understanding. -- Justice Louis

The legacy of Democrats and Republicans approaches: Libertarianism by
bankruptcy. ---Nick Nuessle

The national debt is the ghost of Christmas Past. ---Dr. Thomas Sowell

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look
respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but
have only one course of action. ---Frank Herbert

The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.
-- Mark Twain

The reasonable man adapts himself to the World, the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the World to himself. Therefore all
progress depends on unreasonable men. -- George Bernard Shaw

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And the road to
misinformation is paved with selective statistics. -- Richard Foy on
alt.rush-limbaugh (95/6/14)

The search for the one best system has ill-served the pluralistic
character of American society ... [bureaucratization] has often
perpetuated positions and outworn practices rather than serving the
clients .... ---David Tyack 1974

The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests
and his own are the same. -- Stendhal

The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to
live at the expense of everyone else. -- Frederic Bastiat (1848)

The statesman who should attempt to direct people in what manner they
ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most
unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be
trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate
whatever, and which nowhere would be so dangerous as in the hands of a
man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to
exercise it. -- Adam Smith

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the
intelligent are full of doubt. -- Bertrand Russell

The truth which makes men free is for the most part the truth which men
prefer not to hear. ---Herbert Agar

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
(and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an
endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. -- H. L. Mencken

There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to
make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies. And the
other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious
deficiencies. -- C A R Hoare

To call something public is to define it as dirty, insufficient and
hazardous. The ultimate paradigm of social spending is the public
restroom. ---P.J. O'Rourke

Virtually all reasonable laws are obeyed, not because they are the law,
but because reasonable people would do that anyway. If you obey a law
simply because it is the law, that's a pretty likely sign that it
shouldn't be a law. ---Unknown

We know better the needs of ourselves than of others. To serve oneself
is economy of administration. -- Dr Jamrach Holobum

We know that where poverty, disease, injustice, and misery abound, they
exist solely because some people manage to regulate the personal and
commercial lives of other people. ---Fred Stitt, 1982

We may not imagine how our lives could be more frustrating and complex
- but Congress can. -- Cullen Hightower (quoted by Michael Kielsky)

What these politicians don't understand is that we're gonna vote for
the guy who we think will screw us less. ---Dennis Miller

Whatever it is that the government does, sensible Americans would
prefer that the government do it to somebody else. -- P J O'Rourke

When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things
to be bought and sold are legislators. -- P J O'Rourke

When people tell you we couldn't support the government on a voluntary
basis, we could support _a_ government, but sure as hell not this one.
-- Rob Thorn

You can defy God, and you can defy Bill Clinton, but you cannot defy
Adam Smith. ---Michael Lorton <>

You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs . . .but it is amazing
how many eggs you can break without making a decent omelette. ---C P

You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will
convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it
would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered
---Lyndon Johnson(!)